During this second evening of the weekend retreat at the Franciscan Center, Peter summarized the previous talks and instructions during the retreat, fostering increasing skill in the practice of anapanasati, mindfulness of breathing. He read an excerpt from the Anapanasati Sutta, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, downloaded from the site “Access To Insight”, that illustrated what he had described previously. A progressive degree of the more subtle details of the sensation of breathing was used to explain how the process of awakening develops: first, complete identification with internal narrative as definitive of lived experience (that is, ignorance, from the Buddhist perspective), through a “half-and-half” awareness of narrative and breath awareness, to full breath awareness with no intrusive narrative. This is the cultivation of Samadhi, concentration. The practice of vipassana was described as a revisiting of the narratives, with enough “dispassion” (viraga in Pali) to see the narratives as mental fabrications, impermanent and non-self. These insights constitute the process of awakening.
This practice was related to the cultivation of the Seven Awakening Factors: Mindfulness, Investigation of Mental Phenomena, Energy/Right Effort, Joy, Tranquility, Concentration and Equanimity.
Hopefully, the next posting will include the recording of the Wednesday night dhamma dialogue, a review of the retreat experience by those present who participated in the weekend retreat.