The core mental conditions to foster liberation through the practice of vipassana are called the “Seven Factors For Awakening”: mindfulness, investigation of mental phenomena, energy/effort, joy/enthusiastic interest, tranquility, concentration and equanimity. This talk describes their functions in the process of awakening and how to cultivate them.
During this talk, Peter described overcoming the five hindrances as “warding off the demons”; cultivating the Seven Factors For Awakening represents “feeding the angels” of liberating awareness. Each of the seven was described and explained as to their function in the process of awakening, related to the recently discussed Wholesome Cetasikas. This was a very difficult topic to discuss with the thoroughness warranted to understand and apply these factors; these accompanying notes provide a more thorough exploration of their function and the ways and means to cultivate them: bojjhanga-7-awakening-factors
Next week’s meeting will provide opportunities to reflect on how Buddhist practice fosters gratitude on the eve of Thanksgiving.
It is customary for the meeting after a major retreat experience to be dedicated to reviewing the retreat. The annual one week retreat at Deerhaven was reviewed, with Peter providing an outline of the retreat schedule and daily dhamma talk topics. This description was followed by lively accounts from 3 of the 14 participants about the insightful experiences they had during and after the retreat.
During this talk, Peter reviewed his self-retreat from May 9-22. The experience was related to the previous discussions about the Anapanasati Sutta (the discourse on mindfulness of breathing), and to the sorts of experiences that might arise during an intensive retreat. He specifically associated the cultivation of the the seven awakening factors–mindfulness, investigation of mental phenomena, energy/effort, joy/interest, tranquility, concentration and equanimity–to the experiences during the retreat. This was followed by discussion among those present to clarify some of what was described.
Next week, the topical theme will change significantly. Since Peter has been a psychotherapist nearly as long as he’s practiced and taught mindfulness, there will be discussions about stress in this culture, producing anxiety, depression, addictive behaviors, relationship discord from a Buddhist perspective, with suggestions about how Buddhism may be useful in providing relief from the stress.
During this talk, Peter explains the “fulfilling of the seven factors of awakening”, as described by the Anapanasati Sutta, quoting the translation by Gil Fronsdal. During the explanations, Peter used a graphic illustration of what are called the “panca bala”, the five powers, to describe the dynamic balancing of energy-tranquility, combined with the balancing of concentration-investigation. This process is ongoing due to the reality of impermanence, and the resulting dynamic equilibrium is equanimity.
This recording followed a guided body sweep meditation and provided an opportunity for the participants to discuss the experience and receive suggestions about their practice. Peter emphasized that the goal of this practice is to foster the maturing of vitakka and vicara (aiming and sustaining attention) into the awakening factor of investigation of mental phenomena. […]
This week’s discussion focused on the stanzas in the Anapanasati Sutta related to the cultivation of piti and sukha, Pali words often translated as rapture and pleasure. During the talk, Peter related the commentaries that describe piti dramatically, associated with so-called “Visuddhimagga jhanas”, then suggesting an alternative view regarding “sutta jhanas”, which are more accessible […]