Mindful Decision Making

This talk expands a review of the Four Clear Comprehensions, an important Buddhist concept, that was mentioned during the talk entitled “Mindful Consumerism” on December 7, 2022 and found in this site’s archives.  The Four Clear Comprehensions provides a formula for decision making that originated as a spiritual pathway towards Awakening; this is still valid and important, but the emphasis during this talk is focused on using the formula for decision making regarding mundane lifestyle issues related to personal, social, environmental as well as spiritual issues.  During the talk, participants are invited to write down the four aspects and then apply them–some participants shared their efforts.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Mindful Decision Making

The topic for next week’s talk will be on how Buddhist practice can be associated with the Winter Solstice, as the meeting will occur that day.


Mindful Consumerism

Contemporary life is inescapably affected by sophisticated indoctrination to create a reliable population of consumers, and the Christmas season is the strongest manifestation of this conditioning.  While we can’t avoid the presence of advertising, product placement and social media conditioning, the application of the Four Noble Truths can be effectively applied to foster Awakening from compulsive consumption.  This talk reviews the varieties of dukkha we and the world at large experience as the First Noble Truth, not only as distress and confusion in terms of material goods and services, but also through social media, such as Q anon.  Dukkha also manifests in terms of global warming and environmental degradation.  The nature of craving and clinging, the Second Noble Truth, is described as lifelong exposure to unquestioned propaganda in our lifestyles through commercial marketing as well as the misinformation and propaganda embedded in entertainment and social media.  The Third Noble Truth can be realized as effective adaptation to changing world circumstances–a diminished “carbon footprint” and wiser choices regarding sociocultural issues.  The Fourth Noble Truth, the Noble Eightfold Path, is reviewed as a way to effectively adapt through the cultivation of Wisdom, Virtue and Training.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Mindful Consumerism

The topic for next week’s talk is how atapi sati sampajanna, diligent mindful clear comprehension, can be effectively and beneficially applied to the issues of consumerism described during this talk.


Mindfulness And Gratitude

This talk was recorded on Thanksgiving Eve, as it is customary for our group to have the opportunity to reflect on gratitude regarding the benefits of studying Buddhist concepts and cultivating mindfulness of breathing meditation.  Various excerpts were quoted that validate the health and mental well-being that is developed through daily gratitude reflections and how important cultivating these states of mind are for effectively maintaining a positive sense of life in these stressful times.  The quotes and supportive comments are followed by comments by some of those present in person or via Zoom that reflect gratitude for how his or her life has benefited from regular meditation practice.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Mindfulness and Gratitude

This talk was preceded by a “Guided Gratitude Contemplation”, which was recorded and posted in the Guided Meditation page of this website.



Contemplating the Five Aggregates of Clinging

This talk continues an extensive review of the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, focusing on a Buddhist theory of personality, the Five Aggregates of Clinging.  This concept provides a way to investigate the impersonal nature of one’s subjective experience, leading to insight regarding anatta, the absence of an enduring and autonomous self.  The concept does not suggest that one’s personality is blank, rather that the self-experience is a process that coordinates the interactions between external stimuli and internal interpretive processes.  This psychological discipline provides opportunities to investigate how the sense of self forms and can therefore be modified to provide a “better fit” for changing environmental circumstances, a useful skill in these trying times.

The complementary “Guided Five Aggregates Contemplation”, recorded the same night as this talk, is found in the Audio Archive of this site.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Five Aggregates of Clinging Review

The topic for next week’s review is the core Buddhist concept “Dependent Origination”.  During the talk, a more contemporary rendering of the concept will be provided, “Contingent Provisional Emergence”.


Reviewing Mindfulness of Feelings

Mindfulness of Feelings is the second area of focus within the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse.  During this review, the importance of understanding the way pleasant or unpleasant feelings drive thoughts and behaviors through direct observation is emphasized.  Contemporary psychological research uses the terms affect approach to describe pleasant feeling and affect avoidance in describing unpleasant feeling.  Being able to mindfully investigate the experiential urgency of affect with detachment and a wholesome non-reactive response is essential for cultivating the skills required in the process of Awakening.  The neurological processes involved in the experience of affects and the effective regulation of them are also reviewed.  Peter describes how he practiced mindfulness of feelings regarding his current experience of Covid-19 and the process of recovery.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  MINDFULNESS OF FEELINGS

The topic for the next talk will be the Third Foundation of Mindfulness, Mindfulness of the Mind.


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.