Reviewing Tranquility and Concentration

This talk provides a review of two of seven Awakening Factors, Tranquility and Concentration, which are so integrated in their functioning that their manifestation is called samatha (syah-mah-tah) in Pali.  Peter Carlson provides a review of each of the two, including skillful means for cultivating them, both while meditating and in the context of lifestyle choices.  Additional emphasis is provided to clarify the characteristics of concentration, as either the highly concentrated experience of jhana or the more inclusive but very stable kind of concentration important for vipassana practice and the full development of the Seven Awakening Factors.

This talk can be supplemented by the “Guided Tranquility and Concentration Contemplation” that preceded this talk and which is posted in the archives of this site.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Tranquility and Concentration


Reviewing The Seven Awakening Factors, Part 2

This talk reviews the Awakening Factors Joy and Tranquility.  The understanding of the review is that the first three Awakening Factors, Mindfulness, Investigation Of Mental Phenomena and Energy/Effort/Persistence, which were reviewed during the talk of October 5, 2022, support the development of the remaining Awakening Factors. The traditional understanding of these two factors is reviewed, along with some of the contemporary research on the nervous system that validates Buddhist concepts.  Their development creates the conditions in the mind that bring clarity and a quality of regulation to the actions of the sympathetic nervous system, which energizes the mind and body, expressed as the Awakening Factor of Joy.  The parasympathetic nervous system calms the mind and body, and is the Awakening Factor of Tranquility.  As the Awakening Factors mature, these two systems are dynamically integrated and balanced.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  The Seven Awakening Factors—Part 2

The focus of the next talk will be a review of the remaining Awakening Factors, Concentration/Unification and Equanimity/Balance, which function to coordinate and balance the other five Awakening Factors.


Guided Contemplation of Dukkha

This meditation focuses attention on the second of the three characteristics of subjective reality, Dukkha, distress and confusion. You are invited to cultivate anicca, the transitory nature of self-experience through mindfulness of breathing meditation.  This awareness is brought to the experience of dukkha to notice the changing nature of distress in the body along with emotional distress.  The primary focus of attention in this practice is cultivating an active and investigative quality of attention regarding breath sensations. The goal of the practice is to become detached from the emerging narrative that seems self-defining, thereby draining the impact of distress and bringing clarity to the mind.  As this practice matures, the fabricated nature of the selfing process becomes more realizable, supporting liberation from the misconception of an enduring, autonomous self.


Guided Tranquility Awakening Factor Meditation

This Meditation contemplates the Awakening Factor of passadhi, tranquility of mind and mental conditioners.  During the contemplation, you are invited to investigate the “tight, disturbed” quality of attention that occurs when the mind is caught up in any of the five hindrances, contrasting this experience with the openness and clarity of attention that occurs when the mind is investigating mindfulness of breathing.  Tranquility is the antidote for restlessness in the mind and can be noticed in close association with samadhi (concentration) and upekkha (equanimity), the sixth and seventh of the Awakening Factors.


The Tranquility Awakening Factor June 19 2019

During this discussion, emphasis was placed on how the Seven Awakening Factors are developed through the practice of mindfulness of breathing meditation.  Starting with the Awakening Factor of Mindfulness, Peter linked the other factors into the process of overcoming the Five Hindrances, eventually maturing into the cultivation of the Awakening Factors to maximize the benefits from the practice of vipassana (vee-pah-sah-nah).  Passadhi (pah-sah-dee) is typically translated as tranquility, and Peter suggested increased alertness regarding the experience of tranquility to avoid mistaking “subtle dullness”, a term developed by Culadasa in “The Mind Illuminated” as tranquility, manifesting a meditation that is “on cruise control”.  Without diligence, cultivating tranquility during mindfulness of breathing can induce a state of calmness that lacks the investigative characteristics necessary for the practice of vipassana, which is necessary to realize the full potential of the Seven Awakening Factors.  Peter also mentioned his preference to use the term samadhi/passadhi (concentration/tranquility) to describe the state of mind that is most supportive of vipassana practice.  This explanation was followed by some clarifying discussions about practical applications of the information regarding tranquility.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  THE TRANQUILITY AWAKENING FACTOR

Next week’s talk will focus on samadhi, the concentration Awakening Factor.