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.
When we reflect on the nature of fields, we notice everything is a duality. How we relate in this twosome is the practice. Unskillful latent tendencies are revealed in relationship, giving us an opportunity to clear them. Kalyāṇamitta (spiritual friendship) is essential. It’s only others that can show us what we don’t see in ourselves.
We struggle for certainty and clarity, but the true orientation of Dhamma is disorientation from old maps, thereby allowing forms to arise and change with disengaged attention. Then we’re much more alert and agile. This is wilderness training.
The Buddha expounded Dhamma using various maps. The map of the khandhā and dependent origination provide means for understanding and responding to experience without the sense of a fixed self. Meeting and relating to phenomena in the body, free from aversion and resistance, you don’t have to like it, just accept it. This is the way out of suffering.
Using intention in practice means there is a wish, a prayer, an aspiration – subtle movements of energy rather than the push of effort. If we use intention too forcefully we block receptivity. It’s up to us to determine what’s skillful at this time. Perhaps it’s the intention to relax, set aside, widen, soften. Wisdom is our guide, and effort is just to use wisdom to arrive at deeper wisdom. [8:15 Begin Standing Meditation Instructions] Translating Anatomical Descriptions into Felt Sense: We all use anatomical descriptions of the body as a sketch, but the encouragement in this meditation is to translate them into energetic or felt experiences. Beginning with physical experience, guidance is provided to sense into subtler energies and felt tones and meanings.
Beginning our day, we make the intention to enter the Dhamma field before entering the hallucinatory field constructed of time and space. Refrain from what’s not needed, linger in what’s needed. What you linger with increases. If you linger in the world of suppositions - ‘got to do, should do’- that increases. Find out what’s truly needed and linger there.
Different ways of presenting Dhamma in Theravada Buddhism (single-pointed, ‘dry insight’; Thai forest). Are there certain thought patterns that are related to nervous energy in the body? How do you do discharge? Metta practice as cultivating non-aversive, non-contractive state rather than a doing/sending out. Clarifying the term ‘fields’. Qi Gong questions (is it normal to get so hot while practicing Qi Gong? Is it good to use wu qi for standing meditation?); Responding to sexual awareness in the presence of others. Skillfully handling trauma that are still alive. Distinction between perception and consciousness. How feelings and emotions are experienced in Samadhi. Reclining meditation
Citta is moved by images that can be sparked by thought, visual, auditory or somatic/felt experience. This guided meditation accesses these portals to generate receptivity and resonances of goodwill within yourself, then spread them out.
Relationship is always necessary, always there, whether with other people or with ourselves. To absorb into comfortable relationship, and clear this area from greed, hatred and fear, there has to be a lot of negotiation, the back and forth movement of disengaging, then returning again. This is true yoga of the heart. To keep the heart flexible and responsive, brahmavihārā ‘asanas’ are suggested.
Instruction on disengaging attention from mental contact. Disengagement allows for longer listening time. The quality of listening has a different tone – softer, more open, the ability to be with but not in. That non-engaged space allows for signs of comfort, contentment and gladness to arise. It’s not in the object but in the relationship. Keep re-establishing relationship to the chosen object.