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.
We take refuge, but we also become a refuge. The degree to which we can cultivate value, precepts and restraint, we gain an increasing sense of authority to stand against the outward pull of thought and sense desire. This strength or determination can be felt in the body. Tap into the imaginal to sense its depth.
Movement into the immaterial/vertical domain occurs through restraint, renunciation and withdrawal, but all marked by pleasure. Most supportive is a cooperative social form where other people are doing the same thing. Monasteries model this social form. Refer to D33, considered ‘Vinaya for lay people.’
The cosmos is cosmos and not chaos because of a natural order. There is an internal order too in our embodiment where the energies of ideas, thoughts and psychologies are collected in the body. But we’ve lost our embodiment, and therefore access to the moral intelligence of the body. We can regain access through enacting, remembering and recollecting.
1. How to practice last 3 of 8 precepts; recipient of one’s giving determines one’s merit – please explain; 2. how interpersonal aspect of energy affect/support one’s practice and meditation; 3. giving hand to hand vs. in disembodied ways (credit cards, etc.); 4. self consciousness around my giving’ the art of receiving has been neglected; 5. how to be with others who don’t know their own goodness
Caring for aging parents; celestial realm as metaphor or actuality; those who are spontaneously reborn; sacrifice; when I know I’m not observing precepts perfectly; meditation practice feels flat; advice for caregivers in medical field; breaking through feeling bleak about the world; subjective nature of the sacred
Presentation of the multi-layered, holistic, vertical cosmos of the suttas as compared to our flat world that only extends geographically. One can move up and down the cosmos through one’s own actions – giving, ethics, renunciation, clearing the mind of the hindrances and developing deep meditation. One learns to make things sacred; sacred meaning everything is valued, has its place and is treated with respect. A study of the Kutadanta Sutta (D5.29) as an example of how the Buddha taught engagement and movement along this vertical/immaterial domain
In meditation we practice bringing up what is pertinent, worthy of development, leading inwards. We bring things to mind that generate a locus of meaning, that generate our world. This is where we reclaim potency, value and meaning. Rather than be overwhelmed by a meaningless world we have the potential to generate a meaning world here now.
The gradual path is the essence of the Buddha’s presentation. It starts with qualities we already know – generosity, morality and renunciation. Rather than starting with meditation while sitting on the cushion, this is the movement that begins to be properly cultivated and groomed in meditation. Then our work is much more internal, to clear the mind of the 5 hindrances.
As we enter the field of practice, we have the opportunity to clear the desktop and deepen into our receptivity. We offer ourselves Dhamma dāna: the gift of time, space, permission and resources to deepen within this very embodied mind. We acknowledge what arises and lay aside what can be laid aside.