Working With Intention

This talk reviews the function of intention, which coordinates and initiates each moment of self-experience, whether wholesome or unwholesome. The ability to monitor and effectively manage intention to promote liberation from greed, hatred and ignorance is considered to be one of the most important goals to master on the path to Awakening.  The talk reviews the concepts associated with intention as well as various ways to mindfully cultivate intentional awareness and action, primarily through mindfulness of breathing meditation, but also including various opportunities that might arise during daily routines.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Working With Intentions

The end of the old year and onset of the new year can be a time of personal renewal as the solstice, occurring on December 21, signifies the transition from the past to the future, so the focus for next week’s talk will be on how intentions guide our daily life decisions, with emphasis on cultivating a wholesome lifestyle in the midst of contemporary consumerist and internet-oriented cultural conditions.


Guided Mindful Intention Meditation

This guided mindfulness of breathing meditation suggests a variety of tactics for cultivating mindful awareness of intention, the mind conditioning factor that coordinates every moment of self-organization in preparation for action.  Meditators are invited to notice quickly and as precisely as possible the beginning of the in-breath and out-breath to establish stability of attention.  Further suggestions bring attention to noting the intention associated with noting changes in physical sensations, alternating with noting the intentions associated with various mental formations such as alertness vs. dullness, stability vs. distractions, etc.  This meditation is intended to accompany the talk entitled “Right Lifestyle In Trying Times”, which covers the cetasikas of Right Action and Right Livelihood.


Working With Karma February 19 2020

This talk focuses on what is probably the most frequently used Buddhist term karma, which is often misunderstood.  During the talk Peter explained the various complexities of this term that the Buddha described as “only understood fully by an Arahant”.  Other terms were provided by Peter: karmaphala, vipaka, cetana and sankhara, all of which can be almost synonymous with karma, with subtle but practically useful differences.  The karmic process was related to contemporary neuroscientific, psychological and sociological concepts.  Peter then reviewed how cultivating mindfulness of breathing, applied to mindfulness of feelings can change the manifestation of karma in beneficial ways.  This was followed by general discussion of how understanding karma can be beneficial to those attending the talk.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Working With Karma

Next week’s talk will begin and extensive exploration of what can be considered the most useful of all the Buddhist suttas, the Satipatthana Sutta, the Discourse On The Four Foundations of Mindfulness.


Understanding Intention

During the discussion of January 10, 2018 “Understanding Karma”, the importance of cetana, intention, was mentioned.  This talk elaborates on cetana, which is one of the “universal mind conditioners” that function in every moment of consciousness.  Peter quoted excerpts from Van Gorkam’s book “Cetasikas” describing the coordinating and motivating function of intention in the formation of each moment of selfing.  The relationship between intention and the Buddhist doctrine of dependent origination was also described.  These understandings were aligned with an excerpt from Siegel’s “The Mindful Brain” regarding the neuroscientific research on intention that supports the traditional Buddhist view.  Ways to cultivate mindful intention were discussed associated with the practice of mindfulness of breathing.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  UNDERSTANDING INTENTION

Next week’s topic will be understanding the practical benefits of cultivating virtue, a core aspect of the Noble Eightfold Path, from a psychological as well as spiritual perspective.



The Importance Of Intention

This evening’s meeting focused on the crucial role cetana, the Pali word translated as intention or volition, plays in the ongoing process of self-state organization.  Cetana is a “universal mind conditioner”, functioning in each moment of self-state organization to coordinate the various conditioning factors involved in the process.  Intention operates through the each of the “six sense bases”, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, body sensations and cognitive processes.  Using the concept developed in the book “The Mind Illuminated”, Peter described how intention shapes the perceptual processes in each of the sense bases; the most potent of the products of the various sense bases will be further processed by emotionally charged memory associations and will emerge into consciousness.  The benefit of cultivating the intention to mindfully and persistently investigate the sensation of breathing is the manifestation of samadhi/passadhi, a flow of conscious awareness that is stable and tranquil.  This unifies the sense bases and produces the conditions most effective for the practice of vipassana, that is, insight into the conditioned nature of personal experience, liberating the mind from distress and confusion.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  THE IMPORTANCE OF INTENTION

There will not be a posted dharma dialogue next week because of the one week residential meditation retreat.  On February 22, participants in the retreat will review their retreat experiences for posting on the website.