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Our text archive has over 17 million words!
Aileen, Shetland Islands
Suriyavamsa, Glasgow, UK
Ratnachuda, South London, UK
Eric, FBA Team
Kuladharini, Glasgow, UK
Vajradarshini, Valderrobres, Spain
Coleen, FBA Team
Eric, FBA Team
... for them.
Turning our attention inward, exploring our part in things, studying the self, we
can liberate ourselves from the myriad ways that we create suffering through
confusion about who we really are and what’s happening.
We can begin to find another kind of happiness through mindfulness that is wise.
Upekkha, wise emotion that is with things as they are with non-violence.
Sometimes this sounds dry and unattractive but upekkha is not indifference. I
know for myself practicing Buddhism is about becoming more alive and language
that is more evocative of that is helpful. So upekkha is emotionally rich. I like to
think in terms of passionately letting go or letting be instead of passionately
Buddhist teaching on the nature of reality always talks about experiential reality because
it’s a teaching for human beings
So mind is always of utmost importance. The mind and the objects we’re aware of
co-arise. If we’re going to be more aware of reality, of other people, of a bumble
bee or a tree of anything, we need to understand the mind and it’s part in creating
the world we perceive and live in. Our mind and our mind states create the world
we live in.
WHAT IS THE MIND? WHAT ARE WE BECOMING AWAREOF?
Handout – emphasize mind as process, sixth sense and 5 skandha view
WHAT DOES SENSITIVE TO THE MIND MEAN?
Experiencing the mind and the flavor of what’s going on and learning from that
There are traditional characteristics of mind we can notice (much as we noticed location,
duration and quality as ways into become intimate with the breath)
We know the mind through thought often
We can also know the mind directly without labeling without thought
We’ll work in both these ways (VJ leading the afternoon session and will be
helping us work with thoughts)
There are many different characteristics of the mind to contemplate, but they all
must happen naturally by themselves. We observe these characteristics a they
really exist, in the very moment of their existence. Buddhadasa, p. 80
Greed, wanting, craving (hindrance of craving for sense pleasure)
Hatred, aversion, not wanting (hindrance of ill-will)
Ignorance, not knowing whether we want or not want, confusion (hindrances of
sloth/torpor, restlessness/anxiety and doubt/indecision)
The alternative, the mind free from the kileshas of greed and hatred is upekkha
Upekkha: initially a state of rest. Can deepen. The mind poised in a collected and
deeply happy state that is unaffected by pleasure and pain. Full blown, synonymous
with Enlightenment. I think we've contacted this a bit, is my sense. The sitting
through the pain and the pleasure and the neutral feelings. Letting them be, arising
and falling in dependence upon sense contact.
We talked about rapture being contained into bliss. The process continued is bliss
contained into upekkha.
Examine these states without trying to eliminate them.
Learn what has the taste of freedom?
What has conduces to suffering?
A different way of being ethical in this practice. Not the only way, more active discipline
is also very helpful at times (e.g., a precept not to drink if we have an addictive
relationship to alcohol)
We’re letting the experience be there so we can learn from it
So there’s mindfulness and we’re taking responsibility for our mind
…”silent and non-reactive observation can at times suffice to curb unwholesomeness,
so that an application of sati can have quite active consequences.” (Analyo)
Just working in that release way, “Instead of applying specific antidotes to all the
toxins in the mind, one simply tries to stop polluting one’s mind-stream with grasping
onto afflictive thoughts and emotions.” Alan Wallace
We’re meditating and we experience craving or hatred. Some of you have already
noted that hatred can be pleasurable, craving can be pleasurable. We do them because
we love doing them. But if we stay with it we can experience the dukkha, the
suffering that deeper in those states firsthand. The dukkha of depending in a reactive
way on mental and physical stimulus which we can never totally control. So seeing
the impermanence of vedana, how it’s always changing, shows up the futility of being
buffeted around by pain and pleasure. When we aren’t so reactive from having the
stability of the breath we also can experience just letting the klesha come and go and
experience the pleasure of being without craving. The same with confusion. It can feel
pleasant in meditation to float around dreamily but then when we taste how clear the
mind can be and the deeper pleasure of that then relatively that dreamy state is marked
with unsatisfactoriness. We now know the flavor of that experience and it is delusion.
There is vedana that is contaminated by the afflictions and vedana that an arhant feels
that is free from any affliction, that is more pleasurable in an unworldly way. If we
fully experience the mind and what it’s doing and the effect of its different ways of
being we stop relying on the kileshas as coping mechanisms to make our life better.
We see that they aren’t making our life better really and when we rely on them they
don’t make life better for the world around us. So there’s a natural morality as
opposed to a conventional morality that can arise based on experience. Over time we
can love being selfless or interconnected more than being self centered and self
obsessed (this is the direction of metta practice).
Our mind states condition future feeling. In Mind and Its Function Geshe Rabten
writes that the function of feeling is to fully experience the ripening effects of our
“We can change feelings that arise in various ways by changing the conditions that
give rise to them – opening a window when we’re hot, to take the simplest of
examples. But there is a certain kind of painful feeling against which we can do
nothing to protect ourselves: the feelings that arise as a result of our past unskillful
karma. These must simply be borne, although of course we can protect ourselves from
future pain by making the effort to create fresh positive karma, even while we are
experiencing pain.” Sangharakshita
We can be grateful to the feeling of pain to help us become more skillful and learn
how not to repeat unhealthy patterns
Much like we can be grateful for the nerves that let us know when our fingers are
being burned by the candle wax from the offering candles!
Walking begins to change. Less structured noticing the mind with some activity.
And you may want to try meditating with your eyes open.
The practice being less quietistic and withdrawing of senses and more one of taking
mindfulness into everything.
This morning we’ll continue our work
We’re going to turn around and look right at distraction
So hindrances are manifestations of the kileshas and they happen not just in
meditation but throughout our day
So instead of thinking of them as stopping us from meditation we’re going to
meditate with them
In Mind and Its functions by Geshe Rabten, he says that distraction is a state of mind
in which the mind has been led away from the object of concentration by attachment,
hatred or bewilderment. So distraction is a manifestation of the kileshas and studying
distraction itself we can learn a bit about the kileshas.