Setting Aside Skeptical Doubt May 13 2020

During this talk, Peter described the nature of one of the Five Hindrances, vicikiccha, translated as skeptical doubt.  This hindrance interferes with the ability to cultivate confidence in the principles and practices of Buddhism, either by doubting the concepts or one’s ability to master the practices involved.  During the talk various tactics for understanding, investigating and setting aside skeptical doubt were reviewed.  The review was followed by discussion among those participating in the Zoom meeting about the topic.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Setting Aside Skeptical Doubt

Next week’s practice will review another category of concepts and practices found in the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, the Six Sense Bases.


Awakening The Four Noble Truths September 19 2018

This post represents the summation of the Satipatthana Sutta, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, in reviewing the stanzas relating to the fulfillment of the Four Noble Truths.  Each of the Truths is reviewed through three stages: conceptual understanding, experiential knowledge and integration into one’s life.  Through the maturing development of the Four Foundations competencies, the personality view moves from conflicted self-state organizations through a more balanced and effectively integrated self-state organizing process.  This sets the conditions for self-state liberation, represented by the “Noble Tenfold Path”, which revisits Right Understanding as Right Knowledge (Direct experience confirming the three characteristics: anicca, dukkha and anatta) and Right Intention as Liberating Insight.  This attainment fosters the experience of Nirvana, the Unconditioned.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  THE TRUTHS OF AWAKENING


Transforming Energy Into Awakening August 15 2018

This talk explores Viriya Bojjhanga, translated as the Energy Awakening Factor.  Peter quoted Daniel Siegel’s suggestion that “the mind… regulates the flow of energy and information”, that is, we are energy transforming organisms.  In Buddhist psychology, energy is related to Right Effort of the Eightfold Path, among other beneficial categories.  He suggested that the practice of mindfulness of breathing meditation channels energy away from unwholesome self-organizing processes and builds neural networks that are wholesome and mindfully channeling the energy of attention through the Seven Awakening Factors.  This was followed by general group discussion of how the practice of channeling energy through mindful Right Effort brings benefit.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Transforming Energy Into Awakening

Next week’s topic will focus on the Awakening Factor of Joy/Enthusiastic Interest.


Investigating Mental Phenomena August 8 2018

Continuing the exploration of the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, tonight’s topic is the Awakening Factor Dhamma Vicaya, Investigating Mental Phenomena.  During the talk, Peter suggested the development of this Awakening Factor begins with the practice of vitakka/vicara, aiming attention at the breath sensations/sustaining attention for the duration of the breath sensations.  As the topic was developed, the cooperation of the other Awakening Factors was described in developing mature awareness of how the process of “selfing” occurs and to realize anicca (impermanence), anatta, (non-self) and the distress and confusion that constitutes dukkha.  This was followed by general group discussion of the benefits that result from cultivating Dhamma Vicaya.

Here are the notes prepared for this discussion:  INVESTIGATING MENTAL PHENOMENA

Next week’s topic will be the Awakening Factor Viriya, translated as Energy/Effort and Determination.



Understanding The Five Aggregates July 18 2018

As exploring the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness continues, the importance of understanding how the Five Aggregates functions in organizing an experience of “selfing” conceptually integrates with the ability to mindfully investigate the experience of form, feelings, perceptions, mind conditioners and consciousness as mental phenomena without identifying with their interactive functioning as a self that is autonomous and enduring.  During the talk, the 52 mental conditioners called cetasikas were described categorically as Universal, Occasional, Unwholesome and Wholesome (with the addition of feelings and perceptions on the list).  Peter used the example of jealousy (listed as envy among the cetasikas) as a category that all people experience, then talking about the jealousy experienced as a memory of a favored sibling getting the “best” piece of cake as an explicit and personalized manifestation of craving and clinging to clarify how to investigate mind conditioners through vipassana practice.

This was followed by discussion of how mindful and non-attached investigation of the presence or absence of awareness of one of the five aggregates affects one’s lived experience in the process of Awakening.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  UNDERSTANDING THE FIVE AGGREGATES

Here is the cetasikas poster that is posted in the meditation room that was referred to in the talk:  CETASIKAS POSTER

Next week’s talk will explore how mindfulness of the “six sense bases” furthers the process of Awakening.