Perfecting Wholesome Mental Qualities

This talk begins a series of explorations of the paramis, qualities of the mind to be perfected during the process of awakening.  The word parami is translated from Pali as perfection; in Sanskrit, the word is paramita.  These qualities emerge as the frequency and potency of wholesome self-state organizations flourish.  In describing the paramis, Peter emphasized the importance of cultivating attention through the combination of mindful investigation and benevolent intention. In the Theravada tradition, there are 10 paramis: generosity, virtue, renunciation, Wisdom, energy/persistence, patience, truthfulness, determination, lovingkindness, and equanimity/balance.  These were reviewed as a wholesome system for self-state integration and liberation, with an emphasis on the interpersonal/societal benefits as well as personal awakening.  This was followed by general discussion of the holistic “package” of the paramis, that is, how the function of one integrates with all the other paramis.  In forthcoming talks, each of the paramis will be explored more deeply, with an emphasis on practical applications in contemporary secular life.  The first parami, generosity, will be discussed at the next meeting.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk; please note the definition of the paramis follows a very traditional format, that is, characteristic description, specific function, its manifestation and proximal cause:  Perfecting Qualities For Awakening


Thanks Giving

Since we meet on Wednesday evenings, the night before Thanksgiving has been focused on a Buddhist perspective on gratitude and the increasing spirit of generosity that emerges from dedicated mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation practices.  The participants in the group each talked of their experiences related to their practice and this time of year.

Thanksgiving 2013

It’s our custom to devote the meeting on Thanksgiving Eve to shared experiences on how Buddhist practices foster gratitude, and how gratitude fosters generosity, which the Buddha regarded as the foremost of the qualities we develop as the awakening process unfolds.  We hope that listening to this dialogue will inspire your practice of awakening.

Tommy’s Generosity Talk

During this talk Tommy gave some background information about the Buddhist concept of dana, translated as generosity.  He related this as an outgrowth of gratitude for the clarity and relief brought about through intensive meditation practice.  He emphasized the application of gratitude and generosity as important applications of Buddhism, and that generosity depends more on the degree of awareness of the practitioner.  He mentioned some of the possible applications of generosity in life.  This was followed by the closing night Dhamma talk provided by Peter

[s3mm type=”audio” files=”wp-content/uploads/2013/02/11130533/Tommy’s Generosity Talk.mp3″ titles=”Tommy’s Generosity Talk” /]

Fifth Night: Awakening Factors

During this second discussion of the seven awakening factors, more emphasis was placed on the integrative function of the factors and how this process transitions from personality integration to spiritual transcendence.  As the “demons” of the hindrances are starved of attention, more free energy is channeled intentionally to nurturing the “angels” of loving-kindness, compassion, generosity, empathic joy and insights about the three characteristics of impermanence, non-self, and the inevitable results of craving and clinging, that is, distress.  This talk also includes the enthusiastic question and answer session that followed.

[s3mm type=”audio” files=”wp-content/uploads/2013/02/11130634/Fifth Night-Awakening Factors.mp3″ titles=”Fifth Night-Awakening Factors” /]