The Path of Practice
Ajahn Pasanno
Jun. 15, 2019 to Jun. 16, 2019
Victoria Insight Meditation Center in Victoria, Australia
2 sessions, 34 excerpts, 2:15:10 total duration

A weekend retreat lead by Ajahn Pasanno at the Victoria Insight Meditation Society in June 2019.

External website
Sessions:    1    2
Session 1 – Ajahn Pasanno – Jun. 15, 2019 Download audio (1:15:09)

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1. [0:16] “Do you find labelling helpful?” [Noting] [Ajahn Pasanno] // [Proliferation]

Simile: The hammer looking for nails everywhere.


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2. [2:55] “When I'm following my breathing, sometimes I have a compulsion to breathe deeply into my chest and hold it....Is that something you should recognize as trying to control the breath?” [Mindfulness of breathing] [Meditation/Unusual experiences] // [Investigation of states] [Tranquility] [Learning]


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3. [6:37] “You spoke of experiencing the breath and experiencing feelings and mind. Are you suggesting that we experience the mind knowing the breath or when it's doing other things?” [Mindfulness of breathing] [Mindfulness of feeling] [Mindfulness of mind] // [Right Mindfulness] [Volitional formations] [Conditionality]

Suttas: MN 118: Ānāpānasati Sutta; MN 10: Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta


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4. [11:08] “Is the fourth foundation of mindfulness as simple as, for example, with the third foundation I identify aversion, and then in the fourth foundation I identify aversion as a hindrance?” [Mindfulness of dhammas] [Mindfulness of mind] // [Āgama] [Sutta] [Hindrances] [Four Noble Truths] [Mindfulness of breathing] [Progress of insight]

Suttas: MN 10: Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta; MN 118: Ānāpānasati Sutta [Right Mindfulness]

Reference: Satipaṭṭhāna Perspectives by Bhante Analayo (commercial)


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5. [14:40] “Could you please address judgement and discernment?” [Judgementalism] [Discernment] // [Self-identity view] [Skillful qualities] [Four Noble Truths] [Culture/West] [Impermanence] [Conditionality]


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6. [18:55] “How do you handle physical sensations like an itch during meditation?” [Meditation/General advice] [Contact] // [Mindfulness] [Patience] [Pain]


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7. [21:21] “How do discoveries about the gut microbiome fit in with the Buddha's teachings?” [Science] [Dhamma] // [Not-self] [Self-identity view] [Mindfulness of body] [Clear comprehension] [Naturalness]

Follow-up: “How does the relate to monks who subsist on almsfood and sometimes don't get enough, considering that the gut is controlling the brain?” [Monastic life] [Almsfood] [Health] [Ajahn Soṇa] [Mutual lay/Saṅgha support]

Sutta: AN ??.?? - Stay where the practice advances, not where the requisites are.


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8. [27:15] Story: The cook assigned to look after Ajahn Pasanno doesn't understand what he can and needs to eat. [Ajahn Pasanno] [Dtao Dum] [Almsfood] [Food] // [Industry] [Meditation] [Energy] [Health] [Patience] [Culture/Natural environment]


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9. [32:39] Story: Founding Dtao Dum Monastery [Dtao Dum] [Ajahn Pasanno] // [Wat Pah Nanachat] [Culture/Natural environment] [Environment] [Commerce/economics]


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10. [34:59] “Is Dtao Dum just for monks?” [Dtao Dum] [Monastic life] [Lay life] // [Environment]


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11. [36:52] “Did Ajahn Soṇa go on one of the trips to Dtao Dum with you?” [Ajahn Soṇa] [Dtao Dum] [Ajahn Pasanno]


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12. [37:21] “When you weren't getting enough food, had you been older and smarter, would you have been able, as a monk, to ask for vegetables?” [Ajahn Pasanno] [Monastic life] [Health] [Vinaya] [Almsfood] // [Mutual lay/Saṅgha support] [Generosity]


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13. [39:15] “Could you say something about the fact that extreme hardship exists in the world?” [Poverty] [Compassion] // [Culture/Thailand]

Sutta: AN 4.162: Modes of Practice

Sutta: AN 8.2: Worldly Winds [Worldly Conditions]

Vinaya: The famine in Verañjā (BuPj 1.2.1, Brahmali translation) [Buddha/Biography]

Recollection: The vast majority of 20th century Thai meditation masters are from the Northeast. They come from a region and area of great difficulty. [History/Thai Buddhism] [Thai Forest Tradition] [Patience] [Energy] [Faith]

Recollection: More Westerners came to study with Ajahn Chah than Central or Southern Thais. [Ajahn Chah] [History/Western Buddhist monasticism]


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14. [47:54] “What are your thoughts about maintaining a practice you're at the bedside of someone actively passing away?” [Sickness] [Death] // [Listening] [Fear] [Personal presence] [Intuition]

Story: Ram Dass anxiously tries to guide his stepmother through the dying process. [Ram Dass] [Teaching Dhamma] [Restlessness and worry] [Mindfulness of mind] [Recollection/Death]


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15. [52:21] “Was there specific advice from the Buddha to the monks about [advising a dying person]?” [Monastic life] [Death] // [Sickness] [Compassion] [Goodwill]

Vinaya: Kd 26.7: Attributes of a carer.


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16. [53:49] “When you talk about conditioning, how does this relate to Pavlovian conditioning?” [Conditionality] [Science] // [Habits]


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17. [55:34] “The Buddha had the talent of knowing preceisely what to saay to a person at a given moment. The teaching ajahns have developed this as well, but I've never heard of it as part of the training. Can you reflect on that?” [Teaching Dhamma] [Buddha/Biography] [Monastic teachers] // [Personality] [Discernment] [Idealism] [Ajahn Chah] [Suffering] [Humility] [Relinquishment] [Fear] [Self-identity view]


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18. [1:02:27] “Before we relinquish the self, there needs to be a recognition of what's going on. I often realize this minutes or hours later. Any suggestions for this initial step of noticing?” [Relinquishment] [Self-identity view] [Mindfulness] // [Investigation of states] [Mindfulness of feeling] [Cessation] [Spaciousness]


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19. [1:05:35] Comment: I have one of these thinking minds, and over the years I'm learning more and more to just watch where my thoughts go. I'm getting more comfortable with that. At the same time, I've heard teachings that as you improve your concentration on the primary object, your mindfulness increases as well. [Directed thought and evaluation] [Mindfulness] [Concentration]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Language] [Generosity] [Conditionality] [Desire] [Craving]

Quote: “The same word that is translated as concentration in English, when it's translated in Thai, is 'the firm establishing of the mind.' That has a different feel to it.” [Translation] [Thai]


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20. [1:11:38] “Did Buddhism find you in Northern Manitoba, or did you leave? What led you to Buddhism?” [Ajahn Pasanno] // [Learning] [Culture/West] [Zen] [Culture/Thailand]


Session 2 – Ajahn Pasanno – Jun. 16, 2019 Download audio (1:03:56)

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1. [0:33] “In Canada, medical assistance in death is legal. As an old person who will be sick and dying not too far off, it raises the question: If I got to the point where I felt even with good palliative and hospice care, I couldn't withstand the pain any longer, it's an option. But what about the first precept of not taking life?” [Sickness] [Pain] [Health care] [Euthanasia] [Killing] // [Relinquishment] [Self-identity view] [Idealism]

Quote: “Being present for the falling apart of the body opens doorways to release that don't really happen with, 'I just want to be done with this. This totally sucks.'” [Present moment awareness] [Death] [Mindfulness of body] [Release] [Aversion] [Fear] [Clinging] [Saṃsāra]


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2. [6:55] “For some people, death comes with extreme pain. Part of being able to navigate through the dissolution of self requires clarity of mind. My understanding is that a lot of pain management involves morphine or other mind-numbing drugs. How does one navigate the pain?” [Death] [Pain] [Relinquishment] [Self-identity view] [Clear comprehension] [Health care] [Intoxicants] // [Fear]


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3. [11:31] “According to the first precept, how would you look at the case of abortion?” [Killing] [Abortion] // [Vinaya] [Politics and society] [Judgementalism] [Health care]


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4. [13:30] “What about animal euthanasia?” [Animal] [Euthanasia] [Killing] // [Compassion] [Sickness] [Ageing]


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5. [15:00] “Years ago I considered the Buddha someone wbo practiced harm reduction. But having worked in the field, I've started to have a lot of conflict around when people request paraphanelia to help them use [drugs]. The idea is to keep them alive, but now it's become very complicated because people are still dying. Is this a violation of right livelihood? Could you speak about wisdom and compassion?” [Intoxicants] [Health care] [Death] [Right Livelihood] [Discernment] [Compassion] [Gratitude] // [Right Intention] [Crime] [Politics and society]

Quote: “As a person who is trying to help, you have to learn harm reduction to yourself.” [Depression]


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6. [22:29] Comment: I'm concerned about how much time people spend on computers, and I think it's sad that people use electronic devices rather than talk with each other. [Technology] [Community]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno.

Follow-up: “Should I say anything to my son who is on his device half the time during his brief, infrequent visits?” [Children] [Right Speech]

Story: Abhayagiri's computer policy for monks. [Abhayagiri] [Social media] [Sense restraint] [Vinaya]


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7. [28:25] “You spoke this morning about how monks don't have money and don't handle money. How does a monastery deal with purchasing materials?” [Not handling money] [Commerce/economics] // [Monastery organizational structure] [Mutual lay/Saṅgha support] [Abhayagiri] [Building projects] [Almsfood]

Story: A wheel falls off the old Abhayagiri van. [Simplicity]


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8. [36:45] Comment: Yesterday you differentiated between chanda and taṇhā. Nature has always had a strong attraction for me, and I was uneasy because I thought this was a kind of craving. Three or four years ago, Ajahn Tiradhammo gave a talk and I asked him about this. He said, 'Don't worry about it. There's good craving and bad craving.' Your teaching has clarified this for me. [Desire] [Craving] [Culture/Natural environment] [Ajahn Tiradhammo] [Gratitude]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Happiness] [Ajahn Viradhammo] [Animal]


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9. [39:28] “When strong feelings associated with conceit come, what to do?” [Conceit] [Feeling] // [Noble Truth of Suffering] [Mindfulness of feeling] [Clear comprehension] [Nutriment] [Relinquishment] [Patience]


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10. [42:01] “I find a lot of meditation time is taken up with psychoanalyzing aand thinking, 'Oh, this is a discovery!' What is the line between realizing that you're caught again?” [Meditation] [Western psychology] [Directed thought and evaluation] // [Mindfulness of feeling] [Proliferation] [Clear comprehension]


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11. [43:36] Comment: I'm improving my skill at seeing the greed or aversion when there are pleasant or unpleasant feelings, but I often don't see the neutral feeling state so clearly. [Mindfulness of feeling] [Feeling] [Unwholesome Roots] [Neutral feeling] [Delusion] // [Mindfulness of body] [Restlessness and worry] [Fear] [Present moment awareness]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno.

Quote: “That whereby one is a conceiver of the world, a perceiver of the world, that is the world.” — SN 35.116 [Nature of the cosmos] [Proliferation] [Perception]


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12. [48:49] “Could you talk about the difference between experiencing an unpleasant feeling and perpetuating an unpleasant feeling?” [Feeling] [Discernment] [Cessation of Suffering] // [Compassion] [Mindfulness] [Patience] [Suffering]

Simile: Two arrows (SN 36.6).


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13. [52:25] “I live with my 96-year old mother. Her mind is quite good, but her body is ageing and there is pain in both legs. She has a stubborn will to carry on. We have our fights, but get through them quickly. I'm wanting to go to another level to develop patience. Can you comment?” [Ageing] [Family] [Pain] [Patience] // [Empathetic joy] [Ajahn Pasanno] [Relinquishment] [Gratitude] [Idealism]

Quote: “Even monks have mothers.”


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14. [57:42] “Even reading scripturally-oriented material can be used as an escape; it's easier than meditating. I was wondering about the precept on entertainment, beautification and adornment. Can you give some advice on how to interpret this in practical terms?” [Learning] [Craving not to become] [Entertainment and adornment] // [Idealism] [Discernment] [Idle chatter] [Spiritual friendship] [Faith] [Media] [Ajahn Soṇa] [Abhayagiri] [Dhamma online] [Ajahn Pasanno]