SAT CHIT ANAND

- OCTOBER 2006 NEWSLETTER -

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SCA RETREAT WITH SHENPEN

FOUR FOUNDATIONS OF MINDFULNESS

 

 

HATRED:            vs       LOVE:

restricts                       releases

strangles                      liberates

brings remorse               brings peace

agitates                       quietens, calms

divides                         unites

hardens                        softens

hinders                         helps

 

 

 

 

“The practice of meditation is to look deeply in order to see into the essence of things. Due to our insight and understanding we can realise liberation, peace, and joy. Our anger, anxiety, and fear, for instance, are the ropes that bind us to suffering. If we want to be liberated from them, we need to observe their nature, which is ignorance, the lack of clear understanding.

 

When we misunderstand a friend, we may become angry at him. But when we look deeply into what has happened, we can end the misunderstanding. The first step is awareness of the object, and the second step is looking deeply at the object to shed light on it. Therefore mindfulness means awareness and it also means looking deeply.

 

The Pali word ‘vipassana’ means ‘to go deeply into that object to observe it’. While we are fully aware of and observing deeply an object, the boundary between the subject who observes, and the object being observed, gradually dissolves, and the subject and object become one. This is the essence of meditation.” [THICH NHAT HANH: Transformation and Healing]

 

The first step in meditation is to cultivate a calm and steady mind = calming meditation or SAMATHA. A meditation support is used to ground the mind and bring it back to the meditation focus.

 

The second step in meditation is to cultivate wisdom = wisdom meditation or VIPASSANA, which means ‘to look deeply’. Deep looking leads to penetrating insight, from which wisdom arises. Wisdom has the power to liberate one from suffering.

 

We practiced Samatha and Vipassana in relation to the FOUR FOUNDATIONS OF MINDFULNESS: the body, feelings, mind and mind-objects. We did various meditation exercises to enhance clarity of awareness, to bring calmness and healing, to release tension and negativity, to deepen insight and understanding of ourselves, and of our intimate and interdependent relation to the world around us. When one truly understands that we are not separate from each other and from the world, then compassion and loving-kindness naturally arises towards all beings and all things including this earth, which is our home and so desperately needs our loving care and respect.

 

Thanks to all participants for another wonderful retreat.

 

 

 

 

J SAT CHIT ANAND namaste to you Buddha-to-be! 

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