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.
The theme of the retreat, Firm Centre Open Heart, is a reminder of what the work is. Remaining steady in the “here-ness” of body, and opening the energetic field supports the releasing of kamma. In return you receive the natural beauty of your heart.
We can establish Firm Centre Open Heart as a core way of being. Refuges and precepts offer support as we train to remain awake and attentive outside of retreat. Vows of virtue and morality, when held with firm flexibility, allow wholesome qualities to be transmitted through the open heart.
We can notice where we add stress to an already painful, difficult situation. The cause is tanhā and upādāna, craving and clinging. Use meditation to review the craving mind and feel the feeling without closing around it. The duty of the heart is to allow phenomena to arise and pass away.
An open heart is a transmitter of good qualities. Unsettled energies cause intentions and actions to lack clarity and steadiness. Relate to the energies of body, speech and mind with receptivity, compassion and goodwill. It’s the tonality that matters.
Can non-monastics in the west reach enlightenment? Attachment in relationships; How to encourage care for the environment; Qualities that free us from world of senses; Freedom from rage resulting from abusive relationships; Compassionate response to racist remarks
There can be a fundamental shifting of intention, of the source of kamma. Rather than following habitual reactions, hold them with a heart of goodwill and restraint. Through the expanding of relational intent is the cessation of suffering and stress.
Rather than being about the inhalation and exhalation of breath, mindfulness of breathing is about soothing the life force energy. As energy settles in the body, many disruptive emotive tendencies are cleared, leaving the heart available to meet experience in a balanced and sensitive way.