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.
This is a practice that bears great fruit. In the long run it makes you into a more wakeful, less tense person. Take some time to recollect it. Put aside what you don’t need and focus on what’s absolutely essential – presence and awareness. In this very body and mind you have the perfect system to practice, and to develop the boundless heart.
00:13 Working with tinnitus; 03:06 ‘sensing a way home to what I am’; 04:42 Becoming more comfortable with non-doing; 06:57 Mention not-self/anattā in the suttas; 11:26 Focusing on one point with breathing; 14:45 Feeling I should be doing something; 16:12 Building more energy in the practice as one ages; 22:32 Feeling angst about ending of the retreat; 23:15 Recollecting one’s virtues as preparation for death; 25:01 Having lost our ability to express open steady presence; 26:13 Refusing to identify with someone or some movement; 27:10 Aches in my shoulder in long sits; 29:06 Arūpa jhānas.
Aspects of energy can be steadied through sustaining awareness over the entire process of an exhalation, until the inhalation begins. Help breathing to regulate your energy. Energy will regulate your mind, quiet it, steady it, compose it, and over time it will consolidate into a steady quiet form.
The suttas can give us prompts for how to practice, but the agent is this embodied heart. It’s a process of calming and steadying shared between body and heart that reveals that stable constant presence beneath the activated energies. Withdrawing energy from the activations, just witnessing the changeability of phenomena, there is dispassion and releasing. Meeting energy, not feeding it, so it can be freed.
Practicing in standing posture, it’s much easier to feel the whole body as an undivided object. Certain things then become apparent – an unbroken unity, an energy. Stay in your energy body as agitations well up, are received, and then dissolve – because they’re energy. This is the development of true insight, to know phenomena is changeable. Therefore one becomes dispassionate towards them.
00:12 Dispassion; 03:45 How do dispassion, disengagement and relinquishment reconcile with activism; 12:39 Body time versus clock time; 15:23 How should I teach mindfulness of breathing; 17:42 Joy and poignant sadness; 19:38 What is one then to be sensitive to in the third stage of the feeling tetrad; 25:55 Could you say that the citta is the deathless?
00: How to suffuse; 04:40 Placing and sensing the thinking mind; 07:14 Does Ānāpānasati help prepare us for end of civilization; 08:42 Nimittas; 10:01 When one area of body is not suffused; 11:25 How can we suffuse pīti/sukha? 13:00 Softening the process of enquiring; 15:26 Generating joy with chronic pain and vicious personal circumstances; 18:17 Blockages make nostril breathing difficult; 21:24 Can you speak about death?
Tuning into where gladness is can be approached from different ways. One can recollect people or events that are gladdening, or one can tune into the energy of gladness that is felt in the body. Linger in its effects, the brightening, lifting quality that is agreeable.