As a monk, I bring a strong commitment, along with the renunciate flavor, to the classic Buddhist teachings. I play with ideas, with humor and a current way of expressing the teachings, but I don't dilute them.
Sitting in a field of fifty to eighty people really starts my mind sparking. Since I don't prepare my talks ahead of time, I find myself listening to what I'm saying along with everyone else. This leaves a lot of room for the Dhamma to come up. Just having eighty people listening to me is enough to engage me, stimulate me, and create a nice flow of energy. The actual process of teaching evokes ideas that even I did not realize were being held somewhere in my mind.
Different teaching situations offer their own unique value. In retreat, you are able to build a cohesive and comprehensive body of the teachings. When people are not on retreat and come for one session, it opens a different window. They are more spontaneous and I'm given the chance to contact them in ways that are closer to their "daily-life mind." This brings up surprises and interesting opportunities for me to learn even more.
I'm continually struck by how important it is to establish a foundation of morality, commitment, and a sense of personal values for the Vipassana teachings to rest upon. Personal values have to be more than ideas. They have to actually work for us, to be genuinely felt in our lives. We can't bluff our way into insight. The investigative path is an intimate experience that empowers our individuality in a way that is not egocentric. Vipassana encourages transpersonal individuality rather than ego enhancement. It allow for a spacious authenticity to replace a defended personality.
There are 3 kinds of wisdom: discernment, skillful means and realization. Walking meditation and appropriate mindfulness are skillful means for cultivation. Together they bring around a stewarding akin to that of the sheepdog that moves within the flock, not outside it. This results in the deep harmony of samādhi.
A guided meditation through the Ānāpānasati sutta. Establishing a comfortable, upright posture, incline awareness toward direct experience of the body. Sustain appropriate mindfulness and citta will sensitize to the qualities we call 'body’. This exercise resets the mind, which is then gladdened, steadied and cleared so that insight can develop.
Samādhi is entered into dependent on the ripening of other factors. It gives us a place to stand outside of the personal perspective. The process of stepping out requires meeting the painful and unresolved in the body, then calming and soothing the heart.
Mindfulness is an empowered awareness that exerts authority over dukkha. Mindfulness doesn’t contract or become agitated by it. Holding steady and curtailing proliferation, it provides the proper laboratory within which wisdom can arise.
An important theme in mind cultivation is to relieve pressure – mental, emotional, physical. This is done through moderating the quality of ground and space. When these are sensed through the body, citta picks up their signs and relaxes its own pressure.
Energy has to be cultivated as a resource for practice. This process has three stages: gathering, specific application, and the strength that can release obstacles. The thinking mind uses energy but cannot generate it; energy is generated in the heart (citta) and in the body. Apply energy to empty out the negative and unskillful – the good and bright will arise on its own.
Sati – mindfulness – is only mentioned once in the Ānāpānasati sutta. ‘Directly feeling and knowing’ – pajānati – is the mode of practice. When we’ve attuned to this, we move to ‘training’. This phase of ānāpānasati begins with training in deeper sensitivity of the entire body.
Wisdom is the know-how faculty that discerns suffering and its end. It knows how the 3 intelligences (verbal, emotional, bodily) can work together to bring about the stilling of saṇkhāras. From it noble knowledge – realization – arises.