To download these files, secondary click the linked title and select "Save Link As …,” “Download Linked File,” or similar message, depending on your browser settings.
We introduce the teachers and the nature of the retreat. We also briefly look at the eight precepts, which provide the basic ground rules for the retreat. (Please note that the recording begins slightly after Patrick has begun speaking.)
This morning we examine the nature of meditation itself, seeing it in terms of awareness, attention and method. We explore the nature of awareness, and how attention structures the field of awareness. From there, we look at issues in developing a meditation method.
We introduce the concept of “mindfulness,” which is the standard translation of the Pāli word sati. Sati literally means “memory,” and mindfulness refers to the act of remembering the present. The practice of mindfulness is associated with the felt continuity of awareness, and this is what we are aiming for in our practice.
We find ourselves alienated from the experience of body because of our habit of experiencing body through our concepts of the body, rather than through the direct experience of body sensation. Here we experiment with the four mahābhūta, or “great appearances,” earth element (pathavī dhātu), air element (vayo dhātu), fire element (tejo dhātu) and water element (āpo dhātu). These represent the elemental qualities of physical experience.
[Please note that because of a power failure at BUBS the night this talk was given, this is a recording of the same talk delivered at another retreat.] We introduce satipaṭṭhāna, the applications of mindfulness, as a “one-way street” (ekāyana magga) that leads direct to nibbāna. We examine the meaning of nibbāna, looking at it as an affective term that indicates life without the fires of attachment, aversion and delusion. And we discuss the relationship between the practice of tracking experience over time, and nibbāna itself.
This morning we experiment in using breathing as a meditation object, finding it as movement in the body, or air element (vayo dhātu). We practise precision in our mindfulness of breathing by tracking its location, its length, its shape or form, its clarity, its beginnings and ends. This opens up issues regarding both the nature of breathing and our relationship to breathing.
We survey the four satipaṭṭhānas, or foundations or domains of mindfulness – the places where we station our mindfulness. These are body (kāya), feeling (vedanā), heart/mind (citta) and dharma or dharmas (dhammānupassanā). We see how the first three of these domains represent a linear progression from less to greater ethical sensitivity; and we also see how feeling holds the practice together. The fourth satipaṭṭhāna has two aspects. Tracking dharma (singular) involves learning the conceptual framework that gives meaning to the experiences we undergo. Tracking the dharmas (plural) entails learning to perceive our experienced world as no more than a flow of empty phenomena.
A fundamental principle of satipaṭṭhāna practice is to take what distracts us, what prevents us from practising, and make it our meditation object. Here we look at using the thought-stream as meditation object. We learn how to attend to the process of thinking rather than get caught up in the contents of our thoughts.
Here we unpack Wu-Men’s comment to Chao-Chou’s “mu:” “For subtle realisation it is of the utmost importance that you cut off the mind road” (Wu-men Kuan, Case 1). What is the mind road? Why is it so important? And what does it mean to cut it off? We explore the role of concept and our relationship to concept in our meditation practice.
Here we learn to structure our attention more loosely, to enable us to see the object of awareness within the broader context of our attentional field. When we hold an object too closely we may miss the context within which it is held, including the one who is attending to it. When we learn to hold the object more loosely, we can appreciate the context within which it is held, and understanding (sampajañña, paññā) emerges within this context.
Tonight we examine the Buddha’s fundamental ethical principles as it applies to lay people. We explore the Buddha’s presentation of the basic ethical questions that all of us face: “What is wholesome, what is unwholesome? What is praiseworthy, what is blameable? What ought I to do, what ought I not to do? What, having done it, will bring me harm and suffering over the long term, and what will bring me welfare and happiness over the long term? (Lakkhaṇa Sutta Characteristics DN 30)
This morning we review the practice we have been doing over the week, seeing it as essentially that of keeping the present in mind. All else flows from this.
Kit begins with some general opening remarks, and then explains the basis of this practice. Grounding awareness in the body and then relaxing the body brings us to the present. Thought takes us to past and future, and cuts us off from the present. As we develop skill in this practice, we can cultivate the habit of living in the present rather than past and future, and we are more immediately alive. This morning we move awareness around the body, tensing and relaxing, and so discover the felt experience of relaxation.
After answering some questions, Kit begins the lying meditation (at 19:30). We begin by moving awareness around the body, feeling it, and alternatively tensing and relaxing parts of the body. From there we explore the movements within the body we call “breathing,” and then we do … nothing.
We begin with some questions on the purpose and workings of this practice, with Kit concluding, “There is no downside to being able to feel more.” The practice begins (at 14:55) with moving awareness around the body, tensing and relaxing. From there awareness is held at the breathing, and as we breathe, we explore the elements of earth, air, fire and water. Finally, again we do nothing.
The emphasis here is on serenity, as we simply relax the body while remaining awake. We begin with awareness of breathing, and again move awareness around the body, tensing and relaxing. Then we sink into the floor, breathing as we go.
This is a live recording of Kit’s stretch therapy class. Each morning Kit adapts the teaching to suit today’s circumstances. Each class is therefore unique to its context.
This is a live recording of Kit’s stretch therapy class. Each morning Kit adapts the teaching to suit today’s circumstances. Each class is therefore unique to its context.
This is a live recording of Kit’s stretch therapy class. Each morning Kit adapts the teaching to suit today’s circumstances. Each class is therefore unique to its context.
This is a live recording of Kit’s stretch therapy class. Each morning Kit adapts the teaching to suit today’s circumstances. Each class is therefore unique to its context.
This is a live recording of Kit’s stretch therapy class. Each morning Kit adapts the teaching to suit today’s circumstances. Each class is therefore unique to its context.
This is a live recording of Kit’s stretch therapy class. Each morning Kit adapts the teaching to suit today’s circumstances. Each class is therefore unique to its context.