Mar 2: Tonight we listened to Tahn Nisabho's discussion of the second tetrad of the Anapanasati Sutta
Mar 5: Since it has been a couple of years since we did a survey of what Dhamma topics were important for people, we redid the exercise this morning. Each person said what brought them to the teachings of the Buddha, what benefits they had already received and what they were still working on, what they wished to hear Dhamma talks on. The suggested topics included:
- inspiration to sit on the cushion, not just read about the practice
- dealing with feelings of worthiness and regret at the time of retirement
- factors of enlightenment (Ayya Santacitta's retreat on this topic in nine parts)
- Right Effort (Right Effort)
- letting go/dealing with attachment
- how to align the Eightfold Path with lay life
- death and dying
- walking meditation
Several people mentioned the importance of metta in their lives. Bhante Sujato has a 10 part series on metta that is very helpful. Look for the links at the bottom of the essay.
Dhamma talks will be offered on the above topics over the next year. The given links are if you'd like a head start on some of the topics.
Mar 9: For the past two Tuesdays we've listened to Tahn Nisabho discussing the first two tetrads of the Anapanasati Sutta. So tonight Sanghamitta gave a talk on the third tetrad based on Buddhadasa Bhikkhu's Dhamma book. Here is the third tetrad and explanatory notes:
9. One trains oneself: “E̬xperiencing the mind, I̬ breathe in. E̬xperiencing the mind, I̬ breathe out.”
10. One trains oneself: “Gladdening the mind, I̬ breathe in. Gladdening the mind, I̬ breathe out.”
11. One trains oneself: “Stilling the mind, I̬ breathe in. Stilling the mind, I̬ breathe out.”
12. One trains oneself: “Liberating the mind, I̬ breathe in. Liberating the mind, I̬ breathe out.”
Step 9 - experiencing the mind refers not to the thoughts in the mind but to the background state of the mind. The Buddha gives a list of these states in the Satipatthana Sutta:
- is wanting/desire present or absent? Feel what it's presence/absence is like.
- is there dislike/ill will present or not? Feel what it's presence/absence is like.
- is there confusion/delusion present or not? Delusion means to feel infatuated with something due to not knowing that thing as it really is. eg. When we are doubtful about something we cannot help but think about it. Not knowing what is wrong or right, skillful or unskillful. Feel what it's presence/absence is like.
Bhikkhu Buddhadasa says we can assess the presence of these three states by:
- a feeling of pulling in, gathering towards, hugging, holding for wanting
- a feeling of pushing away, knocking away for dislike
- a feeling of running around in circles for confusion
Other mind states:
- distracted, unable to rest or undistracted? Feel what it's presence/absence is like.
- usual state or superior/exalted state i.e. feeling better than usual, more satisfied. Feel what it's presence/absence is like.
- surpassable or unsurpassable i.e. can't get any better. Feel what this is like.
- still or unstill. Feel what this is like.
- liberated or unliberated (free of attachments. Not clinging to anything.)
Step 10 - gladdening the mind. To make the mind joyful, delighted, content. Joy comes from contentment. Feel how content you are this moment. Feel the joy that comes from that. Can feel how happy you are to have found the teachings of the Buddha, how helpful they have been. Call to mind how you have used the teachings to let go of suffering.
Step 11 - stilling the mind. A still mind is focused on one object, is firm, steady, undistracted. It is pure i.e. no defilements are present. It is ready to do the work of insight. A still mind can clearly see reality.
Step 12 - liberating the mind from all attachments: sensory experiences, views, opinions, beliefs, theories, rites and rituals and a sense of me and mine.
Mar 12: Ayya Santussika gave a guided meditation and then a Dhamma talk on Right Samadhi. This was followed by a very informative Dhamma discussion that clarified exactly what is meant by investigation.
Mar 16: Friday's presentation on March 12th was so good, I wanted to share it with the Tues group. Please see March 12th for the video link.
Mar 19: Today's topic was death meditation. We listened to a very poetic talk on the subject by Ayya Medhanandi, followed by a rich discussion period. Cori attended a "Death Cafe" years ago and the menu was a series of questions to ask oneself re one's death. Once she has forwarded the list of questions I will make a link to them here.
Mar 23: Tonight we read an essay by Ajahn Sucitto on breath meditation. He emphasized whole body awareness of the breath. It was an incredible essay.
Mar 26: We discussed The Peace Treaty plus the Bernie Gurney method. The first was getting ourselves settled into a state conducive to resolve conflict and the second was a method to use Right Speech and effective listening to resolve the conflict.
Mar 30: We listened to Tahn Nisabho's final talk on Anapanasati.