The Benefits Of Perfecting Wisdom

This discussion continues to explore the qualities of mental functioning called Paramis (or Paramitas in Sanskrit), and the focus is on Wisdom (Panna, pronounced pahn-yah).  This quality represents the product of the application of the Noble Eightfold Path, that is, the realization of anicca (impermanence), anatta (nonself), and dukkha (the distress and confusion that is the result of craving and clinging).  Peter suggests a different rendering of Wisdom in practice: substituting Clear Awareness for Right Understanding, and Benevolent Intention rather than Right Intention.  Clear Awareness is the flow of experience free from the five hindrances, and Benevolent Intention is the orientation towards kindness, compassion, generosity and patient tolerance in one’s thoughts and actions.  This explanation was followed by discussion of how Wisdom is cultivated.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  The Wisdom Parami

Next week, the focus will be on another Parami, Energy/Persistence.


The Value Of Virtue

This continues a series of discussions regarding the Paramis, the qualities of the mind to be perfected in support of the awakening process.  Tonight’s topic is Sila (pronounced shelah), virtue.  During the talk, Peter read excerpts from the Sigalavada Sutta, within which the Buddha describes mental characteristics operating when virtue is absent and when it is functioning well.  This sutta also describes the different virtuous actions taken relative to different relationship circumstances.  He also quoted from Ajahn Buddhadassa’s book “Heartwood Of The Bodhi Tree-The Buddha’s Teaching On Voidness”, regarding the correlation between the absence of a separate self (voidness) and the expression of virtue.    Peter then considered how the cultivation of virtue may have evolutionary value, in the same way that the historical emergence of language enabled the development of civilization.  This was followed by engaged discussion among the people present during the meeting.

Here are the  notes prepared for this discussion:  The Benefits Of Virtue

Next week’s topic will be the Parami of renunciation.