Investigating Mental Phenomena August 8 2018

Continuing the exploration of the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, tonight’s topic is the Awakening Factor Dhamma Vicaya, Investigating Mental Phenomena.  During the talk, Peter suggested the development of this Awakening Factor begins with the practice of vitakka/vicara, aiming attention at the breath sensations/sustaining attention for the duration of the breath sensations.  As the topic was developed, the cooperation of the other Awakening Factors was described in developing mature awareness of how the process of “selfing” occurs and to realize anicca (impermanence), anatta, (non-self) and the distress and confusion that constitutes dukkha.  This was followed by general group discussion of the benefits that result from cultivating Dhamma Vicaya.

Here are the notes prepared for this discussion:  INVESTIGATING MENTAL PHENOMENA

Next week’s topic will be the Awakening Factor Viriya, translated as Energy/Effort and Determination.



Overcoming Skeptical Doubt July 11 2018

This is the last of a series of talks focusing on how to identify and overcome the five hindrances.  Skeptical doubt is the quality of indecisiveness regarding whether one’s understanding and practice of Buddhism is accurate or actually working.  The antidote for skeptical doubt is confidence tempered by investigation of how the mind is creating subjective reality.  This confidence is fostered by study of Buddhist teachings and commentaries, but must be confirmed by one’s own direct experience, otherwise the confidence may be due to craving and clinging to erroneous perceptions and beliefs.  Rigorous daily practice of mindfulness of breathing meditation provides the necessary elements of internal inquiry to overcome doubt.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  OVERCOMING SKEPTICAL DOUBT

Next week’s talk will focus on what the teachings of the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness provide for understanding the Five Aggregates that provide a functional selfing process.


Mindfulness Of Mental Phenomena

This talk begins several weeks of exploration of the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, dhammanupassana.  During the discussion, Peter pointed out that Mindfulness of the Body and of Feelings are projected onto the Third Foundation, that of consciousness, and that the culminating practice of this teaching is to notice the interactions between the foundations, Mindfulness of Mental Phenomena. He also suggested that the word “dhamma” conveys something static, a thing; however, a dhamma is transient, lasting a fraction of a second, and therefore is best considered as a dynamic process that commingles the four foundations.  During the next several weeks, the dhamma called the five hindrances, the dhamma called the five aggregates, the dhamma called the six sense bases (which he terms “the six sense functions”, the dhamma of the seven awakening factors, and the dhamma called the full realization of the Four Noble Truths (which he called the Four Ennobling Truths) will be explored.