3 Jul
2018
Posted in: Talks
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It’s Not Just Anatomy

A few days ago I found out that — for the fourth year in a row — my name did not get chosen in the lottery to attend Ajahn Sucitto’s month-long retreat at the Forest Refuge.

Bummer.

But I consoled myself by listening to some of his recent talks on dharmaseed, where I came across this fabulous one, in which he begins by talking about using qigong as a support for the practice of mindfulness of breathing, and ends — well, in his words: “perhaps gone beyond the bounds of this particular talk.”

I highly recommend listening start-to-finish, but just to give you a hint of where he goes with this, here’s what he says at about the 31 minute mark:

“Breathing is energy. It’s not just anatomy. It’s an energy form that can be trained, moderated, and harnessed for very powerful spiritual purposes. In the Anapanisati Sutta (Teaching on Mindfulness of Breathing), it’s being used as the process of feeling the entire body, steadying and smoothing out the energies in the body. If we use more ordinary language, we might say our ‘nervous energy.’ Whether we’re jumpy, passionate, tense, or we’re experiencing a lack of energy — mindfulness of breath steadies and smooths all that.

“The Buddha says, This you do, and then you move on to the qualities of piti, which is a joyful, rapturous experience that arises when the body’s kayasankara [body energy] has been steadied. This is where the hindrances are put aside. So you experience the quality of piti — rapture, a brightened state — and then sukkha — a happy, comfortable state — and with these you also calm and steady the cittasankara — the emotional energy.

Sankara — meaning the formative quality. So with the body, it’s the formative quality that began when we were born. It’s been conditioned. It’s conditioned by birth. When you were in the womb, you weren’t doing it. As you come out, you switch it on. It’s a creation. It’s created by life itself. And it goes on until it’s finished — dead. That’s the creation of sankara.

Cittasankara is different. It’s generated. And it’s something we can moderate within this life. And in the Buddhist understanding, you can free the citta from sankara — without dying.

In fact: This Is the Deathless.”

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Want to know more? Click here to listen.

 

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