The Wholesome Mind Conditioners Part 1 March 13 2019

The presentation title of this talk is “Starving the Demons, Feeding the Angels”, as part of the Anapanasati Sutta focused on “calming the mind conditioners”.    Peter mentioned that during the first years of his vipassana practice he was “warding off the demons” and then began “feeding the angels”, that is, the wholesome mind conditioners.  This discussion covers the first of the Wholesome Cetasikas: Confidence, Mindfulness, Moral Shame, Fear of Blame, Non-Attachment, Non-Aversion and Equanimity.  These mind conditioners combine with the Universal Cetasikas: Feelings, Perceptions, Contact, Volition, Concentration, Vitality and Attention in every moment of self-organizing processes.  They are often combined with the Occasional Cetasikas: Bringing attention to a focal point, Sustaining attention, Determination, Energy, Enthusiasm and Zeal.

Peter reviewed these mind conditioning factors, emphasizing that the ability to mindfully note the presence of them clearly as details of perception increases the ability to deconstruct the Wrong View of an enduring and autonomous self; the practice of vipassana incorporates these conditioners at high levels of insight, manifesting as liberation from dukkha, distress and confusion.

This was followed by discussion regarding how to use mindfulness of breathing practice to facilitate this investigation.

Here are the notes prepared for this discussion:  WHOLESOME-MIND-CONDITIONERS

Next week’s discussion will explore the “Beautiful Pairs” of cetasikas, which are not universal and manifest as the result of increasingly activating the Universal Wholesome Cetasikas to a high level of functioning.  Peter regards them as the results of intensive and persistent application of mindfulness meditation, most likely experienced first on a one-week or longer residential retreat.



Universal Wholesome Mind Conditioners

This is the first of two discussions about the wholesome cetasikas, the mind conditioners that foster the process of awakening.  The seven factors are confidence, mindfulness, wholesome conscience, fear of consequences (respect for karma), non-attachment, non-aversion (lovingkindness), and equanimity.  Peter described the process of identifying and cultivating these factors as “feeding the angels”.

During the discussion, Peter encouraged participants to develop the ability to quickly identify each mind conditioner as another way to see the impersonality of life experience, that is, that there are moments of awareness of the associated mind conditioners, not a separate, enduring self.

These conditioners are essential elements in the practice of vipassana, developing the process of awakening.  Next week’s discussion will investigate the remaining wholesome conditioners, especially those 12 called “the beautiful pairs”.

The notes for this discussion are found in the next posting.