From the 8-Fold Path to the 10-Fold Path Review

This talk reviews the final stanzas of the Satipatthana Sutta, which focuses on how the development of the four foundations of mindfulness fulfills the potential of the Four Noble Truths for total liberation from distress and confusion.  The commentaries describe how the Noble Eightfold Path, when fully realized, becomes the Noble Tenfold Path, as the Wisdom aggregate is directly known–Right Understanding becomes Right Knowledge and Right Intention becomes Right Release.  This transforms the other elements of the Eightfold Path radically.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Fulfilling the Satipatthana Path

The focus of the next talk will be the Progressions of Insight, a Theravaden commentarial description of discernible stages of insight that are noted as one gets closer to the experience of Nirvana.

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Mindfulness of the Mind Review

The topic for this Dharma talk is the Third Foundation of Mindfulness, Cittanupassana.  During this review, the appropriate section of the discourse is described in more detail regarding various states of mind that can be known through well-developed mindful investigation with the understanding that what is observed is a phenomenon of nature, not an enduring/autonomous self.  Contemporary neuropsychological insights are also reviewed, such as complexity theory, chaos theory and the strange attractor concept, which, although derived from mathematics and physics, are also applicable to how consciousness operates.  There is a “Guided Mindfulness of Mind Contemplation” recording posted and archived that is intended to accompany this talk.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Mindfulness Of The Mind Review

The next talk will provide a review of the first element of the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, a contemplation of the Five Hindrances.

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The Joy Awakening Factor July 1, 2020

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

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Coping With Fear Of Death April 8 2020

This talk is accompanied by the preceding Lovingkindness meditation training that focuses on the fear and uncertainty which affects the world as a result of the pandemic. Peter reviewed how craving and clinging can be investigated and released through the training provided by regular meditation practice. He emphasized how we can become preoccupied with the long-term impact of the pandemic, which interferes with the ability to effectively cope with the uncertainty of our mortality. He reviewed Atisha’s Nine Contemplations on Mortality, a regular part of Tibetan Buddhist life.  He also mentioned that many of the lifestyle choices we are conditioned into by consumerism will “die” as a result of the disruption of commercial and social norms.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Mindfully Coping with the Fear of Dying

Due to continuing unfamiliarity with the auditory recording process, the questions and comments of those participating were not recorded, and Peter apologizes for this mistake and this will be corrected for the next meeting, which will focus on what contemporary psychology calls resilience, the ability to effectively cope with conflict.  This research also explores how individuals emerge from traumatic events with a heightened appreciation for life and an enhanced ability to find meaning through adversity; this view is very compatible with the goals of regular mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation practice.  That meeting will also include a training meditation focused on Mindfulness of Feelings, the Second Foundation of Mindfulness.

 

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Mindfulness of the Breath/Body

This is the first attempt by Peter to facilitate a talk and discussion via Zoom and unfortunately he neglected to turn on either recording program so there is no recording of this talk; however, the training meditation was successfully recorded and is posted, even though there are intrusive sounds during the recording.  This is a good example of how dukkha manifests as distress and confusion, as managing the Zoom program and both the recording devices represents confusion regarding the procedures; fortunately with minimal distress, as Peter practices turning humiliation into humility on a regular basis.  Hopefully the next recorded meeting on April 1 will be successfully  accomplished.

The talk was focused on how combining specific attention to the breath sensations can be integrated with peripheral awareness of other body sensations to provide a stabilizing platform from which to notice and let go of intrusive and disruptive internal narratives.  This ability was related to the benefits of adapting to the increasingly stressful circumstances of the pandemic through the development of the Four Noble Truths.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Cultivating Breath Body Tranquility

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Wednesday Night Meetings

WE HAVE RESUMED MEETING IN OUR MEDITATION HALL AT 1818 CARRIGAN AVENUE, IN WINTER PARK!!  PLEASE WEAR A MASK WHILE IN THE BUILDING, WHICH WILL HAVE OPEN WINDOWS AND ADEQUATE AIR CIRCULATION

For those who haven’t been to the site, the house is the only one on the block with a sheet metal roof.  Park on the street or in the driveway—please be considerate of the neighbor’s property.  Prior to the pandemic, we have met there without complaint from the neighbors.  Walk to the left of the garage and through the gate in the chain link fence; the cottage in the back yard is where we meet.

We will meditate in silence from 7 to 7:45, then, after a break, the Dharma talk will begin.  I will make every effort to Zoom the meeting, but there may be some technical glitches during the process, and the meeting will be recorded and posted on the website as usual.

There will be a small box near the front door for dana, the practice of donating to the teacher out of gratitude for the teaching.  The contribution is not required, and the money will be used to maintain the building and pay for the Zoom subscription.  There is a lending library of Dharma related books in the cottage that operates on a trust basis.

To attend meetings via zoom, you must do a one-time Zoom Pre-Registration using the password 620329 in order to participate in the events. The meetings will be audio only and can be accessed by smartphone as well as any internet-connected computer system, following the instructions at the Zoom website.