Reviewing the Cultivation of Wisdom

This talk continues a series of reviews of the Four Noble Truths and specifically addresses the first two elements of the Fourth Noble Truth, known as the Noble Eightfold Path–Right Understanding and Right Intention.  Each of these elements are reviewed, emphasizing how they are coordinated as “two sides of the same coin”.  In their functioning, they reveal the transitory and impersonal nature of experience, and how dukkha (distress and confusion) arise when craving and clinging dominates one’s immediate experience.  Right Understanding reduces the potency of clinging, and Right Intention diminishes the potency of craving, the two conditions in the mind that produce dukkha.  Suggestions are provided to foster the contemplative skills that will lead to Wisdom and Awakening, first on a mundane level and ultimately, the realization of Nirvana.  Future talks will review the remaining elements of the Noble Eightfold Path, found in the Virtue and Mental Discipline aggregates.

There is a guided contemplation found in this site’s Audio archive entitled “Guided Cultivating Wisdom Contemplation”, recorded prior to this talk, which is intended to complement the topics discussed during the talk.

Here are the notes prepared for the talk:  Reviewing Wisdom on the Noble Eightfold Path

The next talk will focus on the first element of the Virtue Aggregate, Right Speech.


Reviewing the Third Noble Truth

This talk continues a review of the Four Noble Truths, with a focus on how the mind is liberated from dukkha through dissolving the potency of craving and clinging, the topic of the Second Noble Truth.  Various views relevant to the Third Noble Truth are described, such as sunnata, translated as emptiness, and anatta, the absence of an enduring/autonomous self, which is another way to understand sunnata.  Different approaches to the experience of Nibbana, the Unconditioned, are reviewed, either through cultivating highly developed levels of concentration called jhanas, or through what is called “dry vipassana”, insight into the nature of craving and clinging and either liberating the mind momentarily, through letting go, or ultimately, through realizing Nibbana.  The traditional Theravada understanding that four levels of experiencing Nibbana are required for total liberation is also reviewed.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Reviewing the Third Noble Truth

Next week’s talk will begin a step-by-step review of the Fourth Noble Truth, the Noble Eightfold Path.


Reviewing the Second Noble Truth

This talk continues a review of the Four Noble Truths, perhaps the most fundamental and universally accepted Buddhist teaching.  The characteristics of the Second Noble Truth, craving (tanha) and clinging (upadana) are reviewed regarding traditional understandings as well as more contemporary Buddhist scholarship and neuropsychological research which supports the traditional teaching.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Reviewing the Second Noble Truth

This talk is complemented with an .mp3 recording titled “Guided Second Noble Truth Contemplation”, that preceded this talk and is posted in the Guided Meditation page of this website’s archives.

The focus for the next talk will continue the review of the Four Noble Truths, addressing the Third Noble Truth, liberation from dukkha.


Guided Second Noble Truth Contemplation

This guided meditation brings mindful investigation to the experience of craving and clinging.  During the meditation you are invited to also mindfully investigate the absence of craving and clinging, as well as the transitory nature of all subjective experience.  This contemplation is intended to complement the Dharma talk entitled “Reviewing the Second Noble Truth”, which was recorded the same evening, May 4, 2022 and is archived on this website.