Salayatana, The Six Sense Bases, May 20, 2020

This talk focuses on reviewing Salayatana (sah-lah-yah-tuh-nah), the Six Sense Bases, a concept for contemplation found in the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness: the eyes and seeing, ears and hearing, nose and smelling, tongue and tasting, reflected in the mind with cognition.  All sensory stimulation is processed through the functions of the mind, referring incoming stimulation with categories relating to prior experience.  This process manifests as the subjective experience of being a self relating to the world, and this whole process is to be understood and deconstructed, discovering the absence of an enduring and autonomous self.  Skillful attention is cultivated to investigate the distinction between the sensory stimuli and the transient and insubstantial fabricating function of the mind, a concept called namarupa, with nama representing the meaning-making process and rupa the sensory stimuli. The This talk is meant to be supplemented by the recorded “Guarding The Sense Doors” meditation found in the audio archive.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Salayatana, The Six Sense Bases

During the talk Peter referred to another important concept for contemplation, paticca samuppada, (pah-tee-chah sahm-ooh-pah-dah), translated as dependent origination; the title here reflects a different approach to understanding the concept:  Contingent Provisional Emergence

Next week’s talk will focus on the next conceptual topic in the Fourth Foundation, the Five Aggregates With Clinging.


Guided Looking Closer Meditation

There are two initial stages in the practice of mindfulness of breathing meditation: persistently maintaining present-moment awareness of the in- and out-breath, followed by increasing investigation of phenomena that emerge into awareness during the breathing cycle.  During this meditation, training attention to investigate the breath cycle was cultivated by inviting a primary investigation of the physical experience of breathing, then letting the breath awareness become secondary while investigating and “looking closer” at other predominant sensations in the body, or investigating the nature of attention while attending to physical sensations to discover the self-fabricating nature of the mind.  An important goal of vipassana practice is to investigate the interactions between physical sensory experience and how the mind makes meaning of the sensations.  In the progressions of insight during the process of Awakening, this awareness is called namarupa, with nama relating to the mind’s function and rupa to the physical sensations that occur.


Peter Reports on 2019 Year End Retreat

It is customary for retreatants in this Sangha to have the opportunity to report on their retreat experience as this helps integrate the insights realized during the retreat more clearly in awareness.  Peter described the structure of his recent two-week self-retreat.  During the retreat he hoped to cultivate deep samadhi to cultivate the potential for […]


Understanding NamaRupa

NamaRupa is an important concept in Buddhist psychology.  Nama represents the conditioning functions of the mind as Rupa, the experiencing of sensations is transformed into meaningful self-state organizations.  NamaRupa is another way to describe the Five Aggregates, that is, form (sensations, that is, Rupa), feelings, perceptions, mind conditioners and consciousness (These four represent the various categories of Nama).  During the talk, the importance of being mindfully aware of these different functions in order to not mistakenly believe that mental phenomena are inherently accurate representations of the objective world.  This awareness, when clearly established through the Seven Awakening Factors, (mindfulness, investigation of mental phenomena, energy/persistent Right Effort, joyful engagement, tranquility, stability of focus and equanimity/internal balance), leads to Awakening.  Peter emphasized that on a mundane level, the ability to discern the difference between what is sensed and how the mind makes meaning regarding the sensation is a core skill for cognitive therapy, a frequent and reliable way to promote mental health.

Here are the notes prepared for this presentation:  Understanding NamaRupa

Next week’s talk will involve a guest speaker, Andy Quinn, who will facilitate a discussion of the important place women occupy in contemporary Western Buddhism as practitioners, teachers and authors.  During next week, Peter and other community members will be on the yearly one week retreat, which will be discussed during the following regular Wednesday night meeting.


Five Aggregates With Clinging

This talk provides a review of pancasammupada, the Five Aggregates With Clinging, an important Buddhist concept describing how personality is organized.  When Peter was in Graduate School, part of the required curriculum was a course on personality theory, citing such authorities as Freud and Jung, among others.  One of the chapters, written by Daniel Goleman, focused on Buddhism as a theory of personality, with the five aggregates as the topic of interest.  The aggregates represent the dynamic interaction between external reality and various functions operating within the mind to impose meaning and a sense of self.

These aggregates were reviewed to clarify how mindfulness practices provide opportunities to “deconstruct” the aggregates, fostering the process of awakening from distress and confusion.

Here are the notes prepared for the talk, including a graphic presentation to clarify the interactions of the aggregates:  THE FIVE AGGREGATES OF CLINGING