During this dialogue, Peter first described the classical way of understanding the hindrance of aversion and ill-will. He then provided a review of current neurobiological understanding of how various brain structures process incoming stimuli to assess for either threat or reward. During this phase, he explained the close association between the avoidance of unpleasant feeling and the onset of addictive behaviors. This was linked to the emphasis placed on serenity in the various 12-step organizations, particularly the 11th step regarding daily meditation and prayer. This was followed by a clarifying dialogue among the sangha members about this process. Next week’s talk will explore more directly how we can notice the arising of aversion , the nature of arisen aversion, how to dissolve aversion and how to avoid the future arising of aversion.
Pursuing the development of a more integrated personality prior to spiritual transcendence, Peter described sentient beings as “energy transformation” beings, emphasizing that the five hindrances (sense desire, aversion and ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and skeptical doubt) are “energy dumps”. The first steps on the path involve developing the ability to focus attention on breath awareness to concentrate and calm the mind, combined with the ability to be mindful of distractions away from breath awareness and to turn attention away from the distractions and back to the breath. Each hindrance was described as to characteristics and impact on the body/mind processes. Classical antidotes for the hindrances were also described. The freed up energy from ongoing breath awareness can then be available for cultivating vipassana, which is the ability to note the emergence, fulfillment, and dissolution of self states, in order to further personality integration.
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On this second night of the retreat, pancanivarana, the five hindrances, were described; their causes and their antidotes.