What is refuge in the Buddha? What can we focus our mindfulness on? What do we cling to? What are spiritual qualities? What are the factors of Awakening? Here are the answers.
This final teaching introduces us to Buddhist terminology not covered in the other lessons.
The Three Refuges: To take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha means to find security in mindfulness, the teachings of the Buddha and the support of the Buddhist monastic community.
The Four Focuses of Mindfulness The world we experience, and thus can be a focus of our mindfulness, can be divided into 4 categories: the physical world, the feeling tones of pleasant, unpleasant and neutral, states of the mind and the teachings of the Buddha. This final category, in this context, refers to the hindrances (the stumbling blocks) and the 7 factors of awakening.
The Five bases of clinging: When we want something, we tend to cling to the idea of having it. This causes suffering. The bases of clinging are physical form, feeling tone, perception, intentions (will) and consciousness.
Five Spiritual Qualities: These bring power and balance to our minds and are developed through meditation. They are faith, energy, mindfulness, stillness and wisdom.
The Seven Factors of Awakening: Opposite to the stumbling blocks (hindrances) are seven factors that when cultivated, lead to Awakening. These are mindfulness, investigation of natural laws, effort, rapture, calm, stillness and equanimity.
The Pali Canon: Teaching in the time of the Buddha, about 550 BC was an oral tradition as the use of script was confined to the royal courts. In the 1st Century AD, his teachings, which had been memorized by groups of monks, was written down in Pali. Thus the Buddha's teachings are called the Pali Canon.
Transcendental Dependent Origination: Whatever is, has a cause. In Dependent Origination, the Buddha described the causal chain that leads to suffering. In Transcendental Dependent Origination, the Buddha describes the causal chain that leads to Awakening, the end of suffering. In brief, the chain is suffering leads to faith which leads to joy, then rapture, then tranquility, then happiness, then stillness, then wisdom which leads to disenchantment with the sensual world, then dispassion and then liberation from suffering and finally the knowledge that one is liberated.
The 7 Factors of Awakening - short you tube talk by Bhikkhu Thanissaro
Download the PDF of the entire Lesson Eight
More resources for Lesson Eight:
Satipatthana - The Direct Path to Realization - by Bhikkhu Analyo: view book on Amazon
The Four Foundations of Mindfulness - by Bhante Gunaratana
Explorations in Awareness, Chapter 8 - by Mechele Calvert (in CTBC's library)
The Pali Canon - The Word of the Buddha