How Selfing Operates

This talk adds to the discussion from last week, which focused on the Five Aggregates With Clinging doctrine.  This week’s topic is paticca sammupada, typically translated as dependent origination.  Peter applies a new translation, contingent provisional emergence, which connects the ancient Buddhist doctrine to modern theories regarding the complexity of the brain’s functioning.  The twelve functions of paticca sammupada were listed and briefly reviewed to clarify how the brain creates a meaningful self organizing process relative to what external circumstantial stimulation provides.  This review was followed by discussion about the implications of this conceptual understanding for fostering a less stressful self experience.

This exploration continues next week with a further elaboration of paticca sammupada, which is regarded as a core concept on the Buddhist path towards liberation from distress and confusion.  Here are the notes prepared for this discussion:  Contingent Provisional Emergence.  Participants are encouraged to read the notes to further familiarize with the twelve functions of this concept in order to understand this complex concept more thoroughly.  Next week’s talk will “dive deeper” into the doctrine to clarify the ways it might be psychologically and spiritually beneficial.

Here is an additional .doc file that replicates the Cetasikas poster on the wall of the meditation hall, referred to during the discussion:  CETASIKAS POSTER

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.

Third Night: How The Self Is Formed, Deformed And Reformed

During this rather extensive Dhamma talk, Peter reviewed the concept of paticca sammupada, usually translated as dependent origination.  He explained why he prefers to name the process “contingent provisional emergence”.  This concept is key to the Buddhist understanding of karma, the law of cause and effect.  The formation of a momentary self-state, it’s fulfillment as a moment of “selfing” in awareness, then the dissolution of that composite of conditioning factors was described in depth.  Emphasis was placed on how important mindfulness of sense inputs is for the practice, and the critical emphasis placed on understanding the emerging self-state as provisional and the value of dispensing with unwholesome states as soon as possible.  This furthers the process of personality integration,  which is followed by nurturing wholesome states to fruition.  The concepts of craving and clinging were described, with tanha, unquenchable thirst for craving and upadana, fuel or nutriment, for clinging.  Peter described the “glue” of craving and clinging as raga, passion, heat or fire.  The antidote for raga is viraga, dispassion, or the absence of fueling the fire.  This was followed by a lively discussion of this process and it’s implications for alleviating distress.

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Benefit Of Dependent Origination

During this dialogue, Tim explored the importance of paticca sammupada, typically translated as dependent origination.  This core concept of the Buddha’s teachings describes how karma (past experience) shapes our perceptions and responses in current events, followed by our behavioral responses.  After the karmic influence is enacted, the result (called vipakka) goes back into our memory banks until new circumstances occur that have enough potency to re-enact the karma.  During the dialogue, Peter commented on how the process changed toward alleviating suffering when mindfulness monitors the emergence of the karmic influence, determines whether it’s wholesome or unwholesome, and responds accordingly to discard the unwholesome and enact wholesome actions.