Sutta Study

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Virtue is the basis of achievement

This post is a reflection based on readings presented by Venerable Analayo in an online course that I am currently auditing. I am especially moved by the gradual path articulated by Ven. Anuruddha in MĀ 80 with the final line “relying on the precepts, established in the precepts, using the precepts as my ladder, I ascended to [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:50+00:00 June 28th, 2013|Meditation, Sutta Study|

A thought is a thought

At our weekly meditation group we are continuing the exploration of self-construction. In the discussion yesterday, one member described how she witnessed her mind constructing a notion of self through believing a series of thoughts and speculations. Another member equated the sense of self with a discernible feeling of stuck-ness. Indeed, we create the “self [...]

When gripped by a powerful desire for liberation

I’ve recently been contemplating a brief discourse in the Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (A. 4.170) on four combinations of tranquility and insight. This subject arose as part of an on-line course led by Venerable Analayo that I am auditing. The discourse presents four combinations of tranquility and insight: 1) the development of insight preceded [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:51+00:00 May 21st, 2013|Enlightenment, Jhanas, Sutta Study|

Three Questions and Responses about Sankhara

Through sutta study groups and via email questions recently, I have been involved in several discussions about sankhara. Sankhara is usually translated in English as mental formations, volitional formations, activities, inclinations, or fabrications. Sankhara appears as a factor of the Twelve Links of Dependent Arising and as one of the Five Aggregates. This factor tends [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:51+00:00 February 28th, 2013|Investigating body and mind, Sutta Study|

On detachment

"Detachment describes the ease of a mind not adhering, not fixated, and not identified with the fleeting stream of lived events."—Shaila Catherine, Wisdom Wide and Deep, page 398. Often people bring negative associations to the term detachment—thinking it implies cold indifference. However, in the context of meditation practice, detachment refers to a vivid and liberating experience [...]

2012-02-13T15:50:58+00:00 February 13th, 2012|Investigating body and mind, Mindfulness Practice, Sutta Study|

Are Sense Pleasures Suffering?

We often link happiness to the attainment of sensory pleasure; or we expect sensory pleasures to bring happiness. The emphasis on the unsatisfactoriness of conditioned experiences, as taught in the Buddhist tradition can, at first, seem disheartening.  Why equate innocuous and natural pleasures with suffering? Is the Buddhist path life-denying? We had a rousing dialog [...]

Memorizing Suttas

Readers who have studied the suttas with me will know that I often ask students to memorize passages from the texts. By selecting a passage that resonates with us, working with it, reciting it daily, and reflecting upon it, we engage more actively with these teachings. Then we enjoy hearing what each person set to [...]

2017-02-16T09:34:58+00:00 March 9th, 2011|Sutta Study|