Cultivating Wise Attention

During this talk, Peter described the relationship between the various factors that support the development of yoniso manasikara, wise attention.  Attention that is wise manifests as mindful, tranquil, equanimous, tranquil, agile, pliant wieldy, proficient and accurate.  This well-developed attention is capable of investigating emerging self-states, turning away from the unwholesome and nurturing the fulfillment of the wholesome.

The Selfing Story

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.

Sensitizing Breath Awareness

During this guided meditation, the participants were invited to “look closer, to feel the texture, the details of sensation” in the areas of breath awareness ranging from the outer upper lip, through the nasal passages, down into the upper soft palate and hard palate areas, the upper gums, the teeth and inside of the upper lip.  The intention of this practice is to nurture a stronger and more continuous practice of investigation of phenomena, as well as to introduce the participants to the dynamics of the body scan practices.


Fourth Night: Awakening Factors

During this extensive Dhamma talk, Peter described satibojjhanga, the seven awakening factors: mindfulness, investigation of phenomena, energy/effort, joy/enthusiastic engagement, tranquility, concentration and equanimity.  Once the five hindrances have been set aside, the cultivation of vipassana is furthered through the perfection of these factors.  Peter explained how the factors co-operate, that is the dynamic interaction between them.  Mindfulness is the factor that monitors the process, assuring the activating factors, tranquilizing factors, faith/confidence and investigation are in balance.  This balance is dynamic, constantly needing adjustment to accommodate fresh sensory input.  Joy and equanimity are byproducts of this balancing.   This was followed by another lively group discussion about how this works in experience.

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Seven Factors of Awakening On Retreat 2011

During this talk, the cumulative benefits of cultivating satta sambojjhanga, the seven wholesome mind states that are to be cultivated to move the mind toward awakening (Nibbana).   Mindfulness, investigation of phenomena, energy, joy, tranquility, concentration and equanimity were described and their mutual influence explored.