Category Archives: Jan 2018

January 27 – Seven positive qualities (part 2)

Dear Friends, I’m on retreat until Tuesday afternoon, but I’ve queued up some emails to keep you inspired while I’m away. Yesterday, we looked at the first three of the seven factors: mindfulness, investigation, and energy. Today, we’ll look at the next three: joy, tranquility, and concentration. Joy As our mindfulness deepens, we investigate, and then that rouses… Read More »

January 26 – Seven positive qualities

Dear Friends, I’m on retreat until Tuesday afternoon, but I’ve queued up some emails to keep you inspired while I’m away. Bhante Gunaratana starts chapter 12 of The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English with the Gilana Discourse. One of the Buddha’s senior pupils was very ill, so the Buddha went to visit him and asked how he was… Read More »

January 25 – Perception and the breath

Dear Friends, Body, feelings, thoughts, hindrances, aggregates… That’s a lot of things to think about. But it all starts simply. Bhante Gunaratana has this simple reminder about perception of breathing: When you breathe mindfully, you see the arising, existing, and passing away of the form of the breath, or breath-body, immediately as it happens. In the same way,… Read More »

January 24 – Noticing the about-to moment

Dear Friends, The next aspect of phenomena we are invited to investigate are what are called the “aggregates” – a way of describing the kinds of “stuff” that make up our experience. The list of aggregates is: material form – like your body and the things your body senses (sights, sounds, etc.) feeling tone – as we already… Read More »

January 22 – Your meditation is always successful

Dear Friends, As we enter into the fourth week of our daily emails, our focus now moves to the fourth way of establishing mindfulness, mindfulness of dhammas, which can be translated as mindfulness of phenomena or “stuff”. As Mark Coleman explains in a lecture from Essential Buddhist Teachings, The other three [ways of establishing mindfulness] – we were… Read More »

January 20 – Working with mental states

Dear Friends, Joseph Goldstein has said, “For the purpose of meditation, nothing is particularly worth thinking about.” This means thoughts can come and go as they wish, but we don’t need to become involved with them. (Joseph also says, “it’s simple, but it’s not easy.”) Bhante Gunaratana lists five ways to work with mental states, based on the… Read More »

January 19 – Recognition without self-deception

Dear Friends, Chapter 9 of The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English is titled “Mental States”, and it delves into the specifics from the discourse, where we are instructed to know whether the mind is greedy or not greedy hate or not hateful deluded or not deluded contracted or distracted (or not) great or narrow surpassable or not… Read More »

January 18 – Two kinds of thought

Dear Friends, Bhante Gunaratana started chapter 8 with a recounting of the Two Kinds of Thought discourse, where the Buddha described a way we can classify and reflect on thoughts: Suppose I divide my thoughts into two classes. On one side, I set thoughts of sensual desire, ill will, and cruelty. On the other side, I set thoughts… Read More »

January 17 – Luminous is this mind

Dear Friends, We will spend the next few days looking at the third way of establishing mindfulness – mindfulness of mind. In Chapter 8 of The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante Gunaratana first explores the nature of mind and consciousness. First a side-note: “mind” in this context is a translation of the Pali word citta, and it… Read More »