Heart-Mind in Buddhism Class Resources

 

Week 1 (Oct. 23) -- Wisdom

 

Suggestions for reflection

What do you really want your life to be about? Are you living in ways that encourage those outcomes? Notice this week what keeps you from acting on your wisest intentions. 

 

You may also wish to bring mindfulness to what is motivating your actions.  Are you propelled through the day by an agenda, or are you noticing the elements of your environment with loving attention?

 

Resources

§  The Four Noble Truths, by Ven. Ajahn Sumedho (England: Amaravati Publications, 1992).  Available online at https://forestsangha.org/teachings/books/the-four-noble-truths?language=English

 

§  The Gradual Training from Anna’s talk is available at https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/index.html

 

§  When they have been uploaded, dharma talks can be found under the Talks tab in the top menu.

 

 

Week 2 (Oct. 30) — Metta


Suggestions for reflection

This week, notice those times when feelings of metta arise, both on the cushion and in your daily life, and recognize and appreciate your capacity to feel metta.  In what situations is it easy to feel kindness toward yourself or others?  In what situations is it not easy to feel kindness toward yourself or others?

 

References

§  Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville: Brahma Viharas: http://imeditation.org/BV-Series

 

§  Kamala Masters’ talks on metta and the brahma viharas: https://dharmaseed.org/teacher/99/?search=Metta

 

§  Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (1995) by Sharon Salzberg

 

§  Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha’s Words on Loving-Kindness, translated from the Pali by The Amaravati Sangha (2004): accesstoinsight.org

 

§   An excellent handout is available here.

 

Week 3 (Nov. 6) — Karuna & Mudita

 

Suggestions for reflection on Compassion/Karuna

In what situations is it easy to feel compassion for yourself or others? This week, when something painful arises, notice if you have a tendency to turn away, get angry, want to fix it, or if caring and tender attention arise.

 

Suggestions for reflection on Appreciative Joy/Sympathetic Joy/Mudita:

This week, notice when something pleasant happens to you or another.  If the pleasant thing happens to you, is there a tendency to cling and make it last longer, or is there simply a feeling of joy, gratitude, and appreciation?  If it happens to another, is there a tendency to judge, compare, blame, feel envy, or project a lack onto yourself?  Or is there simply happiness for the other person’s good fortune?  Is there spaciousness around the pleasant?  Are you able to watch its natural coming and going?

 

Resources

·      Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach

·      Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff, Ph.D. 

·      Guided meditation and dharma talk by Erik Kolvig: Guided Heart-Forgiveness-Compassion: https://dharmaseed.org/teacher/66/talk/16757/

 ·      Forgiveness meditation

(Courtesy of Eric Kolvig, Albuquerque Insight Meditation Center)

 

Get into a comfortable position.  Close your eyes.  Bring your attention to the heart energy center in the middle of your chest.  Feel whatever is there without judgment.  Breathe through the heart center.  Try to say the words of the forgiveness meditation through your heart.

 

Think of ways in which you have harmed yourself and harmed others.  It is better to begin with minor things, not the big acts of harming.  As far as you are able to do so, extend forgiveness to yourself for this harming by saying these phrases to yourself:

 

Self-Forgiveness

                                        

I allow myself to be imperfect.

I allow myself to make mistakes.

I allow myself to be a learner, still learning life’s lessons.

I forgive myself for the harm I have done to myself.

 

Forgiveness of Others

 

Just as I allow myself to be imperfect, so I allow you to be imperfect.

I allow you to be a learner, still learning life’s lessons.

I forgive you.

And if I cannot forgive you now, may I forgive you sometime in the future.

 

Asking Forgiveness from Others

 

Please allow me to be imperfect and to make mistakes.

Please allow me to be a learner, still learning.


Week 4 (Nov. 13) – Upekkha/Equanimity

 

Suggestions for reflection

What helps you be in balance? What does it feel like in the body when you’re in balance or off balance? What throws you off balance? What works for bringing you back in? How does your understanding of the Three Characteristics help you find balance? How does wisdom, seeing the nature of things, bring equanimity? What is the distinction between equanimity and indifference, and how does this distinction appear in an authentic life? 

 

References

§  Seeking the Heart of Wisdom by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield

§  It’s Easier Than You Think by Sylvia Boorstein (chapter on equanimity)

§  Article from a talk by Gil Fronsdal, May 2004:  https://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/equanimity/

§  Talk by Shaila Catherine, New Zealand, 2006: https://www.imsb.org/prev/teachings/equanimity.php

 

Equanimity phrases

·      May my heart be at ease with the inner and outer conditions of life.

·      May you learn to see the arising and passing of all things with equanimity and balance.

·      May you be open and balanced and peaceful.

·      All beings are the owners of their karma. Their happiness and unhappiness depend upon their actions, not upon my wishes for them.

·      May we all accept things as they are.

·      May we be undisturbed by the comings and goings of events.

·      I will care for you but cannot keep you from suffering.

·      I wish you happiness but cannot make your choices for you.

·      This is how things are right now.