Setting Aside Skeptical Doubt

This talk reviews the characteristics of the fifth of the Five Hindrances, Skeptical Doubt: doubt, uncertainty regarding action, along with hesitation and conflicted thoughts.  The talk also reviews the potential influence of skeptical doubt in reference to the other hindrances: doubt about the negative consequences of Sense Desire, about the harm of resistance and hostility that comes from Aversion and Ill-will, regarding the loss of mental clarity associated with Sloth and Torpor, or the disruption that results from Restlessness and Worry.  The talk includes various suggestions for setting aside Skeptical Doubt.  There is an accompanying recording posted: “Guided Skeptical Doubt Contemplation”, found in the archives.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Setting Aside Skeptical Doubt

The topic for next week is an overview of the next contemplation in the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, the Five Aggregates of Clinging.


Setting Aside Skeptical Doubt May 13 2020

During this talk, Peter described the nature of one of the Five Hindrances, vicikiccha, translated as skeptical doubt.  This hindrance interferes with the ability to cultivate confidence in the principles and practices of Buddhism, either by doubting the concepts or one’s ability to master the practices involved.  During the talk various tactics for understanding, investigating and setting aside skeptical doubt were reviewed.  The review was followed by discussion among those participating in the Zoom meeting about the topic.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Setting Aside Skeptical Doubt

Next week’s practice will review another category of concepts and practices found in the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, the Six Sense Bases.


Resolving Skeptical Doubt

During this talk, the hindrance of skeptical doubt was discussed, using the Buddhist concept of panca bala, the five powers or five faculties to describe the dynamic balancing of energy/tranquility and faith/discernment through ongoing mindfulness practice.  This was followed by dialogue to make the abstract principles more concretely understood.  Next week’s topic will be exploring the transition from overcoming the hindrances to cultivating wisdom.

Second Night: Five Hindrances

Pursuing the development of a more integrated personality prior to spiritual transcendence, Peter described sentient beings as “energy transformation” beings, emphasizing that the five hindrances (sense desire, aversion and ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and skeptical doubt) are “energy dumps”.  The first steps on the path involve developing the ability to focus attention on breath awareness to concentrate and calm the mind, combined with the ability to be mindful of distractions away from breath awareness and to turn attention away from the distractions and back to the breath.  Each hindrance was described as to characteristics and impact on the body/mind processes.  Classical antidotes for the hindrances were also described.  The freed up energy from ongoing breath awareness can then be available for cultivating vipassana, which is the ability to note the emergence, fulfillment, and dissolution of self states, in order to further personality integration.

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