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February 2019
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Vipassana Meditation Wednesday 5-12-2018- Building Sustainable Practice Book Contemplation - Day 68 Tuesday 4-12-2018 - Mindful Activity Book Contemplation - Day 67
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Vipassana Meditation

Wednesday - Building Sustainable Practice

1. Building Sustainable Practice

that the way we work with the samatha techniques is quite different to
the method in vipassanā meditation. In the samatha techniques we are
aiming for one-pointedness upon the object of our meditation (the
breath, lovingkindness, etc.). Anything else which arises is to be
gently acknowledged and then we let it go and return to our meditation
object. We do not observe the nature of what arises. Our only job is to
stay with the object of our meditation. We work with discipline on
refining our concentration upon the object which we have chosen.

vipassanā meditation we work in a different way: everything which
arises is our object of meditation. In the sweeping form we have chosen
to concentrate on physical sensations up to this point, but we could
equally well have used anything else which arose. In Choiceless
Awareness we have allowed ourselves the freedom to work with all
phenomena - physical, mental, emotional. Ignoring nothing. Seeing all
conditioned phenomena as it is: impermanent, ultimately unsatisfactory,
not-self. The degree of focus and commitment to the practice is the same
but our object of meditation constantly changes.


each need to take some decisions about how we should proceed with our
meditation practice. Our lifestyles and responsibilities vary enormously
so no one solution will be applicable to us all. Hopefully the course
has given an idea of the variety of useful practices which can be
incorporated into our lives and has also placed a firm emphasis on
working in a balanced way. Not stressing this, not avoiding that. We
have also been very careful to emphasise that there is no one pure
“magic” technique which will bring us to enlightenment. We are complex
beings with varying needs. If we work with dedication and take
responsibility for our own development we will find that there are many
practices which are useful. The Pāli Canon and the great commentaries
offer outlines of a range of practices which will reward further
attention. There are many excellent teachers both within the Sangha and
amongst the laity whose understanding of the Dhamma can help us.


have seen that the Buddhist path can be encapsulated in the terms sila,
samādhi and pañña. The very foundation of this path rests with sila. It
is unlikely that we will find meditation effective unless we ground
ourselves in moral or virtuous behaviour. It is a question of behaving
ethically and with consideration for the welfare of ourselves and all
other sentient beings. It is not only Buddhism which stresses this
fundamental need to look to the wholesomeness of our actions - all
religions and most philosophical systems consider ethical behaviour to
be essential to progress and a happier life. In Buddhism we place
emphasis on the skilful action of body, speech and mind. Usually for lay
people the Five Precepts are deemed to be the accepted training rules
to which we should adhere. They can be followed with increasing degrees
of commitment as our practice deepens. We can also choose to adopt the
Eight Precepts on occasions such as whilst on retreat or on the
Observance Days. Consider your commitment to the precepts. Try to adopt
them - one by one if need be - and you will soon see their value.


the precepts we can choose to develop the Paramis - the Perfections. We
can realign our behaviour to err on the side of actions which benefit
rather than hinder the happiness of others. Learning to practice
gratitude or generosity is a beautiful way of leading by example. We
become secure in the knowledge that we act only with goodwill. This
brings greater happiness now and in the future for ourselves and those
with whom we associate. Extending the values to which we subscribe in
our brahma vihāra meditations to our interactions with others in daily

Contemplation - Day 68

401. Like
water on a lotus leaf,

mustard seed on a needlepoint;

who does not cling to sense pleasure -

I call a brahmin.

402. Realizing
in this life

destruction of sorrow;

laid the burden aside,

freed -

I call a brahmin.

403. With
profound knowledge, wise,

the right and wrong path,

reached the highest goal,

I call a brahmin.

404. Unattached
to householders

ascetics alike,

without abode,


I call a brahmin.

405. Having
renounced violence

weak or strong,

harming nor killing,

I call a brahmin.

406. Friendly
amongst the hostile,

amongst the violent,

amongst the attached,

I call a brahmin.

Last modified: Thursday, 12 January 2017, 7:15 pm

Tuesday - Mindful Activity

1. Mindful Activity

“The doer of good delights here and hereafter;

he delights in both worlds.

The thought, ‘Good have I done’, delights him,

and he delights even more

when gone to realms of bliss.”

- Dhammapada 18

meditative mind can also be brought to our daily activities off the
cushion. It is here that we set up the conditions that enable us to
achieve calmness and tranquillity and which give us an opportunity to
act in a beneficial way in relation to others.

It is a common fallacy
that our practice is only what takes place in the rarefied atmosphere of
our formal sessions or on retreat.

Nothing could be further from the
truth. It is important that in our daily activities we remain mindful
and that we treat people with respect and kindness.

It is unlikely that a
‘nasty boss’ will get very far in his meditation sessions if he behaves
unethically during the rest of his waking hours.

Try sending mettā to
someone you have just intentionally wronged - fairly impossible isn’t
it? Wouldn’t it be better to have treated them well in the first place?

have looked at the Five Precepts and it is essential that an ethical
code such as this governs our actions. We may be unable to commit wholly
to it at this stage but gradually we can extend our observance of each

They are not commandments or eternal laws; they are simply ways
of training our behaviour in order that we can make the best decisions
about our actions.

Secure in this background we can act skilfully rather
than unskilfully in every aspect of our lives.

addition to behaving ethically we can introduce an attitude of
mindfulness into our daily activities. At particular moments during the
day we can decide to give our whole attention to whatever we are doing.

This is part of living an examined life and is very useful in
establishing a consistent approach to our development.

Naturally it is
more difficult to be wholly mindful of an activity in daily life than to
be mindful of the breathing in meditation but it is possible.

with simple activities and take care about how you carry them out. Don’t
expect to be able initially to retain complete concentration on the
activity but give it a try. Begin with just a few things and increase
them gradually.

Don’t become annoyed when distractions and interruptions
inevitably occur. Work with a sense of wonder: even the simplest tasks
will interest you. Give them your full attention.

addition to the formal practice I would like you to try incorporating
two exercises into your daily routine this week to extend mindfulness:

1. Mindful Activity

a simple activity that you carry out each day. Maybe washing the
dishes, getting dressed, or tidying your home. Use the same activity
each day. Whichever activity you have chosen resolve to give your whole
attention to it.

As in meditation, when the mind wanders from the
activity bring it back to the job in hand. Be wholly with the activity,
however mundane. Stop planning, fantasising, remembering.

Do the
activity for the sake of doing it - not to get it over with. Know it
intimately. Bring mindfulness to carrying out the task. Work with the
same activity each day.

2. Reconnecting

an object or sound with which you come into contact several times each
day. It could be a bunch of keys, a pen, a door-handle, or the sound of
the telephone ringing.

you come into contact with that object or sound stop for a moment and
be aware of the breath as it enters the body. Another alternative is to
mentally note “May all beings be happy” each time you become aware of
the object or sound you have chosen.

Use these two exercises in addition
to your formal meditation for the next week as a way of extending the
process of developing mindfulness to our mundane activities.

Contemplation - Day 67

397. Having
cut off all fetters,

beyond attachment,

unbound -

I call a brahmin.

398. Having
cut the strap and thong,

rope and bridle;

removed the bar

- awakened -

I call a brahmin.

399. Enduring
abuse, flogging

punishments without anger;

- most effectively - by patience:

I call a brahmin.

400. Free
from anger;


from craving, self-controlled,

bearing his final body -

I call a brahmin.

Last modified: Thursday, 12 January 2017, 7:13 pm

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