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.
00.36 Q1 I'm very new to meditation. Could you say more about sitting, about posture. 8.12 Q2 If I compare my practice to an elevator I seem to spend a lot of time at the top and would like to go deeper but I'm always going back up to the top again, up and down. 14.36 Q3 Having projects and things that I want to do that require determination, is that incompatible with a meditation practice? 18.35 Q4 My family have been football fans and have supported the Tottenham Hotspurs club for ages. What can you say about this? 21.32 Q5 What guidance can you give on engaging with conflict? 28.47 Q5 What can I do if the values of my friends and acquaintances don't fit with mine? 30.42 Q6 Regarding stream entry, do path and fruit happen simultaneously or does one come after the other?
Questions are précised and read into the file.This text is shortened further. 00.51 Q1 You said we create an imaginary world for our imaginary selves. Some people believe in the power of visualization where we can imagine a better world or a better self. 03.05 Q2 Please distinguish consciousness, the mind and the brain. 05.57 Q3 You use the word heart, but you don't use the word brain. 12.36 Q4 If there's no distinction between you and I, is there just a oneness? 13.00 Q5 Is the citta permanent? 14.13 Q6 A friend said her response to a car alarm was the same as her response to bird song. Where is the place for beauty in this? 15.29 Q7 In walking meditation, do we feel the movement and sense what your mind is doing with that experience? 21.28 Q8 Some thought patterns seem like some kind of karmic knot. They're not comfortable and yet I keep going into them. 25.08 Q9 What can I offer my dying friend to support balance for them? 32.20 Q10 Can thoughts just arise randomly? 37.02 Q11 If someone cheats us, do we just forgive them and move on? 41.18 Q12 I find that many of my interactions, conversations and what I do to work seem to be just abstractions and distractions. My desire to live more in dhamma makes me avoid people without this interest. 46.58 Q13 Do thoughts always arise from feelings? 50.03 Q14 What is time as an experience? 01.00.57 Q15 Where does collective consciousness fit into this? 01.03.09 Q16 How can we plan for the future and avoid the pitfalls of 'becoming'? 01.04.52 Q17 How to use Buddhist practice to deal with trauma and serious anxiety? 01.10.10 Q18 Is the teaching of no satisfaction /suffering more than 'there's no permanent satisfaction'? 01.13.34 Q19 It seems like the more I examine my own suffering, the more compassion I have for other people.
Contemplating the internal experience of “me” and the way “me” reacts with external phenomena reveals how our identity is constantly manufactured by our reactions. Widening and relaxing supports a heart that is modest, clear and open, without stress and without identity; a heart that can comfortably meet and deal with what arises.
Who or what you think you are is not your fundamental home. Learning to contemplate the citta/ mind/ heart and the five aggregates (form, consciousness, perceptions, feelings and mental formations) reveals a way to dismantle the driven ego and liberate the citta from aging, sickness and death.
Identity is actually a process of making a self through clinging to what mind creates through contact with our environment and other people. This process comes down to the interplay of form, consciousness, perceptions, feelings and mental formations – the aggregates (khandha) But am I really any part of this? Investigation allows us to unclog the heart and release the inherent suffering. Ajahn recommends walking as a way of experiencing flow and fluidity. No identity is needed!