Mindful Clear Comprehension March 4 2020

This talk is part of the review of part of the First Foundation of Mindfulness, Mindfulness of the Body, specifically sati sampajanna, mindful clear comprehension.  Peter read quotes from the Satipatthana Sutta  regarding how a meditator is to apply mindfulness in all postures and activities and then reviewed the Four Clear Comprehensions from the commentaries: (1) Worthy goal (2) Suitable means (3) Minding the domain (4) Inclining towards Awakening.  This was presented as a useful protocol for mundane decision making as well as spiritual development (for more information on mundane decisions search “decision-making” on Wikipedia).  This topic seems timely as we are confronted with several challenges currently such as the covid-19 (coronavirus) disease, the political choices of this year, as well as choices regarding lifestyle as current weather anomalies such as unusual heat, rain, or severe storms challenge our customary lifestyle routines.  How can this decision making process be coordinated with mindfulness of breathing training to benefit how we live our daily life routines?  This explanation was followed by discussion among those attending regarding how this might affect their lives.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Mindful Clear Comprehension

Next week Peter and a number of the members of our group will be on retreat, so there will be no dharma talk on Wednesday evening; folks are welcome to come to the site and meditate between 7-9 PM that day (please be sure to turn off the lights and close the fence gate upon leaving–we don’t want our puppy to roam about the neighborhood!).  The dharma talks from the retreat will be recorded and posted through the Audio page on the website after the retreat.  The topic for the next talk on March 18 will be a review of the retreat experience by those attending the retreat, a custom of our community.


Clear Comprehension For Stress Management September 4 2019

Sati Sampajanna (Mindful Clear Comprehension) is a core concept and practice regarding mindfulness of the body in the Satipatthana Sutta, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse.  It may not be clearly understood that in the Buddhist commentaries on Sati Sampajanna describe the “four clear comprehensions” as a way of living using this formula for setting goals and reaching them, determining: 1-a worthy goal; 2-suitable means for attaining this goal; 3-mindful awareness of the application of suitable means while making appropriate adaptations when circumstances change, and 4- weaving these comprehensive practices into the process of Awakening.  During this talk Peter described these four practices in detail and the discussion that followed clarified how these practices and be beneficially applied to the complexities and stresses of contemporary life–a new sort of “decision tree” that is self-aware and capable of assessing and adapting to the changing circumstances and uncertainties we all are confronted with.

This talk is meant to provide a framework for upcoming discussions of the various stressful aspects of contemporary life experiences such as managing strong consumerist conditioning, adapting to global warming, being able to have working relationships with others whose beliefs may counter one’s own, etc.  The disciplined application of the Four Clear Comprehensions can be a useful strategy for a less stressful life, providing a foundation for deeper liberation from dukkha.

Apologies for the quality of the recording–technical difficulties necessitated the use of a backup recording that is not of the same clarity.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Understanding Clear Comprehension


Understanding Clear Comprehension

The focus of this talk continues to explore the Satipatthana Sutta, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse, more specifically the First Foundation, Mindfulness of the Body.  Sati Sampajanna (sah-tee sahm-pah-jahn-yah) is typically translated as Mindful Clear Comprehension, and is particularly focused on awareness of how we move through the day.  This practice focuses on cultivating mindful awareness of the intentionality of everyday thoughts and behaviors.  The relatively simple investigation of intentions associated with behavior trains the mind to be more alert and appropriately responsive the the intentionality accompanying each thought as regards Right Action, part of the Noble Eightfold Path.

The commentaries about sati sampajanna describe four considerations regarding this practice:  suitability of purpose, suitability of means for achieving the intended purpose, mindfully monitoring the process of activating the suitable means and how this activity will be conducive to realizing the process of Awakening.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Understanding Clear Comprehension


Four Clear Comprehensions

This talk focused on a commentarial addition to the Mindful Comprehension stanzas of the Satipatthana Sutta, (sati sampajanna), which emphasize integrating mindfulness into all activities, walking, eating, dressing, and other behavioral routines of daily life.  The commentary further divides the practice into four functions for effective decision making: determining a worthy goal, cultivating the suitable means for realizing that goal, mindfully monitoring the suitable means, and maintaining focus on understanding the reality of impermanence (anicca), the distress and confusion that is the result of craving and clinging (dukkha), and the absence of an enduring, autonomous and in-control self (anatta).  This explanation was followed by group discussion related to how to apply these decision making functions in daily life.

Here are the notes prepared for this discussion:  Four Applications Of Clear Comprehension


Mindfulness As An Awakening Factor

During this dharma dialogue, the awakening factor of mindfulness was described.  Peter referred to a Wikipedia definition of metacognition, a psychological term developed without reference to Buddhist psychology, that seems to be synonymous with mindfulness.  The neurological research describing which parts of the brain activated in the process of mindful awareness was described as well.  Following this, there was a brief guided meditation to emphasize recognition of the present function of mindfulness of the body as a stable point of reference supporting vipassana practice.

Here is the .doc file of the notes prepared for this week’s discussion:  SATI As A Factor For Awakening

Next week’s discussion will explore dhamma vicaya bojjhanga, the awakening factor for the investigation of mental phenomena.