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.
With the recognition of the ending of this session, consider birth: what we’ve been through is receding, nothing new yet has begun, and we’re not going back to the same old thing. Birth is arising into that which we’re not yet entirely clear about. Nourish the potency of arising with mental qualities of goodwill, compassion, celebration and equanimity.
Where is the experience of bodily energies found in the suttas; what is the source of Ajahn’s ‘forensic precision’; how to us somatic presence with the 3rd and 4th foundations of mindfulness; please help with insomnia; experiencing resistance to standing meditation; grief and pain experienced with ‘Future and Past’ exercise; how to deepen into the ‘neither/nor’ space; is samādhi developed by sustaining sati; how to deal with overactive citta; how did you deal with the fear of death when being robbed in India?
Open up the currents to other people – mistakes, grudges, hurt feelings – and listen. You can’t forgive if you’re still wounded. Use the brahmavihāra to open the heart towards others. Then you have not just cleared the floods, but have been enriched by the relational experience.
In walking, experience the fluidities and exchanges of movement. Walk through the sense realm, noticing how objects change. Walk through your mental field in the same way, the wallpaper changing as you move along. Notes on reclining meditation conclude these instructions.
Practice with bringing up notions of future, past, other people and myself and the relationships between them. Receive what is activated in the body and mind without adopting them. Open to the feelings and movements that arise.
Open mind and open heart require open receptivity – listening without taking on, accepting without adopting. This requires the quiet power of embodiment – acknowledgement – which isn’t doing anything other than acknowledging. Things then shift and pass on their own.
The standing posture provides a simple process whereby energies can be balanced, soothed and steadied. Opening channels of the body so breathing can flow through, an open energy – light, spacious, repelling obstruction – becomes available.
It’s very helpful to start the day with resolution: What can I say no to? What can I say yes to? Using the precepts as a frame, generate boundaries that will moderate energies and help you remain firm and grounded in the face of the floods.
Help with hard-wired anger; how to think about ground, space and rhythm in a non-conceptual way; citta seems like a toddler; how to disengage from deep patterns of negativity; how to respond to boredom; is it recommended to thoroughly achieve samatha before moving on to vipassana; how to respond to deep pain in the heart; question about impermanence.