As is the custom, this evening’s talk is a review of Peter’s two week self-retreat. During the talk, he quoted from Achaan Chah: “Life brings suffering. The untrained mind turns suffering into more suffering. The trained mind turns suffering into the path that leads to the ending of suffering.” He described his practice of integrating the “noting” strategies with the “body sweep” strategies taught by S. N. Goenka. The importance of using breath awareness to stabilize the mind, then using the body sweep to nurture a “curtain” of body awareness cultivates increasing levels of dhamma vicaya, the investigation of emerging self-states. As this practice deepens, a level of internal process awareness emerges that is “just knowing” without the need for noting.
This is the last dhamma dialogue that Peter will deliver before his 3 month retreat at the Forest Refuge in Massachusetts begins on September 1. The talk reviews the history and significant teachers he sat retreats with over the last 30 years, and Peter speculates about the approach he will take during the retreat: several weeks of intensive concentration practices, then vipassana practice, including the attempt to integrate insights gained from vipassana to the practice of lojong, the Tibetan training points. With no concrete goal in mind, Peter wants to be more present in relationships at the end of the retreat. During his absence, more senior students will provide the dhamma dialogues until he returns during the first week of December.