Breath Awareness For Quieting The Mind

This talk continues an extensive review of the Satipatthana Sutta, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse.  The focus for this review is on how anapanasati, mindfulness of breathing meditation, can be developed in two ways to foster insight into the conditioned nature of the mind: Through exclusive focus on breath sensations leading to jhana (a highly developed state of awareness that is hard to achieve) followed by insight practices, and through what is called “dry vipassana”, which uses mindfulness of breathing for concentrating the mind for a more inclusive cultivation of insight.  There is an accompanying guided meditation, “Guided Anapanasati Meditation” which was recorded the same evening, June 2, 2021, and which can be found in the Archives.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Breath Awareness for Quieting the Mind

Next week’s topic will focus on Mindfulness in the Four Postures and Clear Knowledge In Regards To Activities, sections of the First Foundation of Mindfulness.



Guided Just Sitting Meditation

This guided meditation does not represent Zen shikantaza, translated as “just sitting”; instead using persistent mindfulness of breathing practice to stabilize focused attention on the cycle of inhalation/exhalation, with emphasis on exhalation, to facilitate expanding awareness gradually and systematically to areas of the body.  Beginning with the head, you carefully investigate whatever sensation might be discovered, then moving attention to the shoulders, etc., down to the feet, with the goal of integrating the concentration developed through mindfulness of breathing to eventually include the entire body.


2020 Deerhaven Retreat Review

It is customary for those who have been on a significant retreat to have the opportunity to “think out loud” about what they gained from the experience.  Much of the learning and training is stored in the subconscious mind and having the opportunity to talk about it with people who understand the concepts and practices can help consolidate and integrate the insights and skills acquired.  Additionally, this can be informative for those listening and perhaps inspire them to attend a retreat sometime themselves.  The talks referred to by Peter are in the process of being uploaded to the site and will be found on the Audio Page in the 2020 folder.

Next week’s talk will continue to focus on the Satipatthana Sutta, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse, perhaps the most informative and transformative teaching in the Buddhist traditions.  The focus will be on integrating persistent breath awareness with whole body awareness, which  can provide a useful reference point from which to investigate the transient and insubstantial nature of thoughts and moods.


Anapanasati Review July 10 2019

This talk is a final review of the series of discussions begun on January 10 of this year that focuses on the Anapanasati Sutta, the Mindfulness of Breathing Discourse.  The discussion used quotes from the Sutta to clarify points regarding the concepts and practices of anapanasati.  Peter emphasized the emphasis the Buddha placed on cultivating a wholesome lifestyle with a strong commitment to daily meditation practice, “ardent, alert and mindful”.  The review is intended to relate the practice of breath awareness described as involving 16 stages to the development of a more integrated personality (the mundane or worldly goal) and then to the full realization of Awakening (the supramundane or liberation goal).  As the 16 stages are brought to maturity, the meditation student realizes the full potential of the Satipatthana, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, particularly the Seven Awakening Factors.

The review was followed by discussion among those attending regarding the application of anapanasati to their benefit.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Anapanasati Final Review and Commentary

Here is a copy of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s translation of the Anapanasati Sutta, referred to during the talk:  Mindfulness of Breathing (full) Thanissaro

Next week’s talk will be conducted by Daniel Logan and focused on this topic:

What’s the story of your spiritual practice? In this week’s dharma discussion we’ll engage in a participatory exercise known as currere. Currere is an autobiographical method of reflecting upon one’s experience through a subjective and narrative framework. Participants will be guided through the process of reflecting upon past, present, and future experiences related to their practice, and they will be encouraged to frame these experiences in a manner that serves to strengthen their practice. This method was pioneered by educational theorist William Pinar and has found broad application in professional, curricular, and spiritual education settings. So come prepared to share your story with a fellow meditator and perhaps with the group at large. (For inspiration, feel free to read these profiles of Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield from Lion’s Roar.)

The following week’s discussion will begin a series of talks exploring how mindfulness and lovingkindness practices can be beneficially applied to coping with the complexity and stress of contemporary life.