Mindfulness is actively noticing the content of our experience in the present moment. Mindfulness does not have preference. It does have a quality of openness or spaciousness. Mindfulness is moment-to-moment attending, in a way that is calm, focused and nonjudgmental. Mindfulness has heart; it includes a friendly acceptance, an interested curiosity. Mindfulness allows space around habits of thought and action, space in which we can consciously choose our response. Mindfulness is supported by a daily meditative practice, training the mind to settle. The more often we simply notice how it is right here and right now, the easier it becomes to simply notice, the more naturally it happens. Mindfulness is paying attention, which enables insight into the workings of our own minds and the world around us. Mindfulness results in greater peace, calm, clear-seeing, well-being, and abiding joy.
Each evening we begin with a 20-minute meditation with some words of guidance. Then we will listen to a 45-minute audio teaching by Joseph Goldstein. The last portion of each class is open for questions, reflections and dialog to integrate the teachings into our own daily experience with family, work and friends. These Tuesday evening series have proven to be a valuable time for connection with like-minded others and support for aware presence in daily life.
The story behind these audio teachings is, while leading an intensive retreat at the Forest Refuge, Joseph began a talk on the Satipaţţhāna Sutta. This evening dharma talk evolved into a series of 47 talks on this important passage of the Buddha’s teachings. Recognized as a valuable resource, these talks were compiled by Sounds True and released in three volumes. Most recently, Joseph has refined them into a just-released, highly acclaimed book, Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening. If you are moved to, the reading of this book along with our weekly meetings and dharma talks, will deepen your insight and understanding.
In the words of the Buddha, the four foundations of mindfulness (the foursatipaţţhānas) are “the direct path for the purification of beings, for the surmounting of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of dukkha (suffering) and discontent, for acquiring the true method, for the realization of Nibbana.” Within the quintessential discourse called the Satipaţţhāna Sutta, we find the Buddha’s seminal teachings about the practice of meditation.
In these first 10-weeks, we will start with, Abiding in Mindfulness: Mindfulness of the Body, the foundation and place we begin our practice. Here, Joseph introduces us to the first satipaţţhāna, the domain of the body. We begin to learn the cornerstone techniques for successful meditation practice, as taught by the Buddha himself. From appropriate places and postures for practice to clear comprehension of all aspects of the body to the elements and energies that make up our physical form, Goldstein brings you to the threshold of the “ultimate truth” of our bodies.
Joseph Goldstein has taught Buddhist meditation worldwide since 1974. A co-founder and guiding teacher of IMS, he also helped envision and establish the Insight Meditation Society, Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Forest Refuge. The author of One Dharma, his latest title is Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening.
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“Joseph Goldstein’s Satipaţţhāna Sutta Series has been extremely helpful and invaluable for me personally and for our community dharma group here in Vermont. Joseph’s brilliant, detailed, and patient discussion of each section of the sutta has brought greater understanding of the breadth and depth of the Buddha’s teachings. These beautiful and inspiring talks can be appreciated and savored by listening to them again and again. Each time I listen, I hear and learn something new that directly influences both my meditation practice and its integration into every aspect of my life in the world. I highly recommend this series of talks for anyone who wishes to delve into the extraordinary richness of the dharma that is, like these talks, ‘good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end.'”
These evenings are structured – through meditation, dharma talks and discussion – to integrate what we learn into our everyday experience. Teachings are then not merely concepts and knowledge. -Joti
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
10-week series offered periodically
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Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. – Victor Frankl
As meditative mindfulness develops, your whole experience of life changes. Your experience of being alive, the very sensation of being conscious, becomes lucid and precise, no longer just an unnoticed background for your preoccupations. It becomes a thing consistently perceived. You feel increasingly stable, increasingly moored in the stark and simple experience of moment-to-moment existence. Once your mind is free from thought, it becomes clearly wakeful and at rest in an utterly simple awareness. This awareness cannot be described adequately. Words are not enough. It can only be experienced. Breath ceases to be just breath; it is no longer limited to the static and familiar concept you once held. You no longer see it as a succession of just inhalations and exhalations; it is no longer some insignificant monotonous experience. Breath becomes a living, changing process, something alive and fascinating. It is no longer something that takes place in time; it is perceived as the present moment itself. Time is seen as a concept, not an experienced reality. This is simplified, rudimentary awareness, which is stripped of all extraneous detail. It is grounded in a living flow of the present, and it is marked by a pronounced sense of reality. You know absolutely that this is real, more real than anything you have ever experienced. – Bhante Gunaratana