During this talk Peter reviews Viriya, the Energy Awakening Factor, which, when combined with the Mindfulness and Investigation of Mental Phenomena Awakening Factors, coordinates and empowers the remaining 4 Awakening Factors. Peter talked of the manifestation of Viriya as Right Effort in the Noble Eightfold Path, with four attributes: to deny unwholesome states, support the arising of wholesome states, enabling wholesome states to reach fulfillment and prevent the future arising of unwholesome states. His review was followed by discussion of how participants can further understand and contemplate this quality of attention.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: The Energy Awakening Factor
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This contemplation focuses attention on how the energy of attention is managed in the mind’s creation of a self. During the meditation, Peter suggests how mindfulness and investigation are associated with the energy awakening factor to reduce the likelihood that attention will be captured by any of the five hindrances, then applied to activate the remaining Awakening Factors, Joy, Tranquility, Concentration and Equanimity.
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This talk reviews one of the most important of the Seven Awakening Factors, Viriya (veer-yah). It is also found in several of the many categories of Buddhist psychology: as Right Effort, as one of the Five Powers (overcoming the Hindrances) and of the Five Faculties (empowering the other Awakening Factors). Peter used the term Energy/Effort in describing this quality, suggesting it manifests as the effort to channel the energy flowing through the mind. It combines with the Awakening Factors of Mindfulness and Investigation of Mental Phenomena to direct the energy of attention; this coordination produces the other Awakening Factors of Joy, Tranquility, Concentration and Equanimity (topics to be covered in future talks). He also described different levels of effort, using his terminology: Initiating Effort, Sustaining Effort and Fulfilling Effort, relating these three to mindfulness of breathing practice. He also included adhitthana, strong determination, as another level of applied effort. This was followed by discussion among those attending regarding the application of Energy/Effort.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: ENERGY AWAKENING FACTOR
Next week’s talk will focus on the Awakening Factor of Piti, usually translated as Joy
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This talk explores Viriya Bojjhanga, translated as the Energy Awakening Factor. Peter quoted Daniel Siegel’s suggestion that “the mind… regulates the flow of energy and information”, that is, we are energy transforming organisms. In Buddhist psychology, energy is related to Right Effort of the Eightfold Path, among other beneficial categories. He suggested that the practice of mindfulness of breathing meditation channels energy away from unwholesome self-organizing processes and builds neural networks that are wholesome and mindfully channeling the energy of attention through the Seven Awakening Factors. This was followed by general group discussion of how the practice of channeling energy through mindful Right Effort brings benefit.
Here are the notes prepared for this talk: Transforming Energy Into Awakening
Next week’s topic will focus on the Awakening Factor of Joy/Enthusiastic Interest.
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In this talk, the awakening factor of energy/effort is described. Peter talked of how the universe is essentially energy, and that the sense of separation that humans struggle with is a profound, fundamental error of thinking. He described that energy is distributed throughout the body in the form of glucose, as fuel for the cells. In the brain, the activities of the mind can be observed through modern technologies such as the fMRI machine. This research shows that energy “pools” in areas of heightened neural activity. The mental dysfunctions called hindrances grow stronger when “fed” glucose. The same feeding occurs as the hindrances are diminished. In this way, mental formations can be compared to muscles, which grow stronger when exercised. Peter suggested that the struggles occurring during meditation practice are mistakenly attributed to mindfulness of breathing; in reality, mindful investigation of mental phenomena reveals that the struggle comes from how the hindrances are “energy dumps”, and that the experience of mindfulness of breathing without the hindrances is a much more “efficient” use of energy.
Here is a copy of the notes prepared for this week’s talk: ENERGY AWAKENING FACTOR
Next week’s talk will focus on the next awakening factor, Joy.