Cultivating Jhana

Peter Carlson will be participating in a 10-day retreat soon that focuses on concentrating the mind to the level of experiencing jhana, an extraordinarily focused level of attention that is frequently described in the earliest Buddhist teachings.  He talks about previous jhana experience, the characteristics of jhana states and his preparation for this immersive experience.  After he returns from the retreat, he will review the experience on November 8.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  CULTIVATING JHANA


2018 Deerhaven Second Night Talk:Understanding And Overcoming Dukkha

During this talk, Peter described dukkha as distress and confusion rather than the traditional term suffering, as he believes the alternate terms are more specifically targeted on craving (distress) and clinging (confusion), the causes of dukkha.  The development of aiming and sustaining attention on breath awareness is the primary skill to be cultivated in this effort.  He described the Five Hindrances in their characteristics, function and antidotes, with mindfulness of breathing leading the way.  The result from setting aside the hindrances is the experience of Samma Samadhi, Right Concentration, an element of the Noble Eightfold Path.  This was followed by a question and answer period to address the day’s experience and the topic of this talk.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  THE-OUT-OF-BALANCE-MIND


Mindfulness And Relationships

During this talk, the Upaddha Sutta, Half (Of The Holy Life), was quoted, (translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu).  In the sutta, the Buddha tells Ananda, his personal attendant, that relationship is a core aspect of the practice of the Four Noble Truths.  Peter related this observation to current research which demonstrates that mindfulness of breathing meditation builds strength into the neural pathways associated with secure relationship bonds.  The actual practice of attending to the breath, checking divergent thoughts and regulating emotional reactivity was explained.  Daniel Goleman’s book “Social Intelligence” was also quoted to support this approach to relationship security.  This was followed by discussion of the topic.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:   MINDFULNESS AND RELATIONSHIPS

Next week’s topic will be “What Is The Self?”, which will explore what we call “ego” from a contemporary perspective.