Foundations of the Buddha;s Dhamma Retreat Book

June 29 To July 3, 2022
Won Dharma Center, Claverack, New York

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Profound Contentment Retreat Suttas

Retreat Schedule

(subject to impermanence)

Our Dhamma talks and meditation sessions will be held in the day room of the Timeless Zen Building. 

Please arrive a few minutes early.

Wednesday 

11:00 AM Check-in (Won Dharma Center Office)

12 Noon Lunch ( Right Speech)

1:30 PM Session 1 w/John Haspel

5:30 Dinner – Noble Silence 

7:00 Session 2 w/John Haspel

Thursday 

6:45 AM Jhana Meditation w/Jen Seiz (Optional)

7:30  Breakfast – Noble Silence 

8:45  QiGong with Matt Branham 

9:30 Session 3 w/John Haspel

12 Noon Lunch (Noble Silence)

Free Time (Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood)

5:30 Dinner – Noble Silence 

7:00 Session 4 w/John Haspel

Friday

6:45 AM Jhana Meditation w/Kevin Hart (Optional)

7:30  Breakfast – Noble Silence 

8:45  QiGong with Matt Branham 

9:30 Session 5 w/John Haspel

12 Noon Lunch ( Right Speech)

1:30 PM Session 6 w/John Haspel

5:30 Dinner – Noble Silence 

7:00 Session 7 w/John Haspel

Saturday

6:45 AM Jhana Meditation w/David Allen (Optional)

7:30  Breakfast – Noble Silence 

8:45  QiGong with Matt Branham 

9:30 Session 8 w/John Haspel

12 Noon Lunch (Noble Silence)

Free Time (Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood)

5:30 PM Dinner – Noble Silence 

7:00 Session 9 w/John Haspel

Sunday

6:45 AM Jhana Meditation w/Ram Manders (Optional)

7:30  Breakfast – Noble Silence 

8:45  QiGong with Matt Branham 

9:30 Session 10 w/John Haspel

12 Noon Lunch 

1:00 PM Retreat Concludes, Sangha Picture and Hugs

Profound Contentment Retreat Suttas

Session One – The Cause Of Discontent:
Dependent Origination, Paticca-Samuoadha Sutta
Samyutta Nikaya 12:2

The Buddha was at Savatthi, at Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. There he addressed those assembled: “Friends, I will describe in detail Dependent Origination. Listen carefully. And what is Dependent Origination?

  • From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.
  • From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness.
  • From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form.
  • From name-and-form as a requisite condition comes the six-sense-base.
  • From the six -ense-base as a requisite condition comes contact.
  • From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.
  • From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.
  • From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging and maintaining.
  • From clinging and maintaining as a requisite condition comes becoming.
  • From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.
  • From birth as a requisite condition comes aging, sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress and despair.”

“Now what is aging and death? Aging is decrepitude, brokenness, graying, decline, weakening of faculties. Death is the passing away of the Five Clinging-Aggregates, the ending of time, the interruption in the life faculties.

“Now what is Birth? Birth is the descent, the coming forth, the coming to be. Birth is the appearance of the six sense-bases and the Five Clinging-Aggregates.

“And what is clinging and maintaining? There are four types of clinging: Clinging to sensory stimulus, clinging to views (conditioned thinking), clinging to precepts and practices, and clinging to a doctrine of self.”

“And what is craving?

“There are six classes of craving: Craving for forms.

  • Craving for sounds.
  • Craving for smells.
  • Craving for tastes.
  • Craving for physical sensations.
  • Craving for ideas.

“And what is feeling?

“Feeling has six classes as well:

  • Feeling arising from eye-contact.
  • Feeling arising from ear-contact.
  • Feeling arising from nose-contact.
  • Feeling arising from taste-contact.
  • Feeling arising from body-contact.
  • Feeling arising from intellect-contact.

“This is called feeling.

“And what is contact?

  • Phenomena contacting the eye.
  • Phenomena contacting the ear.
  • Phenomena contacting the nose.
  • Phenomena contacting the tongue.
  • Phenomena contacting the body.
  • Phenomena contacting the intellect.

“This is contact with the six-sense-base.

“And what is name and form?

  • Feeling
  • Perception.
  • Intention.
  • Attention (all mental aspects)
  • Contact.

“Discriminating self-referential consciousness is name. The elements of water, fire, earth, and wind, that which makes up physical forms is called form.

“Name-and-form is discriminating consciousness bound to or clinging to physical form.

“And what is consciousness?

“There are six classes of consciousness:

  • Eye-consciousness.
  • Ear-consciousness.
  • Nose-consciousness.
  • Tongue-consciousness.
  • Body-consciousness.
  • Intellect-consciousness.

“And what are fabrications?

“There are three fabrications:

  • Bodily fabrications.
  • Verbal fabrications.
  • Mental fabrications.

“And what is ignorance?

  • Ignorance is not knowing stress.
  • Not knowing the origination of stress.
  • Not knowing the cessation of stress.
  • Not knowing the (Eightfold) path leading to the cessation of stress.

“This is called ignorance.

“Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications.

“From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness.

“From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-and-form.

“From the cessation of name-and-form comes the cessation of the six-sense-base.

“From the cessation of the six sense-base comes the cessation of contact.

“From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling.

“From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving.

“From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging and maintaining.

“From the cessation of clinging and maintaining comes the cessation of becoming.

“From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth.

“From the cessation of birth comes the cessation of sickness, aging, death, sorrow, pain, distress, despair and confusion. Wisdom brings the cessation to the entire mass of stress and suffering.

End of Sutta

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Session Two – The Truth Of The Arising And Passing Away Of Discontent: Four Noble Truths, Sacca-Vibhanga Sutta
Majjhima Nikaya 141

On one occasion the Buddha was staying at the Deer Park in Isipatana. He addressed those gathered: “Friends, it was here that I set in motion the unexcelled Wheel Of Dhamma. My Dhamma cannot be corrupted by any brahman, deva, Mara, Brahma, or any one in the entire world.

No one can corrupt the revelation, declaration, the description, the structure, the explanation, and the clear and direct teaching of Four Noble Truths:

  1. The Noble Truth of stress and suffering.
  2. The Noble Truth of the origination of stress.
  3. The Noble Truth of the cessation of stress.
  4. The Noble Truth of the Eightfold Path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.

“Friends, associate with wise disciples such as Sariputta and Moggallana. Sariputta and Moggallana are well-trained, focused, wise, and sympathetic to those developing a life integrated with the Eightfold Path.

“Sariputta is like a mother giving birth and Moggallana is like the nurse that attends to the baby. Sariputta trains others on developing the Dhamma, Moggallana, to the highest culmination.

“Sariputta is able to declare, teach, describe, set forth, reveal, explain, and make plain the Four Noble Truths in detail.”

Having said these words, the Buddha left for the days abiding.

Sariputta then addressed those gathered: “Friends, it was here that the Tathagata set in motion the unexcelled Wheel Of Dhamma. This Dhamma cannot be corrupted by any brahman, deva, Mara, Brahma, or any one in the entire world. No one can corrupt the revelation, declaration, the description, the structure, the explanation, and the clear and direct teaching of Four Noble Truths:

  1. The Noble Truth of stress and suffering.
  2. The Noble Truth of the origination of stress.
  3. The Noble Truth of the cessation of stress.
  4. The Noble Truth of the Eightfold Path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.

Friends, what is the noble truth of stress and suffering?

  • Birth is stressful.
  • Sickness is stressful.
  • Aging is stressful.
  • Death is stressful.
  • Sorrow, regret, pain, distress, and despair are all stressful.
  • Not getting what is desired is stressful.
  • Receiving what is undesired is stressful.
  • In short, the Five-Clinging-Aggregates are stressful.

“And what is birth? Whatever takes birth. The descent, the coming-to-be, the coming forth, the arising of the Five-Clinging-Aggregates, the fabrication of sensuous realms of diverse beings. This is called birth.

“And what is aging? Aging is (increasing) decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, diminishing of mental faculties, of diverse beings. This is called aging.

“And what is death? Death is the passing away, the breaking up, the disappearance, the completion of time, the casting off of the body, the interruption of the life faculty, and the dissolution of the Five Clinging-Aggregates of diverse beings. This is called death.

“And what is sorrow? Sorrow is sadness, this suffering of misfortune, being touched by pain. This is called sorrow.

“And what is regret? Regret is the grieving, the crying , the weeping, the wailing, the regret of suffering from misfortune, of being touched buy pain, this is called regret.

“And what is pain? Pain is bodily pain. bodily discomfort, pain or discomfort from bodily contact this is called pain.

“And what is distress? Distress is mental pain and mental discomfort, pain or discomfort from mental contact. This is called distress.

“And what is despair? Despair is despondency and  desperation of anyone suffering from misfortune or touch buy a painful thing. This is called despair.

“And what is the stress of not getting what is desired? In those beings subject to birth, the wish arises, ‘May I not be subject to birth, may birth not come to me.’ Wishing does not bring cessation. This is the the stress of not getting what is desired.

“Furthermore, In uninformed human beings subject to birth, sickness, aging, death, sorrow, regret, pain, distress, and despair the wish arises ‘O, may I not be subject to birth, sickness, aging, death, sorrow, regret, pain, distress, and despair. May these not befall me.’ These things are not avoided by wishing.  This is the the stress of not getting what is desired.

“And what are the Five Clinging-Aggregates that continue stress?

  1. The clinging-to-form-aggregate.
  2. The clinging-to-feeling-aggregate.
  3. The clinging-to-perception-aggregate.
  4. The clinging-to-fabrication-aggregate.
  5. The clinging-to-consciousness-aggregate.

“These are the Five Clinging-Aggregates that continue stress.

“This, friends, is the Noble Truth of Stress.

“And what is the Noble Truth of the origination of stress? The very craving that makes for becoming father ignorant, craving clinging to passion and delight (after what is craved including adapted, accommodated and/or embellished modern dharmas), entranced here and there with craving for sensuality, craving for continued becoming (further ignorant), craving for non-becoming (escape from the effects of ignorance rather than cessation of ignorance, annihilation into nothingness, emptiness, non-duality). This is called the Noble Truth of the origination of stress.

“And what friends is the Noble Truth of the cessation of stress? The renunciation, the relinquishment, the release, the letting go, he remainderless fading away and complete cessation of craving. This is called the Noble Truth of the cessation of stress.

“And what is the Noble Truth of the path of Dhamma practice that leads directly to the cessation of stress? This path is the Noble Eightfold Path:

1. Right View. Right View is knowledge with regard to stress, knowledge with regard to the origination of stress, knowledge with regard to the cessation of stress, knowledge with regard to the Eightfold Path of practice leading to the cessation of stress. This is Right View.

2. Right Intention. Right Intention is maintaining mindfulness of the intention for renunciation, for freedom from ill-will, for harmlessness, for cessation. This is Right Intention

3. Right Speech. Right Speech is abstaining from lying, abstaining from divisive speech, abstaining from abusive speech, and abstaining from gossip and idle chatter. This is right Speech.

4. Right Action. Right Action is abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, and abstaining from sexual misconduct. This is Right Action.

5. Right Livelihood. Right Livelihood is when a skillful disciple of the Noble Ones has abandoned dishonest livelihood and provides for themselves with honesty. This is Right Livelihood.

6. Right Effort. Right Effort is when a skillful disciple of the Noble Ones (internally) generates the skillful desire, who is persistent, who remains mindful of their intent for the non-arising of unskillful qualities that have yet arisen, who remains mindful of their intent for the abandoning of unskillful qualities that have arisen, who remains mindful for maintaining non-confusion and for increasing, developing, and the culmination of skillful qualities that have yet arisen. This is Right Effort.

7. Right Mindfulness. Right Mindfulness is when a skillful disciple of the Noble Ones remains mindful of the body in and of itself while remaining ardent, alert, and mindful of putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world. Right Mindfulness is when a skillful disciple of the Noble Ones remains mindful of feelings in and of themselves while remaining ardent, alert, and mindful of putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world. Right Mindfulness is when a skillful disciple of the Noble Ones remains mindful of thoughts in and of themselves while remaining ardent, alert, and mindful of putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world. Right Mindfulness is when a skillful disciple of the Noble Ones remains mindful of the (present) quality of mind in and of itself while remaining ardent, alert, and mindful of putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world. This is right mindfulness.

8. Right Meditation. Right Meditation is when a skillful disciple of the Noble Ones has established seclusion from sensuality and unskillful mental qualities. The enter and  remain in the First Jhana. This First Jhana is experienced as rapture born of that very seclusion. It is accompanied by directed thought and evaluation.

“Furthermore, the ending of the defilements depends on the Second Jhana which is the stilling of directed thought and evaluation.  This Second Jhana is experienced as rapture and pleasure born of concentration. Free of directed thought and evaluation, the joy of concentration permeates their entire mind and body.

Furthermore, the ending of the defilements depends on the Third Jhana which is the fading of rapture. They remain equanimous, mindful, alert, sensitive to pleasure. With the fading of rapture, this pleasant abiding permeates their entire mind and body.

“Furthermore, the ending of the defilements depends on the Fourth Jhana which is the abandoning of evaluation. They enter and remain in the Fourth Jhana which is pure equanimity and mindful. Being pure, neither pleasure nor pain is seen. They sit permeated in mind and body with pure, bright awareness. The Fourth Jhana which is a pleasant abiding. This is Right Meditation.

“This is the Noble Truth of the Eightfold Path of practice that leads directly to the cessation of stress.

“Friends, it was here that the Tathagata set in motion the unexcelled Wheel Of Dhamma. This Dhamma cannot be corrupted by any brahman, deva, Mara, Brahma, or any one in the entire world. No one can corrupt the revelation, declaration, the description, the structure, the explanation, and the clear and direct teaching of Four Noble Truths.”

This is what Venerable Sariputta said. Gratified, those in attendance were delighted in Venerable Sariputta words.

End Of Sutta

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Session Three – Impermanence And The Ending Of Discontent: The Eightfold Path, The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta
Samyutta Nikaya 45.8

I have heard that at one time the Buddha was staying in Savatthi at Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery.

There he addressed those assembled:

“Friends, I will now give you a detailed analysis of the Noble Eightfold Path. Listen mindfully.

This is the Noble Eightfold Path:

  1. Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Meditation

And what is Right View?

  • Knowledge with regard to stress
  • Knowledge with regard to the origination of stress
  • Knowledge with regard to the cessation of stress
  • Knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress

This, friends, is Right View.

And what is Right Intention?

  • Being mindful of the intention to recognize and abandon wrong views
  • Being mindful of the intention to remain free from ill will
  • Being mindful of the intention to remain harmless to all beings

This, friends, is Right Intention

And what is Right Speech?

  • Abstaining from lying
  • Abstaining from divisive speech
  • Abstaining from abusive speech
  • Abstaining from gossip
  • Abstaining from idle chatter

This, friends, is Right Speech.

And what is Right Action?

  • Abstaining from taking life
  • Abstaining from taking what is not freely given
  • Abstaining from sexual misconduct

This, friends, is Right Action.

And what is Right Livelihood?

  • Right Livelihood abandons dishonest livelihood.
  • Right Livelihood is honest Livelihood.

This, friends, is Right Livelihood.

And what is Right Effort?

  • Right Effort is effort developing the skillful desire and ongoing persistence to avoid unskillful qualities that are not present.
  • Right Effort is effort developing the skillful desire and ongoing persistence to to abandon unskillful qualities that are present
  • Right Effort is effort developing the skillful desire and ongoing persistence to  establish skillful qualities that are not yet present
  • Right Effort is effort developing the skillful desire and ongoing persistence to  end confusion and increase the full development of skillful qualities that are present

This, friends, is Right Effort.

And what is Right Mindfulness?

  • Right Mindfulness is remaining mindful of the body free of distraction, ardent, alert, and mindful of abandoning greed and reaction to worldly events.
  • Right Mindfulness is remaining mindful of feelings arising and passing away free of distraction, ardent, alert, and mindful of abandoning greed and reaction to worldly events.
  • Right Mindfulness is remaining mindful of mental qualities arising and passing away free of distraction, ardent, alert, and mindful of abandoning greed and reaction to worldly events.
  • Right Mindfulness is remaining mindful of the quality of mind arising and passing away free of distraction, ardent, alert, and mindful of abandoning greed and reaction to worldly events.

This, friends, is Right Mindfulness. [5]

And what is Right Meditation?

  • For one who has developed Right Meditation their concentration increases and they withdraw from the need for sensual stimulation
  • For one who has developed Right Meditation their concentration increases and they withdraw from unskillful mental qualities
  • For one who has developed Right Meditation their concentration increases and they enter and remain in the first Jhana, the first level of meditative absorption, which is joyful engagement and pleasure in the Dhamma born from withdrawal, and accompanied by directed thought and mindful evaluation.
  • For one who has developed Right Meditation their concentration increases and their directed thoughts and mindful evaluation quiets. They enter and remain in the second Jhana, the second level of meditative absorption, which is joyful engagement and pleasure born of deepening concentration free from directed thought and mindful evaluation and confident within.
  • For one who has developed Right Meditation their concentration increases and their joyful engagement fades. Equanimity arises with mindfulness of pleasure in a mind united with the body. They enter the third Jhana. The wise know this as equanimous and mindful – a pleasant abiding.
  • For one who has developed Right Meditation their concentration increases, their mind rests in equanimity, neither pleasure nor pain have a footing. They enter and remain in the Fourth Jhana. Their mindfulness and equanimity is pure, free of wrong views rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths.

This, monks, is Right Meditation.”

This is what the Buddha declared. Those gathered were gratified and delighted at his words.

End Of Sutta

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Session Four – Abandoning The cause Of Discontent: Rahogata Sutta, Ensing Fabrications Through Jhana Meditation
Samyutta Nikaya 36:11

On one occasion a certain monk went to the Buddha with a question. Upon arrival he bowed and sat to one side: Great Teacher, just now, in seclusion, the thought occurred to me ‘You speak of three types of feelings – there is a feeling of pleasure, a feeling of pain, and a feeling that is neither pleasure or pain. Then you said that whatever feeling arises, they are all stressful. In what connection did you stay this?’

“Excellent question, my friend, excellent question! I have spoken of these three feelings of pleasure, pain, and neither pleasure or pain. I have also stated that whatever feeling arises, they are all stressful. I have stated this in connection to fabrications. Fabrications are impermanent. It is the nature of fabrications to arise and pass away, to change. It is in connection to fabrications that I stated that whatever feeling arises, they are all stressful.

“Furthermore, I have also taught the step-by-step process of the cessation of fabrications:

  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the first Jhana, speech falls away. (Including internal dialogue)
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the second Jhana, directed thought and evaluation falls away.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the third Jhana, rapture falls away.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the fourth Jhana, (intentional, directed) in-and-out breathing has passed away. (The mind, now united with the body, rests in equanimity – a pleasant abiding.)
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the (fabricated) dimension of infinite space, the perception of form passes away.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the (fabricated) dimension of infinite space, the perception of form passes away.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the (fabricated) dimension of infinite consciousness, the perception of the dimension of infinite space passes away.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the (fabricated) dimension of nothingness, the perception of the dimension of infinite consciousness passes away.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the (fabricated) dimension of neither-perception nor non-perception, the perception of the dimension of nothingness passes away.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has recognized and abandoned these qualities, they have attained the  cessation of perception and feelings.
  • When these unskillful mental qualities have ended, greed, aversion, and delusion have ended.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the first Jhana, speech has been stilled.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the second Jhana, directed thought and evaluation has been stilled.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the third Jhana, rapture has been stilled.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the fourth Jhana, in-and-out breathing has been stilled.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the (fabricated) dimension of infinite space, the perception of form has been stilled.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the (fabricated) dimension of infinite space, the perception of form has been stilled.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the (fabricated) dimension of infinite consciousness, the perception of the dimension of infinite space has been stilled.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the (fabricated) dimension of nothingness, the perception of the dimension of infinite consciousness has been stilled.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the (fabricated) dimension of neither-perception nor non-perception, the perception of the dimension of nothingness has been stilled.
  • When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the cessation of perception and feelings, perception and feelings have been stilled.
  • When these unskillful mental qualities have ended, greed, aversion, and delusion have been stilled.

“Now, friend, there are these six profound calmings:

  1. When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the first Jhāna, speech has been calmed.
  2. When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the second Jhāna, directed thought & evaluation have been calmed.
  3. When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the third Jhāna, rapture has been calmed.
  4. When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the fourth Jhāna, in-and-out breathing has been calmed.
  5. When a Dhamma practitioner has attained the cessation of perception and feeling, perception and feeling have been calmed.
  6. When a Dhamma practitioner’s effluents have ended, passion has been calmed, aversion has been calmed, delusion has been calmed.”

End Of Sutta

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Session Five – Becoming Content: The Loka and Vitakkasanthana Suttas

Lokla Sutta
Udana 3:1

The newly-awakened Siddartha, now Buddha, was enjoying the peace of release. Established in concentration he observed the world around him. He noticed human beings aflame with the fires born of the defilements of passion, aversion, and deluded consciousness.

Realizing the significance of what he was seeing he thought:

“The world is aflame. Rooted in ignorance the world is afflicted by sensory contact and perceives suffering as ‘self.’ Rooted in ignorance, it misunderstands ‘self’ and becomes anything other than ‘self.’

“Becoming anything other than self, the world clings to becoming, is afflicted by becoming, and yet delights in that very becoming. Where there is delight there is fear. Where there is fear there is stress.

“The life integrated with the Eightfold Path is lived for the abandoning of becoming. Those that say that escape from becoming is by non-becoming are never released from becoming, I declare.

“Stress (Dukkha) arises in dependence on becoming ‘self.’ With the ending of clinging to ‘self’ and maintaining ‘self,’ no stress will arise.

“Look at the world: Human beings afflicted with ignorance crave for and cling to becoming. All forms of becoming, anywhere, in any way, are impermanent, stressful, always subject to change.

“Knowing this – the arising and the passing away – from Right View craving for becoming and non-becoming is abandoned.

“From the abandonment of craving for becoming and non-becoming comes unbinding. For those unbound from lack of clinging and maintaining there is no further becoming. They have conquered ignorance, completed the task, and have gone beyond becoming. (a self rooted in ignorance)

End Of Sutta

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Vitakkasanthana Sutta
Refined Mindfulness
Majjhima Nikaya 20

The Buddha was at Savatthi, in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. He addressed those assembled: “When one is intent on developing heightened mindfulness, there are five qualities of mind they should attend to:

1) When one’s thoughts are unskillful and arising from craving and delusion they should be mindful of their unskillful thoughts in order to abandon unskillful thoughts. Once unskillful thoughts have been abandoned they can now cultivate skillful thoughts guided by the Eightfold Path. With unskillful thoughts abandoned one’s mind calms and concentration increases.

2) If unskillful thoughts driven by craving and delusion arise again one should be mindful of the suffering brought by these thoughts recognizing ‘these thoughts are unskillful and will lead to more confusion, delusion, and stress.’ Being mindful of the drawbacks of unskillful thoughts these thoughts can now be abandoned. With unskillful thoughts abandoned one’s mind calms and concentration increases.

3) If unskillful thoughts driven by craving and delusion continue to arise while being mindful of the drawbacks of these thoughts one should pay no attention to these thoughts. By mindfully withdrawing attention to unskillful thoughts these thoughts are abandoned and will subside. With unskillful thoughts abandoned one’s mind calms and concentration increases.

4) If unskillful thoughts driven by craving and delusion continue to arise while being mindful of the drawbacks of these thoughts one should focus on relaxing the mental fabrications with regard to unskillful thoughts. With the intentional relaxation of mental fabrications one’s mind calms and concentration increases.

5) If unskillful thoughts driven by craving and delusion continue to arise while being mindful of relaxing the mental fabrications with regard to unskillful thoughts one should develop Right Intention in order to abandon unskillful thoughts with continued refined mindfulness. With the intentional abandonment of unskillful thoughts one’s mind calms and concentration increases.“Now when a practitioner recognizes unskillful thoughts, understands unskillful thoughts… paying no mind to unskillful thoughts… attending to the relaxing of mental fabrications with regard to those thoughts  …and using Right Mindfulness and Right Intention to steady their mind, settle their mind, unifies their mind and concentrates their mind right within… this is a person with mastery of thought sequences. This person thinks what they want whenever they want and does not think what is unskillful. This practitioner has severed craving and has brought an end to suffering and stress.”

End of Sutta

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Session Six – Understanding The Not-Self Characteristic: The Anatta-Lakkhana Sutta
Samyutta Nikaya 22.59

On one occasion the Buddha was staying at Benares, in the Deer Park at Isipatana. There he addressed the group of five (now) Bhikkhus:

“Bhikkhus, form is not-self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to suffering, and one could have it be any form desired, and stress free. Since form is not-self it leads to suffering and none can have it be any form desired and stress free.

“Bhikkhus, feeling is not-self, as perceptions are not-self. Fabrications are not-self. Consciousness is not-self. If these aggregates were self they would not lead to suffering and one could direct these aggregates as one wished. Since these are not-self they can only lead to suffering and no one can have these (aggregates) be as they wish.

“Bhikkhus, how do you perceive this: is form permanent or impermanent?” The five replied ”Impermanent, venerable Sir.”

“Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?”

“Painful, venerable Sir.”

“Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, is this fit to be regarded as: ‘This is mine, this is I, this is my self?’

“No, venerable sir.”

“Is feeling permanent or impermanent? Is perception permanent or impermanent? Are fabrications permanent or impermanent? Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?”

“All are impermanent, venerable sir.”

“Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, is this fit to be regarded as: ‘This is mine, this is I, this is my self’”?

“No, venerable sir.”

“So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever,

whether past, future or presently arisen,

whether gross or subtle,

whether in oneself or external,

whether inferior or superior,

whether far or near,

must, with right understanding how it actually is, be regarded as: ‘This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.’

“And so it follows that any kind of feeling whatever,

any kind of perception, any kind of determination,

any kind of consciousness whatever,

whether past, future or presently arisen,

whether gross or subtle,

whether in oneself or external,

whether inferior or superior,

whether far or near

must, with right understanding how it actually is, be regarded as: ‘This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.’

“Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard the truth sees in this way,

they find estrangement in form,

they find estrangement in feeling,

they find estrangement in perception,

they find estrangement in determinations,

they find estrangement in consciousness.

“When they find estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, they are liberated. When liberated, there is knowledge that they are liberated. They understand: ‘Birth is exhausted, the integrated life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.”

Now during this discourse the hearts and minds of the bhikkhus were liberated from craving, aversion, and deluded thinking.

In most translations the phrase ‘integrated life’ is referred to as ‘holy life.’ The Buddha did not intend to start a new religion. He taught an Eightfold Path to be integrated in one’s life in order to Become Buddha.

End of Sutta

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Session Seven – The Sublime Refuge of Rightly Self-Awakening
The Ratana and Bahiya Suttas

Ratana Sutta
Samyutta Nikaya 2:1

At that time the city of Vesali there was widespread famine and spreading disease. There were many dead bodies as the conditions overwhelmed the ability to properly dispose of bodies. The local citizens sought out the Buddha’s help, who was nearby in Rajagaha. The Buddha arrived in Vesali a short time later with a large number of monks, including Ananda. Just before the Buddha’s arrival, torrential rains helped the situation somewhat by cleansing the landscape of rotting corpses and clearing the air and water.

Prior to his presenting this discourse, he instructed his attending monks to walk through the city and do what they could to ease the physical suffering of the citizens and to individually present this teaching. At the formal teaching the Buddha then presented a way to bring true refuge from the stress and suffering of the world and to  put an end to all dukkha:

“May all beings assembled have peace of mind. May all beings assembled listen mindfully to these words. May you all radiate goodwill and loving-kindness to all who offer help and understanding to you. Understand this: “There is no more precious jewel, no more refuge, no more comfort, than the Buddha.  As woodland groves in the early heat of summer are crowned with blossoming flowers, so is the sublime Dhamma leading to the calm and peace of nirvana. The peerless and excellent awakened one, the teacher of true understanding, the teacher of the Noble Path is the Buddha, The one who has awakened.

“There is no more precious jewel than the teachings of the Buddha, the Dhamma. Understanding this brings true liberation and freedom. The Buddha, calm and mindful has experienced the cessation of clinging and desire. The Deathless state of nirvana has been attained. The Buddha teaches the Noble Eightfold Path that unfailingly brings concentration, liberation, and freedom. There is no more precious jewel than the Buddhadhamma.

“There is no more precious jewel than the Sangha. Understanding this brings true liberation and freedom. The virtuous ones who bring the Dhamma, they are the Jewel of The Sangha. Those with steadfast minds, free of clinging, they are the jewel of the Sangha. Those that understand with wisdom The Four Noble Truths, they are the jewel of the Sangha. Those that gain true insight and abandon self-delusion, doubt, and indulgence in meaningless rites and rituals, They are the jewel of the sangha. Those beyond despair and evil-doings, They are the jewel of the sangha. Those whose understanding arises from the support of the sangha, who can no longer conceal the truth from themselves due to the sangha, they are the precious jewel of the sangha. Those whose karma is extinguished, the future of no concern, with rebirth ending, due to the support of the sangha, this is the precious jewel of the sangha.

End Of Sutta

Bahiya Sutta
Udana 1:10

Bahiya was revered in his community as a person of great understanding. One day in seclusion Bahiya entertained the idea of whether he was an Arahant, an enlightened being, or was he lacking in some key understanding.

In meditation, a female deva told him that he was not yet an Arahant. In fact, his current practice did not have the qualities that could give rise to enlightenment. (the deva is metaphor for Bahiya’s own heightened awareness) He asked the deva (insight arose within him) if there was one in the world who knew the way to enlightenment.

The deva told Bahiya of the Arahant, a rightly self-awakened one who teaches his Dhamma. The Buddha was in Savatthi at the time. Bahiya immediately left to find the Buddha and learn the Dhamma.

He came upon a group of monks and asked if they knew where to find the Buddha. The monks told Bahiya that the Buddha was on his alms round. Bahiya went into town and came upon the Buddha. Bahiya feared impermanence and uncertainty and was concerned that he or the Buddha may die before he, Bahiya, received the Dhamma.

The Buddha was serene, at peace. Bahiya placed himself at the Buddha’s feet and asked: “Teach me the Dhamma Awakened one. Teach me the Dhamma for my long-term welfare and lasting happiness.”

The Buddha replied, “This is not the time, Bahiya, I am on my alms round.”

Bahiya pleaded “Awakened one, no one can know for sure the dangers there may be for you or for me. Teach me the Dhamma for my long-term welfare and lasting happiness.”

A second time the Buddha responded, “This is not the time, Bahiya, I am on my alms round.”

Again Bahiya pleaded “Awakened one, no one can know for sure the dangers there may be for you or for me. Teach me the Dhamma for my long-term welfare and lasting happiness.”

Finally, the Buddha relented: “I will teach you the Dhamma, Bahiya. Listen carefully to my words. Train your self in this manner: In what is seen, there is only the seen. In what is heard, there is only the heard. In what is sensed, there is only the sensed. In what is cognized, only the cognized.

This is how you should train yourself. When for you there is in what is seen only the seen, in what is heard only the heard, in what is sensed only the sensed and in what is cognized only the cognized, then Bahiya there is no you in connection with what is seen, heard, sensed or cognized, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor there nor anywhere in-between. This and only this is the end of stress and unhappiness.”

Upon hearing the words of the Buddha Bahiya’s mind cleared. Clinging and grasping, greed and aversion ended, and all self-referential views were extinguished. Bahiya awakened gaining full human maturity.

Shortly after Bahiya’s encounter with the Buddha and his enlightenment, he was attacked and killed by a cow. The Buddha, upon hearing of Bahiya’s death instructed some monks to retrieve the body, to cremate it properly and to prepare a memorial to Bahiya.

When completed the monks, knowing Bahiya’s awakening, asked the Buddha what Bahiya’s future state would be. The Buddha replied:

“Monks, Bāhiya was wise. He practiced the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma and did not pester me with issues not related to the Dhamma. Bāhiya, monks, is totally unbound.”

“Where water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing there the stars don’t shine, the sun isn’t visible. There the moon doesn’t appear. There darkness is not found. And when a sage, a brahman through great wisdom and discernment, has realized [this] for himself, then from form & formless, from bliss & pain, he is freed.”

End of Sutta

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