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Satipatthana Sutta, Fourth Foundation: Application of Discernment

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2011-11-08
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



Applying discernment requires an honesty of intent. That honesty is the discernment at work. If you need skillful means to help balance the energy, use it. It can be helpful to back up to the First Foundation and see how the state of mind is affecting the body. Next, move to the Second Foundation and catch the feeling tone and the accompanying story. Moving onto the Third Foundation, settle to see just what this state is in essence. Finally, apply discerning questions that pick apart the solidity and truth of the state of mind such as, “Is there space for this too?”  “Where is the “me” in this state?”


Become aware of greed and aversion at a more subtle level this week. Watch how pleasant or unpleasant feelings promote their arising. How is greed and aversion felt in the body, in the mind? How dominating is the sense of “me” when these arise? How important is it to get your way? Can they be seen lightly within the Third Foundation, as “just this?” If not, do you need to apply skillful means to alter their energy? Try interrupting the energy by pausing in your action and sitting with the state of mind. Then ask, “How is this moment incomplete?”  “What is needed to improve this moment?”  Do whatever is necessary to see the state of mind rather than to act from the state of mind.


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