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.
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.
In citta’s maturing process, it goes from seeking stability and comfort in things that can never satisfy, to finding a place of dispassion. It learns that disengagement is preferable to getting fired up, disappointed, humiliated. In this letting go it finally finds the stability and happiness it has been seeking.
After settling and grounding in the standing position, Ajahn Sucitto introduces a slight movement to the posture. Gently turning in space, noticing the effects of the body moving in its energy field, making note of the mental tone – how’s that?
We take things personally, but the person is the result of the fields that it encounters. We get shaped by the worldly fields of the business model, of material progress, of ‘faster’ and ‘more’. When we take the Dhamma field as our true origin rather than the worldly or personal field, we access the arising of the search for truth and meaning, and of the capacities to bear with and be accepting, to experience gratitude and generosity. This is our home, and in this we are deeply resourced to meet what comes up.
Being immersed in worldly and personal fields is not a choice, but we can choose to immerse ourselves in the Dhamma field. In it we can meet the problematic painful field of sense contact without collapsing or blocking, but with big heart. Pūjā is an occasion for entering into that field, gaining resources, strength and happiness for the journey.
Cultivating Dhamma involves viveka, a certain kind of disengagement primarily from thought and emotional reactivity. As these reactions are running, check their ‘bounce’ – that tendency to deflect or suppress unpleasant feeling. Emotion by itself cannot discharge, but access the emotional state in the body – the body can discharge the emotion.
Transitions points are an opportunity to train one’s reflexes to return to the base – the ground as fundamental orientation. At the moment of reflexive response, pause. The reflex isn’t good or bad, just pause and check it as a habit of training. It can be helpful to rise into a bodily response rather than habit reactive responses. Whatever our intention or purpose can be more measured.
The verbal, heart and body fields are mutually affected. Of the three, body doesn’t lie and is the one that can discharge stress. Refer to how experiences of the heart and mind arise in the body with disengaged awareness. Learn to release stress when it arises, and acknowledge the patterns of behavior that generate it. [52:00 Begin Walking Instructions] Notice the Parts that Don’t Seem to Be Doing: The whole body is walking. Some parts are doing, some are receiving – they’re part of the field of awareness and sensitivity. The parts that don’t seem to be doing are helping to discharge stress.