Review of Four Foundations

This talk begins an in-depth review of the Satipatthana Sutta, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse.  Analayo’s book “Satipatthana–The Direct Path To Realization” will be a primary resource for the series, supplemented by observations drawn from contemporary neuroscientific and psychological research that validate what is in the sutta.  This discussion focuses on the Definitions relating to what Analayo calls the satipatthana refraincontemplation, diligence, clear awareness, mindfulness and freedom from distress and confusion regarding the world.  These terms are repeated throughout the Sutta in each of the Four Foundations.  There was discussion after the presentation regarding how to use the elements of the refrain to address sadness while meditating.

There is a guided meditation entitled “Guided Four Foundations Meditation” in the Archives that was presented previous to this talk.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  What Is Satipatthana

Next week’s topic will be the importance of mindfulness of breathing to cultivate the four foundations.

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Overcoming Skeptical Doubt July 11 2018

This is the last of a series of talks focusing on how to identify and overcome the five hindrances.  Skeptical doubt is the quality of indecisiveness regarding whether one’s understanding and practice of Buddhism is accurate or actually working.  The antidote for skeptical doubt is confidence tempered by investigation of how the mind is creating subjective reality.  This confidence is fostered by study of Buddhist teachings and commentaries, but must be confirmed by one’s own direct experience, otherwise the confidence may be due to craving and clinging to erroneous perceptions and beliefs.  Rigorous daily practice of mindfulness of breathing meditation provides the necessary elements of internal inquiry to overcome doubt.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  OVERCOMING SKEPTICAL DOUBT

Next week’s talk will focus on what the teachings of the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness provide for understanding the Five Aggregates that provide a functional selfing process.

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Overcoming Restlessness And Worry July 4 2018

This talk is part of a series exploring the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, specifically the nature of the hindrance Restlessness and Worry.  During the talk, the essential characteristics of the hindrance, that is, instability of focus caused by restlessness (related to craving for pleasantness and to avoid unpleasantness) and the repetitive nature of worrying (related to clinging to a repetitive thought of regret or anticipated disaster).  Peter described how mindfulness of breathing meditation reduces the general level of restlessness in the mind, manifested as samadhi/passadhi (stability of focus/inner tranquility), which enables the ability to see worrisome thoughts as just phenomena of one’s personal history and not certainly a valid line of thought to pursue.  This was followed by discussion by those present, who talked about their personal experiences regarding overcoming restlessness and worry.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  OVERCOMING RESTLESSNESS AND WORRY

Next week’s discussion will investigate the hindrance of Skeptical Doubt.

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Overcoming Sloth And Torpor June 27 2018

This talk is a continuation of several focused on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness Discourse, in particular, the part of the Fourth Foundation describing how to identify and overcome the Five Hindrances.  In this case, the hindrance is thina/middha, sloth and torpor.  This quality of mind is overly sedated, drowsy and lacking in sufficient energy to investigate emerging self-state organizations.  The antidote for sloth and torpor involves a more energetic application of the intention to bring focused attention to the breath sensations and maintain this focus persistently.  When this strategy is insufficient, other useful remedies found in the traditional teachings were described.  Peter emphasized that, when one participates in a retreat lasting at least a week, there comes a period of time when awareness “wakes up”, becoming more alert, manageable and sensitized to mental processes.  This insight reveals how often our everyday consciousness is impaired by “subtle dullness”, such as when daydreaming.  This was accompanied by discussion regarding how this hindrance affects various people attending the talk.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  OVERCOMING SLOTH AND TORPOR

The topic of next week’s talk will be overcoming restlessness and worry.

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Overcoming Sense Desire June 6 2018

The talk explored the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, with specific emphasis on being mindful of what triggers sense desire, how it operates in the brain and what can be done to overcome this hindrance to mental clarity and tranquility.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk: Overcoming Sense Desire

Next week’s talk will be given by Robert Lockridge from the Orlando Zen Center.  Upon returning, Peter will continue exploring overcoming the hindrances, focusing on aversion and ill-will.

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