January 31 – Closing gratitude

Dear Friends, Thank you for being part of this month-long exploration of the five faculties. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to dive deep into the topic, and I hope you found it interesting as well. Special thanks to the teachers and poets who generously post recordings (and sometimes transcripts) of their teachings online for us to follow… Read More »

January 29 – Review

Dear Friends, Over the course of the month, we have looked at each of the five faculties and their progression, as described in a series of talks from Gil Fronsdal. Whenever there are lists like this, it can feel overwhelming, like we have to study for an exam in order to pass. If that’s arising for you, please… Read More »

January 28 – From faculties to powers

Dear Friends, As Gil mentioned several times, the five faculties are capacities we all have. Through our practice we continue to strengthen them. We might start with a little faith and put in a little effort to develop some awareness, then find a little calm, and some improved discernment. This gives us more faith to put in more… Read More »

January 26 – A reference point of understanding

Dear Friends, The fifth kind of wisdom Gil discusses is what he calls liberative wisdom.https://www.audiodharma.org/talks/11207 We start practice often from a place of suffering – we initiate practice from this motivation to find freedom from suffering. As we practice, there is more clarity and we can start to distinguish what is happening. That gives us more capabilities to… Read More »

January 25 – Something gets revealed

Dear Friends, Gil’s fourth dimension of wisdom is something he calls “revelatory wisdom.” He uses this phrase because things are revealed to us as we practice.https://www.audiodharma.org/talks/11199 The calming and settling of the mind that we may experience through practice allows us to see more clearly. Something that was always there is clear. Gil uses an example of when… Read More »

January 23 – What’s happening and how we relate to that

Dear Friends, The second aspect of the faculty of paññā, wisdom, that Gil reflects on is what he calls distinguishing wisdom.https://www.audiodharma.org/talks/11182 As we start to see our experience with more clarity, we can begin to tease it apart into its component parts. Gil gives the example of getting more clarity on something like “I feel terrible.” To look… Read More »

January 22 – Wisdom that arises in the forge of suffering

Dear Friends, The fifth faculty is paññā, often translated as wisdom, and Gil offers other words like discernment or insight.https://www.audiodharma.org/talks/11407 Although the word “wisdom” may sound lofty, it’s a faculty we all possess. Gil says “as we settle in and listen deeply, … our psychophysical system will begin to discern what’s happening. We’ll begin to see more and… Read More »

January 21 – Deep equanimity

Dear Friends, Gil’s final talk on the faculty of samadhi first reminds us that this is something closer to our natural state when we relax all artifice. “We just settle into a very relaxed, deep, attentive way of being.”https://www.audiodharma.org/talks/11157 The progression discussed so far has gone from the initial ways we begin, over and over, to center the… Read More »

January 20 – A wellspring of joy

Dear Friends, Gil’s fourth talk on the faculty of samadhi considers the state of the mind “when we are fully present, fully engaged in what’s happening.”https://www.audiodharma.org/talks/11153 He talks about some of the more refined states of concentration, often called ‘absorption’ – although he clarifies that this state is not one where we are losing ourselves in the experience.… Read More »

January 19 – Everything coming together into one place

Dear Friends, Continuing the examination of samadhi, Gil brings in a couple of related words that bring out other dimensions in this practice and faculty. Rather than it being a laser-like focus, there’s a sense of “placing something together, bringing together, unifying, gathering together.”https://www.audiodharma.org/talks/11146 We can settle into our experience – gathering all the fragmented parts in our… Read More »

January 18 – Like a bee on a flower

Dear Friends, The next talk on samadhi looks at two movements of concentration practice – to initiate through connecting with an object and to engage with a sustained attention.https://www.audiodharma.org/talks/11141 The two Pali words for these are vitakka (wi-tah-kah) and vicāra (wi-chah-rah). Normally I don’t worry about the pronunciation in my writing, but Gil does a bit of play… Read More »

January 17 – Centering and letting go

Dear Friends, The fourth faculty is samadhi. This word is often translated as “concentration,” but as Gil mentions in this first talk on the topic, “it somewhat limits what samādhi means in the practice we do.”https://www.audiodharma.org/talks/11137 Gil looks at samadhi two ways: as a capacity of the mind, which can become strong as it is used, and the… Read More »