Venerable Khemako describes how views and opinions are quick sketches and shortcuts for the fullness of the present moment. Once we see this, we can hold our opinions more tentatively and recognize their uncertainty. He encourages us to investigate how the process of constructing opinions unfolds, and thereby providing an opportunity to see something new. (Dhamma talk recorded at Arnprior Retreat 30 November 2019. Duration 47:38)
In this question and answer session, Ajahn Viradhammo discusses how to overcome biases by opening the heart. He also describes how to be socially relevant in difficult times, while inclining the mind towards silence. He also comments on practice-related questions on using the end of the out breath and visual images arising during meditation. (Dhamma talk recorded via Zoom on 16 September 2020. Duration 38:32)
In this wrap up of the online retreat, Ajahn Viradhammo encourages us to trust in awareness, rather than defaulting to a habit of, for example worry. He explains that a willingness to witness our reaction to being in an emotionally vulnerable (but safe) situation is a form of Metta. He encourages us to use meditation as a practice of purification, where we cultivate open-hearted awareness of difficult states of mind. (Dhamma talk recorded via Zoom on 17 September 2020. Duration 30:24)
In this Question and Answer session,Venerable Khemako explains that while part of what we experience as fear is primal and rooted in our human physiology, part of the experience is rooted in a self-schema driven by desire (e.g., wish to remove perceived threats to ego). He also describes how meditation practice can help in the investigation of what triggers our unwholesome desires and mental activity. (Dhamma talk recorded via Zoom on 20 August 2020. Duration 37:14)
Ajahn Viradhammo discusses how important it is for mindfulness to be in the context of Sila (morality) and Panna (wisdom). Each has our own predicament where mindfulness is lost, and Metta (loving-kindness) supports bearing witness to difficult mind states which strengthen mindfulness and awareness. He highlights the importance of constant reflection on uncertainty and enquiry that brings the mind to silent knowing. (Dhamma talk recorded at Tisarana Monastery on 18 August 2020. Duration 37:47)
Ajahn Viradhammo makes a distinction between conventional truths and the stream of consciousness. Both are important to attend to, but witnessing where your stream of consciousness gets preoccupied is the challenge for which meditation helps you prepare. Seeing the silence behind the movement of the mind helps liberate you from Self view. (Dhamma talk recorded via Zoom on 10 July 2020.Duration 37:36)
Venerable Khemako outlines how craving to present one’s self in a certain way is common because of the pressures and reinforcement of earning a living and societal messages. He discusses how practicing the 8-fold path allows us to lift the veil on the automatic processes that generate a craving to become some ideal Self. (Dhamma talk via Zoom recorded on 16 May 2020. Duration 33:27).
Ajahn Viradhammo discusses developing receptive awareness and the cessation of mind states. He explains how witnessing one’s mental reaction to difficult people and situations inclines the mind to cessation, and to realizing that the mental reaction is not who one is. (Dhamma talk via Zoom recorded on 8 May 2020. Duration 38:31).
Ven. Khemako discusses how holding tightly to fixed views and opinions is taking refuge in the unreliable. He explains how, by framing opinions in terms of the 3 characteristics (i.e., Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta), you are taking refuge in the Dhamma. (Dhamma talk at Tisarana Monastery on 1 February 2020. Duration 27:18)
Ajahn Viradhammo describes three types of equanimity. He explains how sila and dhamma vijaya are essential to training in equanimity. (Dhamma talk recorded via Zoom on 3 July 2020. Duration 34:11)