This course examines the Buddha’s teachings on the five hindrances to mental unification: wanting, aversion, dullness, restlessness, and doubt. These afflictive states of mind are often regular visitors for meditators. Developing patience and the skill to recognize, abandon, and prevent these states goes to the heart of the practice of meditation and skillful living.
(Recorded during March – April 2012 Class)
- Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation: The Five Hindrances
- Chapter Four: Difficulties and Hindrances in Seeking the Heart of Wisdom by Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein
- Sutta Studies: Understanding the Hindrances by Andrew Olendzki in Spring 2005 Insight Journal
- The 5 Hindrances: Obstacles to Practice by Phil Jones
- The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest: Selected Texts from the Pali Canon and the Commentaries by Nyanaponika Thera
- The Wisdom of Samadhi, Ajahn Pannavaddho
- Mindfulness and the Cognitive Process, Part I: The Pathology of Desire; Part II: The Signs of Desire
- Reading on Sloth and Torpor by Joseph Goldstein
- The Five Hindrances (Nivarana) by Ajahn Brahmavamso
- Rising to the Challenge: Cool Heroism: Rather than let anger fuel our response to those we oppose, Robert Thurman suggests a more effective way to cultivate energy for the good fight. By Robert A. F. Thurman, Tricycle, Spring 2003
Below I have included some reflections for Week Four.
- Clearly recognize/admit when the mind is filled with wanting or aversion. No need to be ashamed, it is skillful to clearly acknowledge how it is. For example, notice that the mind is burning with desire or sick with anger. What is the effect of clearly calmly noting the predominate states?
- By tracking our experience, notice that sense desiring arises and passes without gratification. This is important to see because it seems based on our ignorant view, that the pain of craving won’t go away until we get the object of our desire. Seeing the passing away of craving without gratification undermines this mistaken view.
- Remember that every mind state is a conditioned thing, if fed it will become stronger and arise more frequently in the future, if starved it will fall away and be less likely to re-arise. How have you noticed the mind feeding or starving the hindrance of craving? How have you noticed the mind feeding or starving the hindrance of aversion?
- How might you skillfully guard the sense doors to protect the mind from states of craving and aversion?
- Can you notice the quality of joy in states of renunciation, contentment, and states of lovingkindness and compassion?