Deerhaven 2016 Fourth Night Talk

The core mental conditions to foster liberation through the practice of vipassana are called the “Seven Factors For Awakening”: mindfulness, investigation of mental phenomena, energy/effort, joy/enthusiastic interest, tranquility, concentration and equanimity.  This talk describes their functions in the process of awakening and how to cultivate them.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  BOJJHANGA-7 AWAKENING FACTORS











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.

Turning Humiliation Into Humility

This talk addresses the problems of perfectionism, which often manifest as internal narratives that are shame-based.  Various lojong mind training aphorisms were reviewed to clarify how the applications of the aphorisms can support transforming feelings of shame and humiliation into humility.  Humility can be understood as recognizing the enormous complexity of external and internal conditions that are part of life, and how this recognition can reveal the interdependence/selflessness that is a core realization of Buddhist practice.  The internal transformation from humiliation to humility is accomplished with the practice of tonglen, which reforms self-organization through compassion.

Here are the notes prepared for this presentation:   LETTING GO OF PERFECTIONISM

Next week’s topic will be the aphorism “Give Up Toxic Ego Food”.

Working Through Confusion

During this talk, the Lojong training aphorism “Confusion is to be expected as the result of craving and clinging; use the quiet mind to resolve the confusion.”  This was related to the progression from cultivating a quiet, stable state of mind, through the realization that thoughts are fabricated dependent upon prior experience, which may or may not be relevant to current circumstances.  The fabricated thoughts are noted as provisional fantasies that can be modified through the practice of vipassana to thoughts and behaviors that are more conditioned by benevolent intention.

Here are the notes prepared for this discussion:    WORKING THROUGH CONFUSION 

Next week’s topic will focus on the Lojong aphorism: “Four applications to support spiritual growth”.

Beautiful Pairs Of Mind Conditioners

During this dhamma dialogue, Peter completed the review of the 52 cetasikas (mind conditioners), in order to clarify the meaning of “calming the mind conditioners” in the Anapanasati Sutta (Mindfulness of Breathing Discourse).  The focus was on the “six beautiful pairs” of mind conditioners, that is, the pairing of mind conditioners and the level of conscious awareness which is harmonious and integrated in functioning.  These conditioners play a key role in the practice of vipassana and foster the process of awakening to direct realization of Wholesome Understanding, the first of the Wisdom characteristics of the Noble Eightfold Path.

The accompanying notes are attached just prior to this posting.