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A Presentation of the Establishment of Mindfulness by Gyalwa Choky Gyaltsen
by Venerable Thubten Chodron©
Sravasti Abbey, Washington, USA
August 2010 and ongoing


Venerable Chodron is currently giving teachings on "A Presentation of the Establishment of Mindfulness by Gyalwa Choky Gyaltsen." The text is from the fourth chapter of his General Commentary to the the Ornament of Clear Realization. The Ornament of Clear Realization is by Maitreya.

Click here for the text of the teachings: A Presentation of the Establishment of Mindfulness by Gyalwa Choky Gyaltsen (pdf file)

This teaching is broadcast live on the Internet every Thursday night at 6 PM Pacific Standard Time. The teachings will continue through 2010 and will be posted below as they become available. For more information about the live broadcasts from Sravasti Abbey, click here.

5 August 2010

Venerable Chodron begins the teachings on the text by going through the text in a general way. She also talks about how the development of mindfulness is different when done in a secular way than when it is done with the Buddhist world view and motivation.
[66 minutes] : Download mp3 file

12 August 2010

Venerable Chodron gives the context for the teachings on the establishment of mindfulness. She puts them in the context of the gradual path and the Four Noble Truths. Ven. Chodron also explains what renunciation is and ways that it is misunderstood. She explains how renunciation is compassion for our self and others.
[71 minutes] : Download mp3 file

19 August 2010

Ven. Chodron talks about preparatory practices for establishing mindfulness. She explains what mindfulness is and how it is important in maintaining ethical conduct, and developing concentration and wisdom. Ven. Chodron also talks about using introspective awareness to be aware during our daily activities of what we are doing, why we are doing it and how we are doing it. She discusses the ways mindfulness can keep the mind on virtuous states and avoid non-virtuous states of mind.
[69 minutes] : Download mp3 file

26 August 2010

Ven. Chodron talks about six types of breathing meditation as preparatory practices for establishing mindfulness. These six ways of breathing meditation begin simply and get progressively more difficult. In this talk she explains the first four - counting the breath, following the breath, placing and analyzing.
[70 minutes] : Download mp3 file

2 September 2010

Venerable Chodron finishes the instruction on the 6 ways of breathing meditation. She goes on to explain the four observed objects or focal objects for the establishment of mindfulness - body, feelings, mind and phenomena.
[70 minutes] : Download mp3 file

9 September 2010

Venerable Chodron explains how we grasp at the four observed objects. She discusses the four ways of incorrect grasping that the four establishments of mindfulness are meant to counteract. Ven. Chodron then begins the commentary on the two manners of meditation, the common and uncommon manner.
[68 minutes] : Download mp3 file

16 September 2010

Ven. Chodron begins the explanation of the specific characteristics of the four objects of mindfulness. In this talk she explains the specific characteristics of the body and how to meditate on the impure nature of the body. Ven. Chodron talks about the benefits of meditating on the body.
[75 minutes] : Download mp3 file

18 November 2010

Ven. Chodron continues to discuss meditating on the body. In this talk she explains a 3 step meditation on the body as a skeleton.She explains how the meditations on the body are the antidote to desire and help to see the body in a realistic way. It also helps us to see the body as impermanent, in the nature of dukka and lacking an essence. Ven. Chodron then discusses meditation on feelings. She gives ways that we can look at our feelings - pleasant, painful and neutral - and our reaction to them to see how they can dominate our life.
[65 minutes] : Download mp3 file

25 November 2010

Ven. Chodron talks about mindfulness of feelings - pleasant, unpleasant and neutral - and how they run our lives while we are oblivious to it. She explains how they correlate to the three types of dukka. Ven. Chodron explains how we think that our pain comes from a truly external situation, but it does not. Our reaction to a feeling and the mental story we create about it leads to the experience of pain. Ven. Chodron goes on to explain how to look at the causes, characteristics and results of the three types of feelings.
[66 minutes] : Download mp3 file

2 December 2010

Ven. Chodron continues the commentary on mindfulness of feelings. In this talk she explains how we are dominated by reactivity to our feelings. Ven. Chodron discusses how to use mind training to change the we way react to pleasant and unpleasant feelings. She explains how feelings produce craving and how craving leads to clinging. Ven. Chodron describes the first two of the four ways of clinging, clinging to desirable objects and clinging to wrong views.
[68 minutes] : Download mp3 file

9 December 2010

Ven. Chodron concludes the section on mindfulness of feelings. She explains the last two types of clinging, clinging to bad ethics and clinging to the view of the self. Ven. Chodron goes on to explain how mindfulness of feelings can help to see that they lack any real essence. She also describes how meditating on feelings can stop attachment and anger and see that feelings are not a source of happiness.
[64 minutes] : Download mp3 file

16 December 2010

Ven. Chodron begins the commentary on mindfulness of the mind. She explains how examining the mind reveals that there is no solid, independent thing that is the mind. Ven. Chodron also outlines the 51 mental factors with a brief definition of each.
[66 minutes] : Download mp3 file

23 December 2010

Ven. Chodron completes the discussion of mental factors with the explanation of the 20 auxiliary afflictions. She goes on to explain how to be mindful of the mind. Ven. Chodron also explains how mindfulness of the mind can be beneficial at the time of death.
[64 minutes] : Download mp3 file

30 December 2010

Venerable Tarpa teaches on the mindfulness of the body. She explains the purpose of mediating on the body and how it can lead to a more realistic view of our body. Ven. Tarpa talks about how mindfulness of the body can decrease attachment to the body, our own and others. She explains how to meditate on the body by looking at its parts.
[69 minutes] : Download mp3 file

6 January 2011

Ven. Chodron continues the commentary on the mindfulness of the mind. She explains the three ways to meditate on the mind. Ven. Chodron also explains how using analysis and meditation to look at the mind weakens the view of the mind as being the real self. She also explains how the mind is so reactive to sense objects and feelings that we never see even the actual conventional nature of the mind. She talks about how we can decrease this reactivity and allow the actual conventional nature of the mind arise.
[67 minutes ] : Download mp3 file

13 January 2011

Ven. Chodron leads a discussion on the questions she posed covering the material covered so far. In this talk she goes over the first six:

1. Why are the body, feelings, mind, and phenomena selected as objects to establish mindfulness on? What do these 4 establishments of mindfulness prevent childish sentient beings from grasping? How does preventing that lead to liberation?

2. How does the way hearers and solitary realizers meditate on the 4 establishments of mindfulness differ from the way bodhisattvas meditate on them?

3. What is the correspondence between the 4 establishments of mindfulness, the 4 distortions, and the 4 Noble Truths?

4. Name 3 meditations that are included in mindfulness on the body.

5. Describe the three meditations on a skeleton, i.e. describe the steps involved in these meditations.

6. Why are the meditations on the foulness of the body done? What is a healthy relationship to have with our body?

[60 minutes ] : Download mp3 file

20 January 2011

Ven. Chodron continues the discussion of the questions she posed on the four establishments of mindfulness. In this talk she leads the discussion on questions 7 through 9.

7. How do the three feelings relate to the three types of dukkha?

8. Describe some of the ways to meditate on mindfulness of the feelings.

9. What are the three types of craving and how do they relate to the three types of feeling? Make an example of each type of craving in your life.

[60 minutes] : Download mp3 file

27 January 2011

Ven. Chodron finishes the discussion of the quiz with the last question - What is the purpose of meditating on mindfulness of feelings? Ven. Chodron goes on to talk about the ways to meditate on the mind. She also explains the benefits of mindfulness of the mind.
[66 minutes ] : Download mp3 file

3 February 2011

Ven. Chodron begins the commentary on the mindfulness of phenomena listing the phenomena to be abandoned and those to be adopted. She goes on to explain ways to meditate on the mindfulness of phenomena. Ven. Chodron also answers questions including, "Is the mind a product of the chemical processes of the brain?
[65 minutes ] : Download mp3 file

10 February 2011

Ven. Chodron discusses the meditations on mindfulness of phenomena. She also reviews the general characteristics of the four objects - body, feelings, mind and phenomena. Ven. Chodron then begins the commentary on the uncommon manner of meditation on the four objects - how the paths of solitary realizers and hearers differ from those on the Bodhisattva path.
[65 minutes] : Download mp3 file

17 February 2011

Ven. Chodron discusses points 3 through 6 in the text outline: the reason for meditation on the four objects, the nature of the establishment of mindfulness, the divisions and boundary. She explains how mindfulness of the four objects correlates with the realization of the Four Noble Truths and overcoming the four distortions.
[66 minutes] : Download mp3 file

24 February 2011

Ven. Chodron continues the commentary on the four establishments of mindfulness. In this talk she goes on to points 7 and 8 of the text outline: etymology and making the establishments of mindfulness a Mahayana practice. She explains that arrogance in regard to Mahayana practice should be avoided and that one should respect those of other traditions. Ven. Chodron explains that the Bodhisattva learns to teach to all types of practitioners in what ever way that is best for them at the time. She also answers questions including how mindfulness is not simply bare awareness or eliminating thoughts.
[62 minutes] : Download mp3 file

3 March 2011

Ven. Chodron completes the text by going over outline points 9 through 14. She goes on to share advice from Geshe Sonam Rinchen on how to practice the four establishments of mindfulness.
[69 minutes] : Download mp3 file

10 March 2011

Ven. Chodron continues to share the advice from Geshe Sonam Rinchen. She also shares his comments on how to measure progress in practicing the four establishments of mindfulness. Ven. Chodron explains how we usually view how things arise, abide, age and disintegrate. She explains how to analyze this sequence to get a more accurate view.
[64 minutes] : Download mp3 file

17 March 2011

Ven. Chodron begins the commentary on the subtle four establishments of mindfulness taken from Chapter 9 of Shantideva's "Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds". She explains verses 79 to 80 which are on mindfulness of the body. She also explains what it means for something to exist dependently and why things cannot exist independently.
[67 minutes] : Download mp3 file

24 March 2011

Members of the Abbey community go over the answers to the second quiz by Ven. Chodron on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness. In this talk the first four questions are covered.

1. What is the meaning of mindfulness? Is it the same as bare attention? Give example of how to use it in daily life and in meditation.
2. What is introspective awareness. Give example of how to use it in daily life and in meditation.
3. What are the six stages of meditation on the breath from Treasury of Knowledge?
4. What is the mind? What are the divisions of the mind? What is the ultimate nature of the mind?
[60 minutes] : Download mp3 file

31 March 2011

Members of the Abbey community go over the answers to the second quiz by Ven. Chodron on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness. In this talk questions 5 thorough 9 are covered.

5. Describe the ways to meditate on the mindfulness of the mind.
6. How does being aware of the subtle impermanence of the mind reduce fear at the time of death?
7. How does meditating on the mindfulness of the mind lead to understanding true cessations?
8. What does “phenomena” principally refer to in mindfulness of phenomena and why?
9. How do we meditate on the mental factors?
[65 minutes] : Download mp3 file

7 April 2011

Ven. Chodron completes the second quiz by going over answers to questions 10 and 11:

10. How does meditating on mindfulness of phenomena lead to understanding true path?
11. How does the way hearers and solitary realizers meditate on the four establishments of mindfulness differ from the way bodhisattvas meditate on them? How is the bodhisattva way of meditating on them superior?

Ven. Chodron then resumes the commentary on the subtle four establishments of mindfulness taken from Chapter 9 of Shantideva's "Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds". She explains verses 81 to 83 on mindfulness of the body. She explains how the body exists as a single, whole unit only as a concept and label.
[68 minutes] : Download mp3 file

14 April 2011

Ven. Chodron continues the commentary on the subtle four establishments of mindfulness from Shantideva's chapter 9. In this talk she goes over verses 83 to 87. She explains how analyzing how the body is a collection of parts helps to see how it does not exist inherently but does exist conventionally. Ven. Chodron also explains what is meant by saying something exists by being merely named.
[60 minutes] : Download mp3 file

21 April 2011

Ven. Chodron continues the commentary on the subtle four establishments of mindfulness from Shantideva's chapter 9. Here she covers verses 87 to 91. Ven. Chodron explains how attachment and aversion to feelings motivate us all day long. That we try to arrange our environment to bring pleasant feelings and avoid unpleasant feelings. She explains how contemplating the mode of existence of feelings can decrease attachment and aversion. Ven. Chodron also explains how feelings involve an agent, object and action.
[67 minutes] : Download mp3 file

28 April 2011

Ven. Chodron continues with the commentary on Shantideva's verses. In this talk she covers verses 92 to 99 on the subtle mindfulness of feelings. She explains the emptiness of feelings and also the emptiness of contact. She talks about how we are run by our craving for feelings, but by seeing how they dependently originate we no longer have to be.
[61 minutes] : Download mp3 file

5 May 2011

Ven. Chodron concludes the commentary on the subtle four establishments of mindfulness from Shantideva's chapter 9. In this talk she covers verses 100 to 105. She explains Shantideva's verses on mindfulness of feelings, the mind and phenomenon.
[66 minutes] : Download mp3 file

19 May 2011

Ven. Chodron and students review the final quiz on the four establishments of mindfulness.
1. What does Shantideva’s explanation of the four establishments of mindfulness emphasize that is not emphasized by the previous explanation? Why is this important?
2. Describe how Shantideva refutes the inherent existence of the body.
3. Why would something that exists inherently be permanent? What are the ramifications of an inherently existent object being permanent?
4. Why isn’t the collection of the parts of the body a body?
5. Does Shantideva’s question, “Then what is a male and what is a female?” change your ideas of sex and gender? How?
6. What is similar in imputing “body” to the parts of the body and imputing “person” to a mannequin? What is the difference between these two cases?
7. What are the agent, object, and action regarding feelings? How are they dependent on each other?
8. Give three reasons why pleasure and pain aren’t real.

[62 minutes] : Download mp3 file

26 May 2011

Ven. Chodron goes over questions 8 and 9 from quiz #3.
8. Give three reasons why pleasure and pain aren’t real.
9. What is the ignorance that is the root of cyclic existence? Why is it important to eradicate it? How does wisdom cut this root?

[66 minutes] : Download mp3 file

2 June 2011

Ven. Chodron teaches about the importance of thinking about the disadvantages of self-centered thought and the benefits of cherishing others. She then finishes going over the last 2 questions from quiz #3.
10. What is the argument refuting partless particles in terms of the sense powers and their objects?
11. In terms of true existence, why can’t a consciousness perceive an object that occurred before it? At the same time as it? After it? How does a consciousness perceive an object conventionally?

[63 minutes] : Download mp3 file

 

 

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