Updated: Aug 31
Aug 2: We listened to a Dhamma talk on Dependent Origination by Ajahn Brahmali. In summary, the 12 steps of Dependent Origination are:
Precursor: 5 Hindrances
- not understanding reality as it really is
- a distortion of reality
2. Making Kamma
- based on our distortion we take intentional actions
- once they become habit energy, they feel unconscious.....but are still considered intentional
- this leads to rebirth in a certain realm
3. Consciousness arises in the new realm
4. Mind and body
5. Six senses
- we experience the world through our senses
7. Feeling tone
- pleasant, unpleasant, neutral
9. Taking up (grasping, clinging)
- due to grasping we take intentional actions i.e. make kamma which results in us living in a particular way
- according to the kamma we made
Aug 5: Two short Dhamma talks were given to expand on some of the qualities mentioned in The Quick Way to Awakening talk given on July 15 and 22, 2022. The first talk was a recording by Bhikkhu Thanissaro on criticism. The second talk was on purification of unskilful actions, speech and thoughts by using the four R's: regret, reliance, remedy and resolve.
Aug 9: Tonight we did a reading on using the 12 steps of Dependent Origination to examine our emotional reactions.
Aug 12: We started our session with a reading of the Paramis (The Ten Perfections) by Ajahn Sucitto. The Dhamma talk was by Ajahn Brahm on Kindness, Generosity and Forgiveness. In the Q+A session we had an animated discussion of Jungian Dream Interpretation as a way to let go of unskillful conditioning. One participant found the work of Robert Johnson helpful.
The Ten Perfections (Paramis)
Generosity/Sharing (dana): Recognizing the joy of sharing and acknowledging that we all come into this world subject to pain, sorrow, sickness and death, I aspire to offer what I can in terms of resources, hospitality, healing and wise advice.
Morality/Integrity (sila): Recognizing the trust that develops from conscientiousness and fellow-feeling, I aspire to cultivate actions of body speech and mind that turn away from hostility and harshness and that cut off greed and manipulative behaviour.
Renunciation/Values-based Simplicity (nekkhamma): Recognizing the ease that arises with modesty and contentment, I aspire to relinquish needless acquisition and an imbalanced use of material resources.
Clarity/Wisdom (pañña): Recognizing the skill of clarity, I aspire to handle my perspectives with awareness and careful reflection, and thereby arrive at an unbiased understanding.
Energy (viriya): Recognizing my capacity for vigour, or for distraction or laziness, I aspire to use my energy for my long-term benefit and for the welfare of others.
Patience/Tolerance (khanti): Recognizing the value of patience and perseverance, I aspire to let go of getting my own way, cutting corners and being narrow-minded.
Truthfulness (sacca): Recognizing the wise relationships that can be established through my own veracity and through the honesty of others, I aspire to free my mind from biased perspectives and devious behaviour.
Resolution (adhitthāna): Recognizing the potency of a firm heart, I aspire to hold intentions that are enriching, and to ward off vacillation on one hand and forceful goal-seeking on the other.
Goodwill (mettā): Recognizing the happiness of a warm heart, I aspire to cultivate empathy and compassion. Resisting mind states based on fault-finding of myself or others, I will encourage goodwill rather than foster ideals of perfection.
Equanimity/Stability of Heart (upekkhā): Recognizing the peace of even-minded acceptance, I aspire to let sickness and health, blame and praise, failure and accomplishment flow through my awareness without getting distracted by them.
(from Buddha Nature, Human Nature, Amaravati Publications, 2019)
Aug 16: Tonight we shared our homework of using the 12 steps of Dependent Origination to look at a craving in our lives.
Aug. 19: This morning we listened to a dhamma talk by Ajahn Sona on the hindrances.
Aug 23: Tonight we went over the Buddha's teachings on how to overcome drowsiness. And then we looked at the results of a word search in the Nikayas for the word contentment.
Antidotes to Drowsiness
1. Don't keep attending to the object of meditation that led to your drowsiness.
2. Ponder, examine and mentally inspect the Dhamma.
3. Recite in detail the Dhamma as you have heard and learned it.
4. Pull both ears and rub your limbs.
5. Get up, rub your eyes with water, look around, look up at the stars.
6. Perceive light.
7. Walk back and forth, aware of what is in front and behind you but with your sense faculties drawn in.
8. Lie down on your right side, one foot overlapping the other, mindful and clearly comprehending and note in your mind the idea of rising. When you awaken get up quickly, thinking, "I will not be intent on the pleasure of rest, sloth and sleep".
9. (Added by a group member) Focus on the in breath, not the out breath as the in breath is more energizing.
(From a search of the word contentment on suttacentral.net. So these teachings from the Buddha are found scattered throughout all the Nikayas)
Contentment brings happiness.
Greed doesn't give rise to contentment.
Contentment doesn't give rise to greed.
Three sources give rise to deeds (actions): greed, hatred and delusion.
Any deeds arising from these sources are unskilful, blameworthy, result in suffering and lead to the creation of more deeds.
Three other sources give rise to deeds: contentment, love and understanding. Any deed from these is skilful, blameless, results in happiness and leads to the cessation of more deeds.
Having many wishes is very harmful. Lack of contentment is very harmful.
A meditator practicing mindfulness of breathing, who has five things, will soon Awaken:
1. Has few requirements and duties and is unburden-some and contented with life's necessities.
2. Eats little....not devoted to filling their stomach.
3. Are rarely drowsy....dedicated to wakefulness.
4. They talk about fewness of wishes, contentment, seclusion, keeping one's distance, arousing energy, ethics, samadhi, wisdom and freedom (Awakening).
5. They review the extent of their mind's freedom.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth.
The Four Footprints of the Buddha:
3. Right Mindfulness
4. Right Samadhi
"Meditators, I do not see a single thing that gives rise to unskilful qualities or makes skilful qualities decline like having too many wishes.
When you're contented skilful qualities arise and unskilful qualities decline......and this is supported by yoniso manasikara and good friends."
Respect and humility, contentment and gratitude and timely listening to the Dhamma, this is the highest blessing.
"I will teach you what is good: Avoid killing living creatures, stealing, sexual misconduct, avoid speech that is false, divisive, harsh, nonsensical, contentment, metta, Right View.
When one is content with what is blameless, trifling, easy to find they don't get upset and they're not obstructed anywhere.
Contentment = satisfaction. One who is content and satisfied doesn't kill living beings, steal, commit adultery, lie or encourage others to do so.
Things are impermanent. Since we can't control this we can't truly call things mine. Truly seeing this is not mine, I am not this, this is not myself, the mind becomes dispassionate, it doesn't grasp so is free of defilements. The mind being freed is stable. Being stable it's content. Being content one is not anxious. Not being anxious, one Awakens.
Aug 26: This morning we read and discussed Sutta #21 in the Majjhima NIkaya, "Two Kinds of Thoughts".
Two Kinds of Thoughts
Sensual Desire Renunciation
Ill-will Non ill-will (metta)
Cruelty Non cruelty (compassion)
Leads to my own affliction
Leads to the affliction of others
Leads to the affliction of both
This does not lead to my own affliction
This does not lead to the affliction of others
This does not lead to the affliction of both
Whatever a person thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of their mind
With excessive thinking and pondering I disturb my mind from stillness.
Aug 30: Tonight we read from Bhikkhu Thanissaro's latest book, "Along the Way". This is an exploration of the Noble Eightfold Path. We read chapter three which is about how to be an effective student of the Dhamma.