2021-09-30-Dhamma (4 of 5) Seven Factors of Awakening
3:00PM Sep 30, 2021
The topic is the seven factors of awakening the seven limbs of awakening. And as I said earlier, I like the expression limbs, limbs of awakening, because it connects it to our lived body. You know, it's it's something that's embodied in the seven, certain factors, the word seems to just imply a list. And these are seven qualities or seven states of being, that get activated in very nice way, as we get into the groove into the flow of meditation practice is kind of like the reward of meditation, when you really kind of able to put aside distractions, and really get focused on just being here in the present moment. steadies continuous, kind of in the flow of the presence. In the ancient texts, they contrast them were paired up with the five hindrances and the five as being opposites and have a very opposite effect on us. And they, their task is to put the five hindrances to sleep or let go of them and awaken the seven factors of awakening. The five hindrances, what we talked about Monday, are said to be forces that obscure wisdom, that obscure a clear vision of what's happening, it kind of is blinding to our clarity and our wisdom and our good understanding. Whereas the seven factors of awakening are the opposite. They bring forth clarity, with clarity of vision, clarity, of, of wisdom, that kind of a lightness and the hindrances are kind of deadening in a certain way. And so we're, we're practices going from the world of the being caught up in the hindrances to the world of coursing in the seven factors of awakening. And so, as the practice proceeds, then at some point, they wake up, and then it's good to recognize them and, and the recognition know them is meant to kind of support them to grow even more. And they're a little bit like a cheerleader that kind of cheering you on, this is really good, you're on track. So the way I've presented these, this fourth foundation of mindfulness, the first three exercises are progressive, coming to terms with letting go of settling down, coarser, to more refined or deeper forms of attachment and preoccupation. And so the practices have a lot to do is to see the preoccupations, the hindrances, the attachments, the, the entanglements we have, so we're no longer entangled, longer caught in them, but we begin waking up and become free of them.
As that freedom begins to unfold, and we're no longer caught in these things, then the seven factors awakening are what begin to show up. And it's a beautiful thing to practice present moment awareness, and really get into the groove of it. And then feel the birth the arising of these very healthy, wholesome, wonderful states that are in some ways feel impersonal attachments and entanglements and identifications, and the hindrances have a kind of very strong stickiness that could have, where we get caught up in our egoistic ideas or our sense of self and agency in certain way. The seven factors of awakening, even though it practice, our practice is what brings them about, it feels that they're definitely arising from within ourselves, but they had this beautiful quality of having this naturalness through them. And almost like this is what happens when I get out of my way, and not be so focused on me, myself and mine. And it's quite encouraging to feel these healthy states, bubbling up coursing through us, it's very encouraging. It's very encouraging for appreciating that we're gonna have a positive disposition towards life and what's possible. It's just feeling of health. In fact, as the ancient world sometimes it was really clear the seven factors of awakening were considered a kind of medicine. And when the Buddha was sick, he asked, for example, a monk to recite the seven factors of awakening and maybe like a guided meditation, in order to kind of say help arouse him or help heal him from his sickness. And as sometimes the Buddha went to see a sick, a monastic and he would recite the seven factors of awakening. This is for people who are familiar with them, or coursing in them into regular part of their lives, so that when they're named, they kind of come alive. This added good energy comes up and is kind of considered a healing energy. I've had them coursing through me. And the best language I had was was I felt like there was healing, fluid kind of coursing through all my veins and throughout my nerves. And just the sense of healing this that comes with the South actors awakening was remarkable. And so these are mindfulness, investigation, energy or strength, joy, tranquility, concentration, and equanimity. And sometimes they are presented as being progression. As mindfulness gets stronger, then at some point we get the clarity that the investigation is we see more clearly what's here. As we see more clearly, it's just easier to have evoke the kind of good sense of strength and energy and enthusiasm for the practice. And so we engage more fully in circuit the second nature to like, Oh, yes, let's do this. And then, as we do that, then joy arises, at some point, Joy is felt great. But just when we're settled in the joy, sometimes something settles can settle and relax, and tranquility sets in, and the joy becomes more of a happiness than then then joy. And then, with that kind of well being and tranquility, that's the ideal conditions in which to, for concentration to arise, it's hard to get concentrated, if you do it, from just an ordinary street state that you're walking around and preoccupied. And in the desert of the idea that you're supposed to have a laser focus and really work hard to get it concentrated, it's a lot easier, if you, if one prepares the ground for concentration, and the first five factors awakening are part of this preparation, that allows us to kind of get unified and stable and rooted here. And then the and then there's equanimity. And, and equanimity can seem kind of boring, or bored, just uninteresting, but it's really pristine, kind of like an emotional state, it feels so clean and good and peaceful and, and it's like one of the most pinnacle of, of, like, fantastic emotional states that you can feel that equity. And, and, and here, the mind is so balanced, so nonreactive, but with this beautiful sense of cleanliness, clarity, and openness, and, and it's kind of, it's a you know, so the mind is not going to react to anything anymore. It's just there and a feeling of strength and, and so these seven factors of awakening
can appear in little hints of it at first, and it's helpful to recognize it, how at this is it, this is it, and probably some of you have them arising in everyday life as well. Maybe some of you really some of the ordinary activities of life that you really get focused and enjoy doing, you can recognize the seven factors of seven factors are present, the even cooking, to really get into cooking and let the world drop away and, and really had the sense of presence. And, and this attentiveness of investigation where you, you know, really attending to the food and you know, this, you know, tracking it carefully and knowing how much more seasoning to put in or how long it needs to cook or turn down the flames or all kinds of things. And, and there can be a delight, then there can be a sense of joy. And there can be everything gets kind of tranquil, our cares of the world fall away and can be peaceful to just kind of go around cooking. And maybe some equanimity. Maybe this sense of well being is good enough that if you know you suddenly get a phone call from that's a little bit difficult, are you in a state of mind where it's easier to take that in calmly, because there's a calm state there quantum estate. So to begin recognizing the seven factors in ordinary life, they come up and appreciating them and making room for them and not overlooking them, not dismissing them or thinking they're unimportant. They're very important for this practice. And allow them avail yourself of them more often. Get familiar with them and, and when there are times when they're there, appreciate them riding a bicycle, if you're a bicycle rider, going for a hike or sometimes reading a great novel can bring up some of these feelings, whatever it might be, and, and the wonderful alchemy of this meditation practice or mindfulness practice is that mindfulness of the hindrances, mindfulness of attachment, decreases the attachments. mindfulness of what's wholesome, increases what's wholesome. So it's a wonderful balance. mindfulness of what's unwholesome and helpful in our psychological states, gives us a little freedom and distance from it. And that freedom of distance takes some of the juice in and investment we put into it. As we bring this kind of open awareness, clarity to really see the seven factors of awakening, the seven factor awaken awakening, they thrive in receptivity, openness, relaxation, and non entanglement. And so they grow. And so wonderful kind of thing that works this way. So may you become familiar with the seven factors awakening, may they be part of your life, may you enjoy them. And I think this pandemic or some point, maybe last year, I did a whole series on the seven factors of awakening on this, you know, early this early morning sitting so you could listen to those talks. And, you know, it's a good thing to learn about. And in terms of the path to liberation, the seven factors of awakening then set the stage for liberation itself, that's why they're limbs of awakening. And so, and that's a little bit the topic that is a topic for tomorrow. The last exercise and the fourth foundation of mindfulness and, and has the seven factors of awakening is the platform in which to realize it. So thank you very much, and I look forward to tomorrow.