Feelings And Perceptions

This talk continues the exploration of the Abhidhamma, Buddhist psychology, focused on the first two of the 52 cetasikas (categories of mental function), vedana (feelings) and sanna (perceptions).  These factors provide a bridge between sensory stimulation and the way the mind interprets and creates meaningful self-states.   The purpose of Abhidhamma study is to provide conceptual support for the application of mindfulness in the process of awakening.  The initial explanation is followed by lively discussion among those present regarding how to make best use of this information.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  feelings-and-perceptions-bridging-sensations-and-the-mind

Next week’s discussion will describe the “Universal Cetasikas”, whose function, like feeling and perception, operates in every moment of consciousness.

Mindfulness Of Feelings As Feelings

During this dialogue, Peter began to discuss the second Foundation of Mindfulness, vedanupassana (mindfulness of feelings).  He talked of how feelings are not emotions as we might describe them in the West, but rather what in psychological terms is affect, the pull towards pleasant experience or away from unpleasant experience.  Feelings are the bridge between physical sensations and the mental creations of meaning and self-organization we experience.  He read a translation of the second foundation, and then led a brief guided meditation that illustrates concretely what to notice as a feeling, a perception and the mental formations that create what the Buddha called “the tyranny of I, me and mine”.  This was followed by dialogues that further clarified the experiences of the guided meditation.