Sankhara the Self Maker

During this dhamma dialogue, Peter completed the exploration of the Five Aggregates, describing the function of sankhara, translated as the mind fabricator, the process of fabricating, and that which is fabricated.  This concept is related to the paticcasamuppada, usually translated as dependent origination, which will be the next topic explored.  This recording is accompanied by the notes prepared for the presentation.

Five Aggregates Affected By Clinging

Continuing the ongoing exploration of the Four Noble Truths, Peter described the concept of the Five Aggregates affected by clinging, which is referred to in the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness teaching.  Using a graphic illustration, he showed how the factors of perception and feeling create a “bridge” between incoming sense data and the further processing that occurs before conscious awareness (the graphic and accompanying notes are posted on the site as well).  Without the benefit of mindfulness, concentration and tranquility, perception is biased and distorted by the conditioning factors, with the result that what is transitory and non-self is misperceived as enduring and a self.  The practice of vipassana can reveal the misperception and reorient the energy of the mind toward clear awareness and benevolent intention.  This is the process of awakening.

during the next dialogue, Peter will describe how a conceptual and experiential understanding of perception and feeling is contained within the doctrine of paticca samuppada, dependent origination.  Peter will develop a different translation of this term, as “contingent provisional emergence”

Introducing The Teacher’s Mentoring Group

Following on last week’s dialogue, the Teacher’s Mentoring Group, which has been meeting weekly for several months, introduced themselves and provided comments about their current studies of Buddhist principles and practices.  These individuals’ commitments to their spiritual path warrants the opportunity to share what they’ve gained from the practice.  Peter commented on the reality that each generation must revisit and make real in their own lived experience the wisdom that the Buddha’s teachings offered, and that his teaching over the last 20 years or so played a significant role in deepening his practice.  These teachers, with Peter’s support, will be offering dhamma dialogues off and on during the summer, and will be delivering the dhamma talks while he’s away on his three month retreat this Fall.  Next week, Kitty will lead a dialogue about how essential regular sitting practice has been for her spiritual development, and the week after that Rose will facilitate exploring the value of taking refuge, especially as related to Sangha.

Five Aggregates

Continuing the exploration of the Satipatthana Sutta, this talk describes the Buddhist concept of personality structure, pancakhanda, the five aggregates: form, feeling, perception/recognition, mental conditioners and the mind.  Peter emphasized the usefulness of this concept to “deconstruct” the human misperception of an enduring, controlling, unitary self.