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.
Cultivating receptive and responsive heart energies, provides an ongoing exploration. The field of body provides the best venue to experience how these energies move and to understand their characteristics.
00:00 Q1 What clings? 11;13 Q2 Laura, can you speak more about moving back and forth between the path and the world. 16:51 Q3 What is meant when a person says someone is their teacher? 19:43 A poem by Rabindranath Tagore is read. 21:00 Q4 How to skilfully help others in our lives to get them to slow down and be more present? 27:14 Q5 How to let go of regrets and uproot the self? 36:08 Q6 Please distinguish taking ownership of karma and clinging to everything else.
Opening and closing happens everywhere, even with breathing. Discharging creates space for enjoyment, spontaneity and flexibility. Eventually even energy must be relinquished, so we practice recollection of death using the brahma viharas to expand awareness, closure with no regret, the deathless.
(Questions are précised and read later into the file to protect participants’ anonymity) 00:11 Q1 I’ve felt a lot more alive and sensitive over the retreat, experiencing a lot of inwards and outwards connectivity. How does that affect the deepening of practice? And also are the experience of chi and piti related? What about after leaving the retreat, is the loss of sensitivity inevitable? 13:20 Q2 Can you say more about “the imaginal practices”? Please expand on how chanting can re-pattern emotional energy. 23:20 Q3 I’m having new meditative experiences that make me excited and even a bit fearful in seeing consciousness as impermanent. Can you advise please? 23:03 Q4 Is it automatic that samadhi will lead to discernment?
Sacred images can brighten the mind and allow helpful energies to arise. We can summon the indriya through this means. With devotional practice, we dislodge the self from its center point, revealing the energy of spiritual desire (chanda).
Questions are précised and some are read later into the file to protect participants’ anonymity. 00:00 Q1 How wide can the space of embracing you spoke of be for people (like prisoners for example) who may not have the present capacity for insight and who seem not ready to face trauma. Perhaps they will never be ready. O1:44 Q2 When and how in meditation and life, should we put boundaries around unhelpful things without a pushing away quality? 06:10 Q3 Could you say more about the relationship between the composed part and the part that’s in disaray as more important than either of the two. 8:52 Q4 Could we hear more about jealousy please and the associated difficult shame reactions. 16:09 Q5 Does any kind of volition disrupt bodily alignment or subtle bodily energies, or can the well instructed person conceive or even act without resultant misalignment?
Discernment is easily biased by the five aggregates, especially mental constructions such as uncertainty and ‘not quite right yet’. Contemplating citta we can understand suffering rather than adopt a notion of solving it.