January – April 2018
Correction: The Community Conversation for Men on Sexism is on March 25 (not on March 24 as stated in the Newsletter).
The Buddha teaches that the mind is naturally radiant and empty of problems, but as we all know, this essential clarity and freedom of mind is often obscured by the five hindering habits of mind: greed, aversion, dullness, restlessness, and doubt. Fortunately, the Buddha has mapped out practices that support the mind going beyond these limiting habits. We begin with the energizing effort to Connect with the present moment. Remembering to make the effort to connect, to recognize, “This is being known,” removes sloth and torpor from the mind. Skillful effort is energizing.
The sustaining of present-moment awareness removes unhelpful doubt from the mind. To be aware of the present moment with continuity is grounding and enlivening. The mind sees and comprehends the way things are. Doubt fades because the mind trusts this direct and immediate knowing, without a need for mental proliferation. The more momentum mindful awareness has, the more collected, unified, and harmonious the qualities of the mind become. As the wholesome energies of the mind collect and stabilize, joy arises. The presence of joy causes ill will to fade away. Once joy is present in the mind, restlessness no longer finds support allowing the more refined happiness of ease and contentedness to arise.
As ease strengthens and matures as a dominant quality, the mind abandons its addiction to craving. As craving is quieted the mind becomes more still precisely due to the absence of craving. This settling leads to a one-pointedness, ‘the one point that includes everything’, characterized by a resonant equanimity.
Wishing Everyone a Peaceful Winter,
“Immeasurable is this on-flow; the earliest point cannot be known, as beings – obscured by ignorance, and tied to craving-keep running on, keep flowing on…
For a very long time indeed have you all encountered suffering, encountered confusion, encountered misery, and swelled the charnel grounds.
It has surely been long enough to become disenchanted, long enough to become dispassionate, long enough to become free from all formations.
Formations are so impermanent! Formations are so unstable! Formations are so disappointing!”
The Buddha, SN 15:1,20