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Fundamentals of the Dharma: Bare Attention

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2012-02-07
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



Any review of the fundamentals must go squarely through bare attention. Bare attention is the essence of our practice, and the single tool that nourishes our wisdom and understanding all along the way. “Baring” our attention is why the practice seems to take so long to mature. We are so used to looking to thought for guidance that we overlay a film of thought on our attention to give a familiar tinge to what we see. Without that film of memory there would be the simple essence of emptiness seeing itself. Many of us feel unprepared for that level of reality so we subtly think about what we see, and our thinking makes this great expanse feel safer and more manageable. Cleaning up our attention becomes our work.


What does it mean for attention to be “bare?” Bare of what? Notice the contaminating influences on your attention on and off the cushion. Notice how your opinions trump bare attention and therefore pure listening. Do you trust your opinions more than you trust awareness? How does the application of bare attention take your control and agenda away? How does it limit your story and reactivity and quiet the “I”? Work with baring your attention throughout the week.


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