Reviewing Right Intention

This talk by Allie Vaknin continues an ongoing review of the Four Noble Truths, specifically focusing on a function of the Wisdom Aggregate of the Noble Eightfold Path, Right Intention.  Allie describes different manifestations of Right Intention: Renunciation of unwholesomeness, Kindness, and Compassion.  This recording includes several comments and questions posed by those participating in the group.

Next week’s talk will begin a review of the Virtue Aggregate of the Noble Eightfold Path, during which Peter will focus on Right Speech, including the value of bringing Right Intention to our internal self-talk as well as what we say interpersonally.


Reviewing Right Intention

As a review of the Noble Eightfold Path continues, Allie Vaknin provides insights about the characteristics of Right Intention: Renunciation, Kindness, and Non-Harmfulness.  During the talk, participants in the meeting are invited to provide examples of their own experiences regarding these characteristics,  personalizing the review.

Next week’s Dharma talk will include an overview of the Virtue Aggregate of the Noble Eightfold Path, along with a specific focus on Right Speech.


Reviewing the Cultivation of Wisdom

This talk continues a series of reviews of the Four Noble Truths and specifically addresses the first two elements of the Fourth Noble Truth, known as the Noble Eightfold Path–Right Understanding and Right Intention.  Each of these elements are reviewed, emphasizing how they are coordinated as “two sides of the same coin”.  In their functioning, they reveal the transitory and impersonal nature of experience, and how dukkha (distress and confusion) arise when craving and clinging dominates one’s immediate experience.  Right Understanding reduces the potency of clinging, and Right Intention diminishes the potency of craving, the two conditions in the mind that produce dukkha.  Suggestions are provided to foster the contemplative skills that will lead to Wisdom and Awakening, first on a mundane level and ultimately, the realization of Nirvana.  Future talks will review the remaining elements of the Noble Eightfold Path, found in the Virtue and Mental Discipline aggregates.

There is a guided contemplation found in this site’s Audio archive entitled “Guided Cultivating Wisdom Contemplation”, recorded prior to this talk, which is intended to complement the topics discussed during the talk.

Here are the notes prepared for the talk:  Reviewing Wisdom on the Noble Eightfold Path

The next talk will focus on the first element of the Virtue Aggregate, Right Speech.


Understanding Wisdom

This talk explores the crucial Buddhist concept of Wisdom.  In the Noble Eightfold Path, Wisdom represents two qualities: Right Understanding and Right Intention.  Mastering these two qualities is the goal of the fundamental path towards Awakening.  Peter emphasized how Right Understanding manifests as awareness free from the five hindrances and Right Intention manifests as lovingkindness, compassion and joyful appreciation of others.  When Wisdom is fully realized, there is direct experiential knowledge of the three characteristics of reality: impermanence, the absence of an enduring and autonomous self, and the distress and confusion that results from the process of craving and clinging.  This awareness leads to the fulfillment of the Noble Eightfold Path, which is full realization of Samma Nanna (pronounced ny-nah), direct knowledge of reality, and Samma Sankappa, liberation/Nirvana.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Understanding Wisdom


Working With Unpredictability

This talk focuses on the lojong commitment “Don’t Rely On Consistency”, which emphasizes how social norms put pressure on individuals to conform, even when such conformity violates the Buddhist principle of benevolent intention.  One example would be the pressure to conform with materialistic drives regarding the upcoming holiday season–the perfect party, the perfect gift, etc.  Another example is the conformity of ethnic prejudice, that is, the culturally conditioned feeling of aversion around someone who looks Muslim.

The discussion also focused on the struggle of individuals to conform to their own conditioned expectations of themselves, and the frustration experienced when one doesn’t meet a standard of performance.

During the discussions, Peter repeatedly referred back to aphorisms discussed in prior meetings, such as being a “child of illusion” and the importance of daily meditation practice to build the capacity to be mindful and nonreactive to cultural pressures that conflict with benevolent intention.

Here are the notes for this discussion:  Working With Unpredictability