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 ability to sense and feel, read how citta is affecting body and body is affecting it – this is initiation into the process. Use the language of touch rather than seeing. Our fundamental base to support this process is the wide-open body. It contains all of the kammic stuff we need to work through.
Is citta/mindfulness always present; who is attending to the citta; where does citta’s luminosity land; eyes opened or closed in meditation; thinking during discernment; use of cooling and warming in relation to what’s arising.
Citta can have sore spots, particularly volatile reactions that spin it out into planning. There’s the possibility of not being in that compulsive grip, of turning to the deathless element. Citta can be trained to withdraw into its own stillness, its own knowing.
Begin by remembering the value of calm and insight. Place attention carefully at the point of contact impression. Softening and widening so the impressions don’t stick. Let them roll off like beads of water.
Citta is the still point in all the movement, tangle and impact. It’s hard to recognize, but body offers a reference point – the sense of presence. Yoniso manasikara, careful attention, trims the flood of experience to a summary message of what’s contacting you. Body can then be used to discharge the push of the aggregates.
Relationship between citta, mano and viññāna; why doesn’t citta appear in the chain of dependent co-arising; what is samudayo; the nature of contact and perception conditioning feeling; how can one prepare for death; skills and developments of the mano function and how that mixes in with citta; helping other people; bubbling energy in meditation; limiting external impingements on citta in householder life.
Equanimity as a brahmavihara and equanimity as a factor of awakening; latent tendencies (anusaya); uprooting hindrances; role of the formless realms in developing insight and freedom;; when is the mind is ready to go to the formless realm; where does vedanā fit in with manas/ mano; quality of self-respect in removing the need to prove oneself.
In the process of body meditation, the notional conventional body drops away and we find the citta body. With the cultivation of appamano states, it is nourished and strengthened to meet our negative afflictive states and heal them.
The boundless nature of citta can make us feel too vulnerable, so we put up boundaries that end up constricting us. Cultivation of the brahmaviharā, the measureless states, is a removal of those boundaries. An abiding place results that can act as a foundation for complete liberation.
If we keep picking up and resonating the brahmaviharā heart tones, citta will naturally open and move in that direction. These are natural expressions of citta – it feels rewarded with these expressions and is energized.