ITB-2015

Week Four

Last week we discussed the Four Noble Truths, they are:

  1. The problem.
    1. There is stress, suffering and dissatisfaction.
  2. The cause.
    1. There is a cause for stress, suffering and dissatisfaction.
  3. The prognosis.
    1. There is a cure for stress, suffering and dissatisfaction.
  4. The prescription.The four noble truths are presented by the Buddha in the form of a Doctor’s prescription. It is has been proposed that this formula was intentionally stated this way and that it is the form used by Indian traditional medicine. That form is used by Ayurvedic practitioners, when treating patients. You have an illness. The illness is caused by X. We have a treatment for that illness. This is the prescription for your treatment.  
    1. There is a prescription which can end stress, suffering and dissatisfaction.
    2. The 8 fold path.
    3. Right view
      1. "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 is called right view." DN 22
    4. Right resolve
      1. "And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill-will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve." SN 45.8
    5. Right speech
      1. "And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech." SN 45.8
    6. Right action
      1. "And what is right action? Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity. This is called right action." SN 45.8
    7. Right livelihood
      1. "And what is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This is called right livelihood." SN 45.8
    8. Right effort
      1. "And what, monks, is right effort?
      2.  "There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
      3. "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.
      4. "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.
      5. "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."  SN 45.8
    9. Right mindfulness
      1. "And what is right mindfulness? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This is called right mindfulness. DN 22
    10. Right concentration
      1. "And what is right concentration? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is called right concentration." SN 45.8
  5. The eight fold path does not require a sequential (step by step) operation. It is in fact more of an over-all and interconnected path. Each step supporting the other steps. Each of these steps is a conversation in and of themselves.

Refer to the resource document “The Noble Eight fold Path by Bhikkhu Bodhi”

  1. The threefold division of the path:
    1. [Visakha, a layman, ex-husband of Ven. Sister Dhammadinna:] "And are the three aggregates [of virtue, concentration, and discernment] included under the noble eightfold path, lady, or is the noble eightfold path included under the three aggregates?"[Ven. Sister Dhammadinna:] "The three aggregates are not included under the noble eightfold path, friend Visakha, but the noble eightfold path is included under the three aggregates. Right speech, right action, & right livelihood come under the aggregate of virtue. Right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration come under the aggregate of concentration. Right view & right resolve come under the aggregate of discernment. MN 44
  2. Right View and Right Intention (Wisdom).
    1. The Discourse on Right View_ The Sammaditthi Sutta and its Commentary
    2. Right intention (samyak-sakalpa / sammā sankappa) can also be known as "right thought", "right resolve", "right conception", "right aspiration" or "the exertion of our own will to change". In this factor, the practitioner should constantly aspire to rid themselves of whatever qualities they know to be wrong and immoral. Correct understanding of right view will help the practitioner to discern the differences between right intention and wrong intention. In the Chinese and Pali Canon, it is explained thus: And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve.
    3. It means the renunciation of the worldly things and an accordant greater commitment to the spiritual path; good will; and a commitment to non-violence, or harmlessness, towards other living beings. We will discuss the concept of the four right efforts in a later class.
    4. The two of these (Right View and Right Intention) make up the Wisdom factor of the path.
  1. Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood. (Ethical Conduct)
    1. Right Speech (Sammā Vācā) The Buddha divides right speech into four components: abstaining from false speech, abstaining from slanderous speech, abstaining from harsh speech, and abstaining from idle chatter.
    2. Right Action: A layperson's skillfulness "And how is one made pure in three ways by bodily action? There is the case where a certain person, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from the taking of life. He dwells with his rod laid down, his knife laid down, scrupulous, merciful, and compassionate for the welfare of all living beings. Abandoning the taking of what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given. He does not take, in the manner of a thief, things in a village or a wilderness that belong to others and have not been given by them. Abandoning sensual misconduct, he abstains from sensual misconduct. He does not get sexually involved with those who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man. This is how one is made pure in three ways by bodily action." AN X 176
    3. Right Livelihood: Its relation to the other factors of the path "And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood, and right livelihood as right livelihood. And what is wrong livelihood? Scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, & pursuing gain with gain. This is wrong livelihood..."One tries to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter into right livelihood: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter & remain in right livelihood: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right livelihood. "MN 117 Wrong livelihood for lay followers "A lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons (Killing or enabling to others to kill), business in human beings (Slavery), business in meat (Killing or assisting others to kill animals), business in intoxicants (The selling of alcohol and recreational drugs), and business in poison. (The taking of or enabling others to take life) " AN 5.177
  2. Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. (Concentration)
    1. Right Effort: Abandon the unskillful, develop the skillful "Abandon what is unskillful, monks. It is possible to abandon what is unskillful. If it were not possible to abandon what is unskillful, I would not say to you, 'Abandon what is unskillful.' But because it is possible to abandon what is unskillful, I say to you, 'Abandon what is unskillful.' If this abandoning of what is unskillful were conducive to harm and pain, I would not say to you, 'Abandon what is unskillful.' But because this abandoning of what is unskillful is conducive to benefit and pleasure, I say to you, 'Abandon what is unskillful.' "Develop what is skillful, monks. It is possible to develop what is skillful. If it were not possible to develop what is skillful, I would not say to you, 'Develop what is skillful.' But because it is possible to develop what is skillful, I say to you, 'Develop what is skillful.' If this development of what is skillful were conducive to harm and pain, I would not say to you, 'Develop what is skillful.' But because this development of what is skillful is conducive to benefit and pleasure, I say to you, 'Develop what is skillful.'" AN 2.19 Abandoning the wrong factors of the path "One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort... "One tries to abandon wrong resolve & to enter into right resolve: This is one's right effort. “One tries to abandon wrong speech & to enter into right speech: This is one's right effort..."One tries to abandon wrong action & to enter into right action: This is one's right effort..."One tries to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter into right livelihood: This is one's right effort." MN 117
    2. Right Mindfulness: Abandoning the wrong factors of the path "One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness..."One is mindful to abandon wrong resolve & to enter & remain in right resolve: This is one's right mindfulness..."One is mindful to abandon wrong speech & to enter & remain in right speech: This is one's right mindfulness..."One is mindful to abandon wrong action & to enter & remain in right action: This is one's right mindfulness..."One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter & remain in right livelihood: This is one's right mindfulness..."— MN 117 Like balancing a pot of oil on one's head "Suppose, monks, that a large crowd of people comes thronging together, saying, 'The beauty queen! The beauty queen!' And suppose that the beauty queen is highly accomplished at singing & dancing, so that an even greater crowd comes thronging, saying, 'The beauty queen is singing! The beauty queen is dancing!' Then a man comes along, desiring life & shrinking from death, desiring pleasure & abhorring pain. They say to him, 'Now look here, mister. You must take this bowl filled to the brim with oil and carry it on your head in between the great crowd & the beauty queen. A man with a raised sword will follow right behind you, and wherever you spill even a drop of oil, right there will he cut off your head.' Now what do you think, monks: Will that man, not paying attention to the bowl of oil, let himself get distracted outside?" "No, lord. ""I have given you this parable to convey a meaning. The meaning is this: The bowl filled to the brim with oil stands for mindfulness immersed in the body. Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will develop mindfulness immersed in the body. We will pursue it, hand it the reins and take it as a basis, give it a grounding, steady it, consolidate it, and undertake it well.' That is how you should train yourselves. "SN 47.20
  1. Right Concentration: The four developments of concentration
  2. "These are the four developments of concentration. Which four? There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here & now. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents. (1) "And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here & now? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is the development of concentration that... leads to a pleasant abiding in the here & now.  "And what is the development of concentration that... leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision? There is the case where a monk attends to the perception of light and is resolved on the perception of daytime [at any hour of the day]. Day [for him] is the same as night, night is the same as day. By means of an awareness open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision. "And what is the development of concentration that... leads to mindfulness & alertness? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness. (4) "And what is the development of concentration that... leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents. "These are the four developments of concentration." AN 4.41   Noble right concentration "Now what, monks, is noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions? Any singleness of mind equipped with these seven factors — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, & right mindfulness — is called noble right concentration with its supports & requisite conditions."— MN 117
  1. Group Discussion
    1. Question and answer session. Questions: (students are encouraged to ask any questions especially related to the class topic at this time). Some topics for discussion are also listed below.
      1. Are the steps in the path sequential?
      2. Are they related or separate?
      3. In what ways are they like a path?
      4. How might this path be travelled?

Weekly Schedule

Sunday

8.00 am - 9.00 am: Public Services in English: Such as chanting, Meditation,  Dharma discussing

10:30 am – 12.30 pm: Public Services in Vietnamese: Such as chanting, Dharma discussing (with English translator), offering to the deceased ones 

Tuesday

- English Dharma Class, open discussion.

@ Dharma Hall, Virginia Beach

1st, 2nd and 3rd Tuesdays, 7pm-8.30pm.

English Dharma Class, open discussion.

@ Pitts Center, Southern Shores, NC

4th Tuesday, 6.30pm - 8.30pm

 

Wednesday

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm: Public service in English: Chanting, meditating, Dharma discussing in English

Thursday

8:00 pm – 9:00 pm: Chanting 21 time Great Compassion Mantra (Vietnamese)

ĐÔNG HƯNG TEMPLE

423 Davis Street

Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Phone: (757) 689 - 3408

Direct: 757 - 406 - 1726 (Mr. Mark P.)

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