This recording provides training in the practice of “body sweep” meditation, which Peter received training for during a retreat with S. N. Goenka’s assistant trainers. They call this practice vedanupassana, mindfulness of feelings, which is the second of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. This training, an hour of practice, provided prompts for aiming attention at a particular spot on the body and sustaining that attention to develop the Awakening Factors of Investigation of Phenomena, Energy, and, of course, Mindfulness. It requires a lot of preparation through developing concentration to the level of upacara samadhi, access concentration. It can be quite frustrating for a beginning meditator, as the power of investigation is initially quite weak; it’s important to recall that this is meant to cultivate investigation, and not a test of willpower.
Our Wednesday night meditation and study group just completed several weeks of exploring the Mahayana/Tibetan practice called Lojong, which is usually translated as “mind training.” Peter prepared the document posted below that noted this practice from the perspective of someone who has a lot of experience with Theravadin Buddhist practices. He sees Lojong as a way to implement the Wisdom aggregate of the Noble Eightfold Path, which combines clear awareness/vipassana practice with benevolent awareness/compassion practice. It is hoped that those who read this will be inspired to pursue this practice.
By Peter Carlson
The value of the Buddhist approach to life is threefold:
- There is a clear understanding of the way the mind works, either to create and sustain stressful states of mind or to alleviate that suffering.
- There is an ongoing valuing of harmlessness, compassion, generosity and tolerance.
- There is a high value placed on routinely training the mind through meditation.
Currently, the world we live in is very stressful. Despite all our creature comforts there is a persistent unsatisfactoriness looming. We have intervals that are comfortable and reassuring, followed by sleeplessness, restlessness, and stress-induced illnesses. (more…)