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.
Practicing for release follows the trajectory of knowing (ñāṇa) and culminates in realization (aññā). We review the aggregates with dispassion, recognizing their causal basis, and stop taking them to be self. Devotional practices support the shift from self-consciousness to trackless consciousness where self, other, future, past are no longer concocted. This is the turning towards the deathless.
The inability to feel difficult emotions causes closure of heart and body. If things haven’t been allowed to arise, they don’t pass. Using the practice of calming and insight, we calm just enough to make difficult feeling manageable and let it move through the body, then apply the skill of insight to look into just this experience without proliferation. Dispassion, clarity, and a wide attentive heart remain.
Relationship of tanha to chanda. How to arouse urgency for someone whose sankharas are geared more toward on desire? How to contemplate kamma as an object? How does wholesome “becoming” (bhava) happen?
[Citing from AN4:171] The ignorance that underlies volition conditions our ways of perceiving and being. As a result we bring stress and pressure into our bodies, hearts and minds. We train to come out of this by moderating attention and gentle persistence to everyday tasks. Communing with nature is also a resource.
Is mano essentially the same as citta sankhara;? Is there awareness besides sense consciousness? Clarification between sati/mindfulness and citta. Is mindfulness of body necessary for liberation, why? Difference between circumstances and conditions; how to “eradicate” self-view.
Referring to the Madhupiṇḍika Sutta, The Honeyball, (MN18), Ajahn Sucitto describes a two-fold training to get a handle on and curtail mental proliferation. Citta can be trained through deliberate attention to starve afflictive intentions, and to instead establish pāramī tendencies towards renunciation, clarity and patience.
The Buddha’s instructions for gladdening the mind are not to be skimmed over. Without qualities such as gladness and appreciation we approach practice through the highly conditioned, self-conscious personality. Gladdening must directly touch the citta which cannot be reached through the rational mind or personality. Ajahn suggests accessing citta through imagination and play.
The experience of the aggregates doesn’t have to lead to suffering. Addressing the form aggregate of body, Ajahn Sucitto describes ways it teaches us, purifies the heart and mind, and can act as a source of refuge for our long-lasting welfare and benefit.
Translation of vipassana bhumi chant; clarificiation around sutta passage that asserts that a female could never become a Buddha; why we chant the Refuge Mantra 9 times; questions around working with perception; skillful contemplation of independence; taking pleasure from food; how to recognize and clear blocked energy in the body
Citta takes the five khandhå as truth, placing faith in them to be reliable and satisfying. The Buddha likened them to murderous thieves, not trustworthy. Truth is found in our center, not the peripherals. This is where our liberation potential lies.