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.
The 5 indriya are spiritual faculties that become activated by feeling them in the body. Starting with faith –the pivotal faculty for coming out of the personal and sensory realm – and culminating in wisdom – the ability to discern skillful from unskillful, non-stress from stress – these 5 indriya work to release the mind from the pressure of identity.
Placing one’s attention carefully and repeatedly into embodiment, listen to what manifests as body. Make the shift from conceiving of body to felt knowledge, from regarding body to being body. Clearing away what’s not needed and inviting what’s important, let the body speak and hear itself.
We’re endowed with 3 kinds of intelligence: bodily, heart and verbal/thinking. The priority given to the thinking mind has numbed and shut down the body and heart. We train in direct knowing and primary sympathy to reawaken our deep intelligences.
Scanning over the body we are appropriately sensitive, naming and lingering with awareness. There’s a certain sensitive touch and the body responds with warmth and subtle energy. It’s a matter of placing attention with the right intention.
Notice what one’s citta stores and brings out at potent moments. We tend to store the negative, and that which is most familiar becomes myself. Why not store the good? Store up qualities of the brahmavihāras – goodwill, compassion, gladness & equanimity – as energy in the body. These energetic effects are a resource for your long-lasting welfare.
Cultivate the quality of intention rather than objects of attention. Intention is broader, it encompasses everything. Correct intention neither holds on, nor resists. The quality of anukampā – primary sympathy – from which mettā arises. Puja acts as an emblem, it resonates meanings that open the heart. Beyond the physical body or personal state, rise up to the sign of the beautiful, worthy, admirable and the good.
A guided meditation to establish a balanced upright posture upon which the rest of the body can relax and let go. It may not do so quickly, so be patient with how the body actually is, always attending with a mind of sympathy and goodwill.
Attention forms a focus that is by definition, only a part of the whole field (especially the visual focus). So if a ‘watchful’ focus is making your practice tense and try, relax attention and cultivate intention – it covers it all. Intention has a certain motivation, it steers attention. The intention for freedom from stress and pain is what citta is looking for.
Referring to the text, see what’s not there – there’s no mention of one-pointed attention. This is a common misunderstanding. Consider instead a one-pointed intention, to bear in mind, and return again and again to the process of breathing.
Fabricated formations, such as clock time, are useful for some things but not for liberation. Use the ritual of puja to transcend circumstantial reality; recognize there is a place in citta to stand outside of self – in faith and devotion. The belief that an end to suffering is possible is the initiator of Dhamma practice. Where there is no faith there is no practice.