2021-08-22-Inner Silence and the Five Faculites
6:26PM Aug 22, 2021
I'll continue with what. I'll give the talk I was thinking about giving. And it's been on my mind for a few days, and the topic is the five faculties. But as for introducing the five faculties, I want to read a story from my little book the Monastery Within.
The title is Noise and Silence. The monastery work leader always appeared peaceful. This was not so unusual among the monks and nuns of the monastery. He was unique, however, in that he remained peaceful and calm, even when the monastery was at its busiest. For example, when large crowds of people visited to celebrate the Buddha's birthday. If a person was needed to visit the hustle and bustle of the local market town, this was the monk the minor monastery usually sent. When asked how he managed to remain peaceful, he said, I entered the monastery for peace and quiet. I spent years in the harried world of commerce, and people I longed for the silence of the monastery was rumored to have, I was delighted. With my first weeks in the monastery, the silence was exquisite. However, as I settled into the silence of the place, I was shocked to learn how noisy my own mind was, the real noise was within, it was the buisiness of my own mind that oppressed me, not the noise and activity of the world. Now, it doesn't matter where I go, I carry the silence with me. So part of the noise of the mind is all the thinking that goes on the swirl of thoughts and images that goes on in the mind and, and know when those are strong, and we are somehow obsessed with it or swept away in those thoughts and concerns. It's almost like losing our life. And when we stop being obsessed and swept along by the current of thinking, it's kind of like getting the life back. And for some people, meditation is maybe one of the primary places where they get their life back. Because in meditation, the mind quiets. And there were not so we learn, to let go of our preoccupation with thoughts are being pulled away in them, and the mind begins, starts to become quieter, and Stiller and, and doesn't necessarily mean that thoughts have to go away. But that but that it feels like their silence, feels like there is a piece a piece there as well. So the Day of Silence in meditation, the idea of is the reference point for how I want to teach today about the five faculties. And so, the background for this talk, is the idea that when the Buddha before the Buddha was awakened, he went and studied with two spiritual teachers of his time, and they were kind of meditation teachers. Or they, they their access to the truth that they were teaching their teeth there was through meditation. But first he learned the teachings of these teachers, and he learned them well. And he became, together with others who had learned those teachings he kind of mastered the teachings. And, and he assumed, and this is an amazing story. He assumed that he now knew and saw what was true. But he actually he didn't. He just learned the teachings. But sometimes teachings can be so compelling, and know so kind of enlightening the teachings that people sometimes confuse a cognitive understanding of this life with is a deeper, deeper life that is, has to do with a kind of a more silent knowing of silent seeing of what's happening here. So then he went to those teachers and he said, you know, is how do I have access to really know and see, oh, really to know and see what, what you're teaching. And so they explained to him, they taught him the kind of meditation practice they were teaching. Both of them are kind of meditation practices where you really kind of disappear
from this world, world of senses and experience. And one of them is it in a meditation state of nothingness, where you're dip into a place of tremendous nothing is there just absence. And the second one talk a little bit further along that, that even the perception of absence kind of disappears. And there's a very so rarefied, so simple. So a lack of input on the mind, the mind is very, very still and peaceful. But the Buddha thought that this is not, this is not freedom. And then he had a realization or had every for self reflection, that he had five qualities that he could rely on to find his way. He had faith. When usually called faith, he had confidence. He had courage, he had the capacity to bring attention to his experience. And he had ability to be centered in his experience. And he had the ability to be discerning to see clearly what's going on here and differentiate between what's happening. And these are my translation for the day for the five faculties, usually translated as faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. And now, faith, because sometimes it assumes to be a kind of a faith in something like in teachings, and a teacher or something. This is not what the Buddha had faith in at this point. But rather, he had confidence in his himself. And so he was able then to go to meditate and call on this confidence. And he didn't know what the truth was, he didn't know what liberation was yet, he just knew that that's what he was pursuing. And so not knowing where this is going nothing of a teacher to, to accompany on the path or point about the pitfalls of the path and keep him on track. He was on his own. So it took courage, not just energy, but real courage. And then certainly took mindfulness but probably took a real sense of presence with all the attentional faculties, that he had to engage attentively with what's happening. And then the concentration part was to be centered to be one pointed, or one centered, really, here centered, and then to be discerning. Now, each of these five could be seen without why I started with this digital teaching about silence. One reference point for understanding how to evoke these in support, have the support meditation practice, is to evoke them in such a way that they help the mind become silent, to quiet the mind. So this confidence is not to stare us steer us up, or faith and others steer us up with beliefs, ideas and thoughts about what we have confidence in faith in, but rather a kind of embodied confidence with allows the anxious mind the planning mind, the confused, mind, obsessed mind to quiet down, almost as if the thinking is not really needed much. What's needed is, is the mind to become still and silent, silent from his chatter, silence from its inner inner noise that spins around. So to call on a confidence to sit here and become still quiet, and to have the courage to do so. The poll and the authority of our concerns, the things we're anxious about the things that we resentful for, the things that we want. Thoughts about me, myself and mine. These have a lot of authority and people are often quite ready to defend them how important they are, and then how can I be safe? How can I find my way in my life, unless I engage in these kinds of authoritative kind of thoughts, which just do if we're engaged with them, or just more, no Boys. And so to have the courage for in men, at least in meditation, to not pursue a career, not pursue and fix a relationship, not to be worried about the future,
not to be caught up in what's happened in the past. All those things are appropriate at times, there's a time and season for all those kinds of thinking about the future, the past our desires, the problems we have in our life, but it takes a kind of courage to not succumb to them to not get sucked into them. But to have the courage to really sit Okay, now's the time to be here, silent and still. And then attention to do so with attention, attentiveness. And attentiveness that kind of partakes through the silence. So it's not attentiveness, that is thinking about what's happening. Some people confuse mindfulness with with with thoughtfulness. And there's a kind of a thinking, what's happening in the present moment, but an attempt to a silent attentiveness to enter into that the silence that is not the lack of sounds. But rather, it's a ability to be more attuned, more sensitive, to take in all the data that's happening. And then, and then the, the support that being centered in our experience, gives to being silent, the ability to just be within the middle of our experience, and find a place of center. It could be the object of concentration, it could be the belly as it moves, the sensations of the breathing someplace in the body, and tip of the nose, but isn't so much that we're focusing, like from the control tower, on to this singular place of attention. It's kind of more like where they were composing ourselves on it's a composure, a centeredness. Some people like the word become grounded in this. And so like, his composure, grounded, centered pneus is an embodied experience where all of us is here present. And then this discernment and wisdom faculty, in the service of silence, in the service of differentiating and seeing, although now I'm getting obsessed with thoughts. Now I'm involved with the noise and contributing to the agitation of the mind. What is it if I turn my attention and keep it in the realm of what's quieting and stilling the silence was part of the function of wisdom is to see and discern and work with the other four faculties. So one way to understanding these five faculties is that they are not separate from each other isn't like five separate capacities. But rather, there's a way in which, when the when what we're doing is attentive, as silent attentiveness. They actually are five facets of the same jewel, the jewel of stillness, the jewel of silence, the jewel of kind of peace. And so it's possible in meditation to go through kind of like a checklist, and check in with oneself. Where's my confidence and to evoke it if necessary, but not don't evoke it with thoughts and ideas? But where is there an embodied feeling of confidence that allows something to be still and quiet. And, you know, embodied feelings are not thoughts. And so they don't partake of the world of chatter, of noise, but to feel the silent quality of embodiment, an embodied sense of confidence, maybe a strength that's there. And then the embodied quality of courage. So not talking yourself into being courageous, being strong and you did take dedication, but, but a courage to allow yourself to be do allow yourself to be silent. And this is probably takes a lot of courage. Because sometimes the
forces of concerns that we have are important that sometimes they're they have tremendous power and strength themselves so much though that if we try to sit still is it quiet, we might get very restless or anxious, angry, all kinds of things can happen that because we're up meeting and confronting these deep kind of operating systems or conditioning that that sometimes had been formed over a difficult lifetime. But what is the courage that allows us to sit still and quiet? And I love the fact that courage comes from the French word heart curl. And that that not only is a courage, but maybe courage comes with or with compassion, with heartfelt pneus with care? And then attentiveness, what's the attention that is left? Or that which has a chance to shine? When we're still in quiet? If we're not distracted by thoughts? If we're not busy talking to ourselves? What attention appears? It's kind of like if the curtains have been pulled, we don't see outside. And then if we pull the curtains, what do we see outside? How's the weather changed? And what do we notice? So this silent attentiveness is the attention that is left, when the mind is silent. And rather than being so much something that we have to apply and do, do the mindfulness, it's more of a allowing of that attentiveness, the natural attend whatever attentiveness is for you at any given time. When the mind is allowed to be quiet enough, still enough, receptive enough to, for the attentiveness to surface and be there. It's very hard not to be attentive not to be aware, not to know what's happening. If the mind is quiet, and still and alert, and that's why the courage and the strength, the confidence, brings that alertness and then the centeredness system that provides stability that provides steadiness. And, and what is the steadiness, stability, centeredness, groundedness, that you can feel your way to when the mind starts becoming quiet and still. And, and then the discernment again, the recognizing that keeping the attention noticing these things, so going through the checklist and saying, oh, here's my confidence, here's my courage, or my strength. Here's my attention. This is attentiveness. Here is stability, steadiness, centeredness. And here is the servant, the understanding that seeing clearly, and perhaps in going through that, rather than thinking of each of them as being separate, they're each part and parcel of this quality of attentiveness, quality of it all kind of one big package of one thing. So a jewel that has, you know, five sides, and depending on what side you're looking at, you see a different quality. So they're not these, the qualities are not distinct practices. But they're things that are there when we are stapley attentive, here. It's kind of like, if you maybe, you know, if you've been on a train for a long, long time and checking on the train shaking on the train, and, you know, you have to kind of get you're balancing it all the time. And then you come out of the train and you're no longer cooped up and you no longer on this moving vehicle. And you open up onto the you know, maybe it's a a train stop in some rural place where open skies and Westfields and you come down on the and you're, and you're just it's so good to be now on solid ground. And, and maybe that sense of stability and solidness and space and a lightness and attentiveness is all one thing. It's being it's a very experiencing of all the ones isn't like we're a rock Developing each one then by itself. So the Buddha before he went after he left his
teachers, he called on these five qualities that he had to support him in sitting still and quiet. And, and delving deeply into his, you know, the realms of freedom of letting go of being here, and seeing clearly, and knowing clearly, what's this lived life is, and I think of the Buddha's liberation is as giving him life. And, and if we get caught up in too many thoughts and preoccupation, we kind of lose a life. And then the dhammapada, it says this, kind of to paraphrase it wildly, that to spend too much time distracted and obsessing and thoughts, for it can be as if we're already dead. But to really show up and be attentive is to never die. Something like that. So in these last minutes of the sitting of this talk, what I'd like to do is to suggest we do a short, maybe five minute meditation. And, and I will name each of these five faculties. And see if you have any reference point for how each of these faculties each of these sides of the jewel can support you to become quiet, I kind of inner silence. That doesn't have to be 100%, quiet of thoughts. But a kind of silence that allows the thoughts to be there without you being obsessed. And it might not be that you have direct access today. But to kind of feel in and imagine maybe something some point in your life you Something happened or some contact or these things that can be a reference point for you about how these five faculties support you and becoming still and quiet. So if you're comfortable with with it, you can close your eyes. And if you are sitting, you might sit up a teeny bit a little bit straighter than you are. Especially if you're, you know, listening casually in the couch or something, sit up straighter. Because you want to find a way see this is an embodied practice we're doing here. We're the embodiment of these qualities, is what supports the silence. If we have to think about them, then maybe we get more noise
as you exhale for next three exhales allow yourself to relax, alert and relax to settle in, quiet down.
And then to hear these words, the the names for each of the faculties and maybe not think about it so much but feel your way. Is there some embodied quality that some place in your body with these qualities live or some weight you associated with bodily feelings that if you center yourself on them they support more silence quiet
So the first is confidence. Is there any confidence already in you? confidence in the in your capacity for a few minutes to just sit, to be still to be quiet.
Is there a courage to show up for what's here to be present for you this experience now? Your embodied experience courage which is calming, steadying
courage that helps you become more embodied here and now
as you enter into the world of inner silence, stillness is their quality or form of attentiveness. Which is part of that silence that is part of this stillness. That's not something you do. But something that you become attuned to attuned to quiet, still attentiveness.
And then there's the quality of being centered.
where attention is centered in the midst of your life mist of your body.
Is there kind of a centering
that is part of this stillness, part of the silence that enhances the silence of now.
And then your ability to notice, confidence, courage, attentiveness. centeredness. That is discernment. Maybe a silent recognition, silent, attunement
and maybe these five qualities
make up part of the whole Part of the whole experience of sitting here with an inner silence, stillness, and peace.
And then to end this meditation, you can take a few long, slow, deep breaths. Feel your body more fully. And when you're ready,
you can open your eyes.
Thank you. And if you found this interesting, the five faculties it's one of the kind of foundational teachings about the inner inner capacities we have that can support meditation, you might find it interesting to time, your time to go through them systematically. I've done it sometimes by on each breath, I do a different one. First breath, confidence, strength or core, courage, attentiveness, centeredness, and then discernment, and just kind of go through. And there's something about having a little task that is self centering and focusing and instance, quieting. And maybe you'll come to appreciate your capacity for inner stillness. And it's a stillness you can carry with you wherever you go. And doesn't matter how noisy it is around you. Because you're, you carry the stillness inside. So thank you very much for this time. And then one announcement, and that is that. You know, I think that probably many of us have been moved by many of the serious difficulties existing in the world right now. And I thought it'd be very nice for this YouTube community and people who are watching, sharing and with these teachings for so long and joining together and practicing together, and you know, I often end every meditation today, or every meditation with dedication of merit or expression of the value of, of allowing the momentum of the meditation to go into living a life that benefits the world around us. So one way we could do that, if you're interested in is I thought, collectively to make donations to help the people of Haiti, country that had been having challenges for years and years. And their donations will go to partners and health, a wonderful nonprofit that does healthcare and in Haiti, and they do it at a grassroots level. And so they really go out there and into the towns, the villages, work with the grassroots medical care teams and nurses and people to make sure that it goes to the people who need it. And that's a quite an extensive network and in Haiti to do great organization to support and you can certainly go there directly to do it yourself through them. I think it's At pih.org is the website. Loads also be nice if you want to do it through IMC. And so what we're doing is Friday, Saturday and today is that any donation that goes to IMC, whether it's to me, sometimes people make teacher donation, or it goes to IMC, to the general fund, that that can will, will turn right around and donated to partners and health. And all of it will go that way. And, and the way to make that donation, we don't have a special Haiti button, it's just got us had to go into the donate button. And then they will see a winner. There'll be a different options on the donate page. And one of them will say IMC, slash audio dharma. And there's a window you type in how much you want to donate. So that's the place to put it. And as I said, that'll go if it comes in today, they will go to Haiti to partners and help. And I just thought, delighted by this idea that maybe our community has been together for some time, some of us for some, you know, for so long, the pandemic might have a real project like this. So if you'd like that's available, and and hopefully now we're on track with the with you know, our internet service here at IMC and I apologize for those of you who, you know, found it confusing or difficult to not connect today because of the internet service provider was down. So thank you very much.