This is the second in a series of reviews of the history of the Buddhist religion. The focus of this talk is on the development of the various schools of Buddhism–Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Chan, and Zen–over the centuries after the time of the Buddha and before the intrusion of Western culture and commerce. It is not a deeply scholarly review; the intention is to foster an awareness of the course of this history freed from the mythological additions over the centuries and and as they were affected by different societal norms. Perhaps this can have some relevance to the societal issues we confront currently.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: Buddhist Institutional History
Next week’s talk will focus on the impact of Western Culture on the development of various Buddhist schools up to the 20th century.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:03:37 — 116.5MB)
This guided meditation offers training to use mindfulness of breathing as a stabilizing point of reference, comparable to how an anchor attached to the bow of a boat anchors the hull in the current of a river in a streamlined way. Attention is then directed to noticing the turbulence and drag that occurs when the mind becomes attached to a thought or mood that, like an object in the stream, bumps into consciousness. meditators are encouraged to simple let go of attachment to the turbulence, focusing persistently on investigating the subtleties of breath awareness, which becomes very quiet and subtle, with barely any in- or out-breath. Attention is finally directed to the subtle and ever-present expanse of consciousness unaffected by the turbulence of craving and clinging. This is a very subtle phenomenon because it is so quiet and peaceful, but can be realized with enough practice. The experience is expansive, seeming to be limitless in awareness.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 44:56 — 82.3MB)
Most current non-scholarly reviews of the life of the Buddha repeat the mythological attributions that are contained in the Suttas and Commentaries, which has some value. This review is an attempt to describe the life of this remarkable person in a way that is de-mythologized, attempting to provide a cultural context for his life and the revolutionary concepts that were developed to create what we call Buddhism. The Intention is to make his life and teachings more understandable and applicable to current life circumstances, with the hope that this will inspire more commitment to train the mind to deal more effectively with the stresses of contemporary life. Future talks will review the development of the various schools of Buddhism over the centuries following his death, the discovery of Buddhism by Westerners and its introduction into 20th century cultures, and finally the more recent neuropsychological and sociological research of the last 25 years regarding the beneficial effects of mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation, with the implications for our lives going forward.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: Early Buddhist Life
As mentioned above, next week’s talk will focus on the development of the various Buddhist schools over several centuries and on several continents.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:12:15 — 132.3MB)
This guided meditation provides training in noticing three essential qualities of attention described in the Satipatthana Sutta and the Anapanasati Suttta: Diligence (Persistent, dedicated application of attention), Clear Comprehension (Attention to the details of sensations while breathing along with attention to the emergence of mental phenomena), monitored by Mindfulness (Undistracted, alert awareness). During the meditation there are occasional reminders provided of those characteristics and ways to recognize and make best use of their functions, as they are key for developing insight in an ongoing way.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 44:59 — 82.4MB)
This talk follows a long-standing tradition of the Orlando Insight Meditation Group to provide an opportunity for those members who have completed a retreat of at least one week to be able to describe their experience in ways that might help them clarify their experience as well as inform and inspire others regarding the insights gained and other benefits derived from retreat practices. Peter reports on his 18-day self-retreat which ended December 28, 2020. He describes the structure of the retreat, the resources that he used and the insights gained from the experience. His description is followed by questions from those attending seeking clarification or reporting on similar insights from their own retreat experiences.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:09:59 — 128.1MB)