Understanding The Investigation Awakening Factor June 17, 2020

During this talk Peter discusses the characteristics of the second of the Seven Awakening Factors, Dhamma Vicaya (dah-mah vih-chah-yah), which he interprets as Investigation of Mental Phenomena.  This awakening factor works in close coordination with the Mindfulness and Energy Awakening Factors (the energy factor will be the focus for next week’s talk).  A careful reading of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse reveals that dhamma vicaya is repeatedly mentioned in regards to mindfulness of the body, of feeling, of the mind and of mental factors, so it is an essential aspect of how the process of Awakening is developed.  The cultivation of this factor begins with mindfulness of breathing and involves the suggestion of directing attention to the beginning of the in-breath and sustaining this attention for the duration of the in-breath, then repeating this for the out-breath.  This intentional process uses the sensation of breathing to increase the mind’s agility and insight into how the mind makes meaning from what primary sensations stimulate, and this skill becomes more and more important as it matures into the ability to notice the arising and passing away of self-state organizations, revealing the transient and essentially unstable delusion of an enduring and autonomous self.  This explanation is followed by a general discussion to clarify the ways to cultivate dhamma vicaya.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Mindful Investigation for Awakening

Next week’s talk will focus on the Energy Awakening Factor


Understanding The Mindfulness Awakening Factor June 10, 2020

This is the second of a series of reviews of the Seven Awakening Factors, with the first talk as an overview of the factors on June 3, 2020, posted on June 4.  Sati (sah-tee), translated as mindfulness, is perhaps the most important characteristic of the mind to be cultivated during the process of Awakening.  Mindfulness as an awakening factor has the function of monitoring the presence or absence of the other six factors as well as supporting the most appropriate and effective coordination of these factors.  Peter provides a brief history of the application of sati in Buddhist history and reviewes how it operates in relation to supporting the other factors, based on the practice of mindfulness of breathing meditation.  Passages from the Satipatthana Sutta are read to emphasize the refrain in each of the four foundations that repeatedly urges atapi sati sampajanna (ah-tah-pee sah-tee sahm-pah-jah-nyah), diligent, mindful, clearly knowing what arises in the mind in an ongoing way.  The explanations are followed by a brief question and answer period to clarify how mindfulness can be applied in the context of challenging decision-making, focused on two approaches: one is to be mindful of how the mind can be balanced as the information and solution stages are developed and the other is of monitoring during the process of applying a solution, alert to changes in circumstances that might alter the intended outcome and requiring a different approach.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Working With The Mindfulness Awakening Factor

The topic for next week’s meeting is the cultivation of dhamma vicaya (dah-mah vih-chah-yah), the investigation of mental phenomena, another of the Seven Awakening Factors.