Piti (pee-tee) is the fourth of the seven Awakening Factors, and is typically translated as joy or rapture; another rendering is engaged enthusiastic interest regarding whatever is emerging into conscious awareness.  This characteristic of human experience is a normal part of human subjective experience but clear, vivid awareness of piti is obstructed and distorted by the five hindrances, particularly evident with sloth/torpor and skeptical doubt, but also adversely affected by the other hindrances, sense desire, aversion/ill-will and restlessness/worry.  Peter talks about how classical Buddhism describes piti as an ecstatic state only fully realized when experiencing jhana, states of the mind accomplished through extensive training of attention on an exclusive object like breath sensations.  This sort of awareness is not easily accessed and contemporary commentaries suggest that piti can be understood and brought to the practice of vipassana (vee-pah-suh-nah), insight into the basic characteristics of experience, anicca (ah-nee-chah), impermanence, dukkha (do-kah), basic unsatisfactoriness and anatta (ah-nah-tah), the absence of and enduring/autonomous self.  Clear awareness of these three characteristics liberates the mind from dukkha, the primary goal of Buddhist training.  As applied in the practice of vipassana piti is an engaged interest in how the mind is forming meaning and creating a self; this interest is crucial for maintaining the persistence of investigation and mental discipline required for the liberation process.  This explanation is followed by brief discussion for clarification among the participants.

Here are the notes prepared for the is talk: The-Joy-Of-Awakening

Next week’s topic will be the Tranquility Awakening Factor