Saturday, 7 March 2015

Mastery of the Mind - from a Buddhist perspective

In February Kusal Ariyawansa (aka Ari) talked to the Stockport group about Meditation and Destiny.

Ari originally came from Sri Lanka where he grew up in a traditional village with a temple at its centre, where people offered flowers and said prayers on a daily basis. Once he was living in the UK someone suggested that he go on a meditation retreat.

The retreat involved waking at 4 am to start meditating in the lotus position from 4.30 to 8.00 am. Breakfast was from 8 to 9 am during which they were taught rules such as abstaining from killing, from lying and from alcohol. Further meditation was from 9 to 11 am. Lunch was from 11am until noon but they weren’t allowed to speak. Meditation from 1 pm to 4 pm was followed by drink and food then more meditation from 6 to 8 pm. By day 6 he was having psychotic episodes with flashbacks to previous scenarios. He also experienced a great desire to sort out injustice and put the world to rights.

After a brief life history of Buddha, Ari went on to talk about Dhamma, the path to liberation. This can be considered non-sectarian for all faiths where liberation means freedom from impurities in the mind resulting in freedom from suffering. It is necessary to practice training the mind persistently, ardently and diligently and each individual has to work out his own path. It is necessary to abstain from sinful actions and pious actions can bring harmony.

He discussed a threefold pathway consisting of Seela (the right morality, involving no killing, no lies, no stealing, no sexual misconduct and no toxicants), Samaadhi (the right concentration, involving mental effort, mental awareness and a wholesome base), and Panna (Wisdom, listening to, understanding and living the wisdom).

Mind precedes everything. There are six senses; hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, touching and feeling. If one observes rather than reacts to sensations (e.g. ignoring an itch), there can be changes to patterns of mind at the deepest level.

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