On Wednesday evenings, our Lakeland Insight Meditation Group (LIMG) has been studying and practicing the teachings of the Satipatthana Sutta, the four abidings in mindfulness. This week, we continue in the fourth foundation, mindfulness of dhammas (mental processes.) To this point in the dhammas, we have studied the five hindrances, the five aggregates, and the six senses. We are now studying the seven factors of awakening. We have studied the first four awakening factors of mindfulness, investigation, energy and joy. Investigation, energy and joy are more activating in energy. The last four of tranquility, concentration and equanimity are more deactivating in energy. Mindfulness balances these awakening factors. Mindfulness is also the main conditioner for all of these awakening factors. Tonight, we speak about tranquility and simplicity.
When there is quieting and softening of the mind, there can be some healing. Just being quiet can be a tremendous support. The voice of the inner critic will be lower and even softened, We can inquire: What is really happening? What is the wise thing to do?
Awakenings are really deep letting go. they are also subtle letting go. When the mind settles here we becomes more evident of where we are holding.
An important condition to notice and develop is when we are new to meditation. Yogis have a tough time not controlling the breath” “I don’t know how to pay attention without changing it”
If one is agitated, to support ease, give more attention to the exhale. Give attention all the way to the end of the exhalation.
Like the Satipatthana instructs, we are to noticing the non tranquility, as a way of cultivating the tranquility.
Restless, anxiety, agitation, to understand it, get familiar with it, yet we do not want to do that. A strategy is to give more space to your awareness. For example, take in the whole body, or the room where you meditate.
Strong opinion is another holding . Can we soften our judgements here?
The Buddha talk about letting go of attachments, and how each of us has difficult attachments. We need to understand this and be tolerant of each other.
Read MN 66 The Simile of the Quail
Group exercise: What is hard for you to let go of?
Sayadaw U Tejaniya states that simply put the practice comes to right view, mindfulness, perseverance
“This is the path of happiness leading to the highest happiness and the highest happiness is peace” The Buddha
This is not ephemeral insubstantial happiness that is not dependent on success or gain.
And of course we do have loss in this life? Can we find peace even in these moments?
We are training ourselves with mindfulness to look squarely at this moment and to clearly understand challenges without resistance and judgments. the simplicity of the practice to look squarely at the moment and to ask “What is here?”
Have you ever been really confused about some things happening in a relationship? It is like a spider web of thoughts and emotions in our consciousness.
“We carry with us the dust of entanglement” the Buddha
In our investigation this dust of entanglement is historical, repetitive
We are prisoner to habitual nature of the mind
The key to happiness freedom is to discover the simplicity in each moment. Simple as asking ourselves the question, What is happening now?
And these habits cover up the serenity available to all of us.
Not about the circumstances in our lives but how we relate to them
Simplicity our willingness to probe in this moment to witness the causes of agitation and complexity
“The endless strategies we engage in to ease the tension and unrest in our hearts are like try to rearrange the furniture in an overcrowded room”
Often in the delusion of the external problem we count on an external solution.
The path is about turning toward all that preoccupies and burdens us. This takes patience with ourselves and others and the teachings.
In each moment of encounter, the moment is a reflection of either our aversion or love. Our jealousy or our gratitude. And what we are experiencing is universal. The more we can witness the universal sorrow the more we can activate compassion for self and the other?
The places where we are the most confused are the places where we need to shine the light of awareness. There are the facts and the interpretations of the facts. Not what we think should happen. This will lead to wisdom and freedom, we need to internalize these insights.
Ex: Someone offends you and the next day you see them again. What typically happens is we hear or see, there is perception and feeling, and sankhara, perhaps anger. Can I find the a willingness to rest in this unpleasant uncomfortable moment? Can you be patient and see the event, emotions and narrative as it is? This is called bare attention. An attention free of concepts, attention based on the facts. Investigation with simplicity: can you see the separation between you and the other? What is this anger mean to me? Where is my insecurity? What story about the event am I telling myself? Bare attention would be to strip away my agenda of expectations and fears to see each moment as it.
Simplicity is not trying to mold our life to our expectations but arises from an understanding that assists us to adjust our inner world according change.
Right view has to do with understanding that experience has arisen through fitnie in conditions
Ajahn Buddhadasa: all arising is nature. All experinece arises due to to causes and conditions.
“We have been thieves of nature by anointing things as me and mine”
Let go of what was never ours in the 1st place. This is a profound reflection on possessiveness.
Ex: “My knees hurts” or “the pain”
Points to not clinging
“Abandon what is not yours this will lead to your welfare happiness ofr a long time”
Catherine, S. Happiness of Simplicity and Renunciation. https://dharmaseed.org/talks/player/22625.html, Dharma Seed. 03/14/2014.
Clark, D Simplicity https://www.audiodharma.org/playables/search?query=simplicity%20&speaker_id=240 Audio Dharma 08/17/2020
Feldman, C. The Buddhist Path to Simplicity: Spiritual Practice for Everyday Life. Thorsons. 2001.
Kornfield, J Simplicity https://dharmaseed.org/talks/player/41674.html Dharma Seed 09/18/1997
Wilson, C Simplicity and Honesty of Awareness. https://dharmaseed.org/talks/player/26790.html Dharma Seed 04/05/2015