How To Change Your Karma

This is the second presentation regarding the processes that create dukkha.  The talk recorded on February 14, 2024 reviewed the characteristics of craving and clinging.  This talk provides a review of a key concept of Buddhist psychology, paticca samuppada, translated as dependent origination.  Peter explains how ignorance and unwholesome karmic influences generate craving and clinging with an extensive description of the 12 links of what he calls contingent provisional emergence, a more contemporary understanding of paticca samuppada.  The talk includes ways to investigate the dependent origination link called “feeling” in ways that produce wholesome karmic results.  The review is followed by several follow-up questions from those participating in the talk.

It is recommended that those listening to the talk read the extensive notes and graphic illustration that accompanies the talk:  HOW TO CHANGE YOUR KARMA

This talk was preceded by this recording: “Guided Dependent Origination Contemplation”, which is posted in the archives for this site.

The next scheduled Dharma talk will provide a review of the Third Noble Truth, liberation from dukkha.


Working With Karma February 19 2020

This talk focuses on what is probably the most frequently used Buddhist term karma, which is often misunderstood.  During the talk Peter explained the various complexities of this term that the Buddha described as “only understood fully by an Arahant”.  Other terms were provided by Peter: karmaphala, vipaka, cetana and sankhara, all of which can be almost synonymous with karma, with subtle but practically useful differences.  The karmic process was related to contemporary neuroscientific, psychological and sociological concepts.  Peter then reviewed how cultivating mindfulness of breathing, applied to mindfulness of feelings can change the manifestation of karma in beneficial ways.  This was followed by general discussion of how understanding karma can be beneficial to those attending the talk.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Working With Karma

Next week’s talk will begin and extensive exploration of what can be considered the most useful of all the Buddhist suttas, the Satipatthana Sutta, the Discourse On The Four Foundations of Mindfulness.


Understanding Karma

During this talk, Peter describes the Buddhist concept of karma, the intentional application of various mental conditioning factors that form the sense of self.  The traditional concepts about the various attributes of karma were described, then compared to current psychological and neuroscientific research that clarifies how karma actually operates in the human brain, and how neuroplasticity supports changing karmic formations in the mind.  This was followed by discussion among those attending about the implications of traditional and modern understandings of karma for cultivating mental clarity, peace of mind and kindness.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Understanding Karma

Next week’s talk will focus on cultivating beneficial intentions in life.


Deerhaven 2015 Fifth Night Dhamma Talk

During this dhamma talk, Peter described paticca sammupada, typically translated as dependent origination.  Peter expressed a different view of this concept, calling the process contingent provisional emergence.  This contemporary view applies understandings derived from complexity theory, which is a non-linear perspective on the incredible complexity of the mind’s ability to respond to sensory input.  He described the links of associated factors in this process, with an emphasis on how important vedanupassana, mindfulness of feelings, the second of the four foundations of mindfulness, is for reconfiguring how the mind responds to each moment of self-state organization.  This awareness requires the full functioning of the wholesome mind conditioners, through the practice of vipassana.The practice of vedanupassana will be cultivated later during the retreat through the training in body sweep meditation.

Deerhaven 2015 Fourth Night Dhamma Talk

During the fourth night talk, Peter described the “mind conditioners” that the Anapanasati Sutta trains to calm with mindfulness of breathing.  He described the 14 wholesome conditioners, with particular attention to the “beautiful pairs” of conditioners (describing the pairing of mind and mind conditioners), tranquility, lightness/agility, pliancy, wieldiness, proficiency and uprightness.  These 14 conditioners combine with other “universal” and “occasional” mind conditioners in every moment of wholesome self-state organization.