This talk continues a review of the Four Noble Truths, perhaps the most fundamental and universally accepted Buddhist teaching. The characteristics of the Second Noble Truth, craving (tanha) and clinging (upadana) are reviewed regarding traditional understandings as well as more contemporary Buddhist scholarship and neuropsychological research which supports the traditional teaching.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: Reviewing the Second Noble Truth
This talk is complemented with an .mp3 recording titled “Guided Second Noble Truth Contemplation”, that preceded this talk and is posted in the Guided Meditation page of this website’s archives.
The focus for the next talk will continue the review of the Four Noble Truths, addressing the Third Noble Truth, liberation from dukkha.
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This talk concludes two focused on the elements of Dukkha, craving and clinging; the talk on tanha, craving,was posted on February 6. Peter described the term Upadana as basically meaning fuel or nutriment, that which feeds the selfing process. Upadana is the “maturing” of craving when the mind is insufficiently alert and balanced. Contemporary research into how the brain transforms stimulation into a sense of self through what is termed the binding process. Peter described how mindfulness of breathing meditation can provide the stability of attention and the level of insight into the process of becoming as described in the concept of dependent origination. These explanations were followed by general group discussion regarding the applications of mindfulness to reveal and overcome the various manifestations of clinging.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: WORKING WITH CLINGING
Next week’s talk will focus on working with karma.
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During this talk, Peter reviewed 3 lojong mind training commitments: “Don’t revert to magic”, “Don’t reduce a god to a demon”, and “Don’t seek pain as a component of happiness”. The common theme of these three commitments is to be mindful of mental rigidity, which produces “magical thinking” (Misperceiving one’s beliefs to be “things”, that is, accurate personality defining characteristics). This consequence of craving and clinging can create a rigid, doctrinaire, “holier than thou” approach to life, comparing and judging others harshly for their beliefs. This rigidity can manifest as a punitive approach to life, that is, relishing the suffering of others.
The review was followed by discussion by various persons attending regarding how this rigidity is experienced and what aspects of the Four Noble Truth can bring resolution to the rigidity and harshness.
This review is the last focused on the commitments of lojong mind training. Peter will be on a two-week self retreat over the holidays. The first meeting in January will review the retreat process he experienced. The following meeting will summarize the lojong mind training with a review of the remaining aphorisms, which emphasize the importance of various elements of the lojong mind training system.
Here are the notes prepared for this discussion: AVOIDING MENTAL RIGIDITY AND HARSHNESS
This is the second of two talks about the importance of the practice of mindfulness of feelings. During this talk, Peter reviewed paticca samuppada, usually translated as dependent origination. A new rendering of the term was explained, that is, contingent provisional emergence, with clarification of the non-linear, mutually influential functions that affect how the mind overlays a provisional interpretation of raw sense data input, thereby creating a “selfing moment”. In this creative process, attention becomes fixated on a particular feeling and perception, creating the craving and clinging dynamic that is the driving force of our distresses about life. Mindfulness of feelings as feelings allows the skilled meditator to avoid “personalizing” the emerging self-organization, providing relief from craving and clinging.
During this talk, Peter described Paticca Samupadda, usually translated as the principle of Dependent Origination. This is one of the core concepts of Buddhism, as it explains how the dynamics of self formation and dissolution operate. Emphasis was placed on understanding that being able to directly experience feeling as feeling (the second of the four foundations of mindfulness) interrupts the formation and operation of craving and clinging, and that these functions are core to the problem of suffering. Feeling brings resolution to this problem, and is why so much emphasis is placed on body awareness, particularly on strongly pleasant or unpleasant feelings in a non-reactive way.