Thanksgiving Retreat 2016 – The Gradual Path
Ajahn Pasanno, Ajahn Sudanto, Ajahn Karuṇadhammo and Debbie Stamp
Thanksgiving Retreat, Nov. 18, 2016 to Nov. 27, 2016
Angela Center in Santa Rosa, California
8 sessions, 119 excerpts, 7:53:04 total duration

A classic ten-day Thanksgiving Retreat held at the Angela Center before it closed due to fire damage.

External website
Sessions:    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8
Session 1 – Ajahn Pasanno – Nov. 19, 2016 Download audio (38:01)

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1. [0:36] “I am guessing that accountant had little chance of finding his way to Nibbana - unless he ordained? Do you know if he did?” [Nibbāna] [Ordination]

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2. [1:25] “I have a cancer and finished my treatment and am afraid it will come back if I don’t take care of myself as doctor told. So it is my stress. How can I think about my stress to hold it in my mind?” [Health] [Suffering]

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3. [5:42] “What is the difference between yoniso manasikara and insight?” [Appropriate attention] [Insight meditation]

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4. [6:57] “What do you do when there are ants at the monastery? Is there a way to get rid of them naturally without killing them? I had to get rid of some a week ago and witnessed 3 ants die somewhat painfully by what I used which caused both sadness and remorse in me and I don’t want to do it again. But what is “right action” (ie. the precepts) versus what is practical?” [Animal] [Killing] [Monastic life]

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5. [11:55] “Could you tell us your stories related to the King Rama 9 of Thailand?” [Royalty] [Culture/Thailand]

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6. [23:40] “Does the Buddha say all beings are inherently good? How about generosity? Do all human beings have the capacity for generosity?” [Nature of mind] [Generosity]

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7. [30:34] “At the Friday evening talk, you mentioned the three poisons/kleshas of greed, hatred and delusion. But you also added fear. Fear seems to me more like a result. Please explain.” [Unwholesome Roots] [Fear]

Session 2 – Ajahn Pasanno – Nov. 20, 2016 Download audio (59:15)

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1. [0:08] “Isn’t desire needed for lay life, starting a family, a business etc? And what about polio? Would there be things like a vaccine for polio without desire? Did the Buddha have something else in mind?” [Desire] [Health care]

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2. [3:44] “I was wondering since you are a monk of 40 years, you are happy and mindful. How can you know of the issues, problems of people's’ lives in the current modern times? We are worried about Trump’s presidency!” [Monastic life] [Politics and society]

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3. [9:16] “Though unskillful mind states may come up, as long as we don’t pick them up and feed them, they are just ideas/thoughts that will end.' Can you comment on the effectiveness of this practice? Are there situations where you would definitely recommend it? Definitely not recommend it? Do you see this relating to metta?” [Unskillful qualities] [Impermanence] [Meditation/Techniques] [Goodwill]

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4. [13:21] “I am so grateful for your generous teachings. I am training my mind and am so glad for the dhamma in my life. However, I am experiencing migraine attacks almost daily, and therefore therefore a lot of uncertainty and dukkha. “Will I be able to function today?” “How bad will it be?” “Will I throw up?” “Which medicine will be the most beneficial today?” “Which side effects can I deal with today?” Working with my mind under these conditions is challenging, but I am up for the challenge, at least some of the time. I could use some encouragement, please.” [Generosity] [Health] [Suffering]

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5. [17:31] “Can I be aware of my mind states while I am aware of my breath? It doesn’t seem so.” [Mindfulness of breathing] [Mindfulness of mind]

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6. [19:27] “Luang Por, for this ten day retreat, what is your Dhamma wish for us?” [Ajahn Pasanno]

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7. [20:07] “In practice we are often doing battle with our defilements. Can you speak about ways of “gladdening” the heart?” [Unwholesome Roots] [Gladdening the mind]

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8. [23:30] “In the mindful breathing sutta, what is the difference between “mind” and “mental fabrication”? And what is meant by “satisfying the mind” in step 10?” [Mindfulness of breathing] [Heart/mind] [Volitional formations] [Gladdening the mind]

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9. [25:57] “Can Ajahn Pasanno teach us how Ajahn Chah teaches or gives techniques on physical states and mental states? Can you tell us more about Ajahn Chah’s biography, for example, when and how Ajahn Chah wanted to become a monk?” [Ajahn Chah] [Meditation/Techniques]

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10. [36:24] “Can you talk about working with the practice in what seems like perilous times?, e.g. the rise in overt expressions of hatred toward sectors of society and the associated change in national leadership? How does one cultivate equanimity while also not turning away?” [Politics and society] [Aversion] [Equanimity]

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11. [40:13] “It seems I can quiet my mind easier in the midst of noise. It’s been one continuous monkey mind. Please help. Would you give a guided meditation towards jhana please?” [Calming meditation] [Proliferation] [Jhāna]

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12. [44:28] “With virtuous leaders passing away and unvirtuous ones coming into power, is the world entering a dark period? Was there any predictions from the Forest Masters about this?” [Politics and society] [Thai Forest Tradition]

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13. [46:42] “What about aversions that have a message, as a signal to understanding something? How is one to trust that from regular aversion?” [Aversion]

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14. [49:52] “When talking with friends, sometimes the topic of faith and religion comes up. Normally, I find this topic pleasant and enjoyable, but on occasion, I find myself in conversation with somebody who believes (often quite insistently) that their faith is “the only way”. Do you have an advice on how I might skillfully navigate these situations?” [Faith] [Right Speech]

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15. [52:18] “Ajahn, what is your instruction regarding the Noble Eightfold Path and the most useful attitude toward the word “right”?” [Eightfold Path]

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16. [55:50] “During the Christmas holiday, I’m going to be spending some time with relatives who do not share my same political views. In the spirit of wanting to understand their views and wanting to heal the divide that exists in our country, I want to talk about the election with them. How do I have conversation skillfully?” [Family] [Politics and society] [Right Speech]

Session 3 – Ajahn Pasanno – Nov. 21, 2016 Download audio (1:06:18)

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1. [0:11] “From my limited understanding, when the construction of self drops away in meditation, the is joy and peace. This makes me think that deep insight into anatta might be profoundly blissful. I’m having trouble seeing how the same would be true for dukkha and anicca. Can you help?” [Not-self] [Calming meditation] [Characteristics of existence]

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2. [3:21] “I often find it hard to stay settled on the breath. Though I’ve been meditating for some time, my mind does not seem to focus well. When things are going “well”, I feel sense of joy but my mind jumps from topic to topic quickly (as though excited it’s going well). When things aren’t going well, my mind shifts into work mode, trying to “fix” the situation and bring the joy back. This results in a lot of tension in my face and long, difficult sittings. Do you have any advice?” [Mindfulness of breathing] [Meditation/General advice]

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3. [8:31] “Thank you for this opportunity to practice and you guidance. Can you explain nirodha?” [Cessation]

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4. [15:07] “Could you speak on working with sanna in meditation? Over these days there is an experience of heightened sensitivity to perception and the initial contact that gives rise to thought and feeling. In particular, I notice how an inaccurate perception, seen as inaccurate, gives rise to thought formations that move forward as if based on an accurate perception. This moves fast in the mind feels somewhat trippy and disorienting. How does one develop the skill of sensitivity and perception so as to have durability in daily life?” [Perception] [Dependent origination] [Everyday life]

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5. [23:23] “You mentioned nekkhamma early in the retreat. It stuck with me and has been most useful - renouncing expectations and desires in the retreat. It seems to be the antidote to craving, wanting. Where else is it used in the Dhamma?” [Renunciation]

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6. [26:38] “Would you have some suggestions on working with shame? As an emotion, it feels very “sticky” and probably the hardest one for me to work with. It seems like it is deeply rooted in my mind (probably thanks to Christianity). Is it true that Thai people have an easier time with it than westerners? Is an antidote to shame self-compassion?” [Guilt/shame/inadequacy] [Culture/Thailand] [Culture/West] [Compassion]

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7. [29:57] “Would you please speak a little bit more about “mindfulness” and the “sati” factor, since it seems to me that most, if not all, things register in consciousness. For example, “discursive” thoughts are registered in consciousness just as thoughts and we are aware of the thoughts themselves. What distinguishes “mindfulness” from lack of mindfulness during this process?” [Mindfulness] [Consciousness]

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8. [38:23] “I have a moral dilemma to ask you about. Someone I know, let’s call him Henry (who is also a Buddhist) recently went to the pet store and saw this “bearded dragon” lizard which he felt sorry for and so he bought it and brought it home. Normally, this would be a good thing since it was Henry’s intention to simply take care of the lizard and give it a good home, since the lizard looked sad and miserable at the pet store. Unfortunately, the lizard diet requires that he be fed live baby crickets for hi protein needs. Apparently lizards can’t eat dead things and need some protein for their normal growth. I told Henry that this is really bad, especially for Henry’s karma and the poor crickets. So I told Henry to set the lizard into the wild and let it survive on its own. Henry says that according to his research, 90% of lizards bred in captivity die in the wild. So Henry cannot, in good conscience, set the lizard into the wild, basically giving him a death sentence. Henry does not want this since he cares for the lizard. I then told Henry to give the lizard away to another family. Henry says that this will also cause someone else to have bad karma since the lizard’s dietary needs will be the same. There seems to be no good solution. Would you please comment?” [Animal] [Killing] [Food]

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9. [44:13] “How would you describe romantic love? And how do you know if it is real or wishful thinking?” [Relationships] [Delusion]

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10. [47:38] “How do I deal with the mind which loves someone who doesn’t love back? The mind (heart) and the brain are very hard to function normally. The thought of this suffering is overwhelming in my entire daily routines.” [Relationships]

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11. [50:37] “I am wondering if you could talk about spiritual bypass? What is it? How do you know if you’ve done it? And how do you disentangle from it?” [Spiritual bypass]

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12. [56:15] “I remember reading some stories of Ajahn Chah teaching lay people about herbal medicines. I know some Tibetan monks practice medicine. Is there such a tradition in Thailand? Are there any stores of Ajahn Chah healing people physically with traditional medicines?” [Ajahn Chah] [Health care] [Medicinal requisites] [Culture/Thailand]

Session 4 – Ajahn Pasanno – Nov. 22, 2016 Download audio (57:10)

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1. [0:06] “My dearest parents -in-law - very ill, 82-84 years old, live in Europe. My dear husband loves his mother very much. He said if his mother passes away, he doesn’t want to be in the funeral. I don’t think it is a good idea. How can I help him and myself in the way of Buddha mind? I am afraid my husband will break down.” [Family] [Grief] [Funerals]

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2. [2:42] “Please repeat the phrase that included “nimitta” and your name in some form. Can you give context/expand a little on this?” [Nimitta]

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3. [4:46] “What is the difference between loving kindness and compassion? How can one evoke/manifest them if he/she never experienced them before?” [Goodwill] [Compassion]

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4. [8:05] “It seems I have returned to remedial meditation practice. I can’t seem to find ease in my body, let alone my breath. It feels like I’m stuck in physical pain - an invisible barrier I can’t seem to penetrate. Acceptance and loving kindness are being applied, but without much movement. I am trying to develop concentration on breath - so far no piti or sukha. What to do?” [Meditation/General advice] [Pain] [Goodwill] [Mindfulness of breathing]

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5. [12:07] “I was struck by the suggestion you shared about orienting oneself toward what one can give to a moment rather than what one can get from a moment. This mind shift seems hugely beneficial. Would you expand on this?” [Generosity]

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6. [15:59] “Is there a difference between mindfulness and awareness?” [Mindfulness] [Present moment awareness]

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7. [22:01] “As I get deeper insights how conditioned the mind is, there is a sense of burden being released but also a doubt began to arise: If the mind is conditioned, how is it even possible to arrive at the Unconditioned? Does free will even exist or am I just pushed around by kilesas? If the trick is to recognize that there is no free will, how can I sincerely believe that when I’m making choices to practice and do wholesome deeds, they really matter and it’s not my delusion? Please dispel my doubts!” [Doubt] [Unconditioned] [Delusion]

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8. [24:45] “Could you describe the detail of the four noble truths? What are they? How do we apply them to real modern lives?” [Four Noble Truths]

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9. [27:17] “Please explain the seven factors of awakening and how to practice them in this retreat.” [Factors of Awakening]

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10. [35:50] “Would you please talk a little bit about determination versus compassion in meditation? For example, as long sittings can cause pain and legs to go numb, when is it good to use determination to power through? And when is it good to have compassion for the body and also not cause damage to the body, so that it can be healthy for long-term practice?” [Determination] [Compassion] [Pain]

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11. [40:22] “If someone spreads a harmful story about another that is untrue, but has convinced her/himself it is true (including her/his own embellishments), does this break the fourth precept?” [Malicious speech] [False speech]

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12. [45:08] “It’s a common phrase: “If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him.” Obviously it’s using hyperbole for effect but I think it means to trust only in your own experience. At what point do the guidelines and precepts leave off and the way to proceed on findings begins? I know it’s not a linear path, but I’d appreciate your thoughts.” [Direct experience] [Trust] [Long-term practice]

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13. [49:32] “The Asavas: Why does the mind leave (“go out”) its still center?” [Outflows] [Proliferation]

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14. [51:36] “Is it true that it’s bad or disrespectful to point one’s heel at a monk? I thought that I read or heard this somewhere. Sometimes I have felt the necessity to stretch out one leg or the other in the meditation hall, but as all the monastics sit up front, I feel that I will be pointing my heel at one monastic or another and I really don’t want to be disrespectful if this is so. Or is this worrying too much about conventions which causes suffering?” [Respect] [Monastic life] [Postures]

Session 5 – Ajahn Pasanno – Nov. 23, 2016 Download audio (47:15)

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1. [0:08] “When I sit for longer periods, I experience involuntary jerking and shaking. I can suppress it, but in doubt if this is a good idea.” [Meditation/Unusual experiences]

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2. [2:39] “Can you please talk about some of the changes in the new version of the morning chant and which ones, if any, (and why) resonate with you?” [Chanting]

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3. [4:39] “As I consider which aspects of my life could be simplified, it occurs to me that I have two different friendships which may no longer be worth the trade off in time or energy. After spending time with either of these friends, I tend to be more drained of my very limited energy, possible because neither is very self-aware and both talk a lot. What is my obligation to an old friend who has recently come through a really hard time in her life or to a new friend whose health and living situation are precarious. Is there a graceful way to bow out of a friendship without harming the other person?” [Spiritual friendship]

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4. [10:07] “I am away from a social network for almost six days which is quite incredible for me. Normally, I spend time by distracting with the social network every 10 minutes. I must check and see what people are doing, and sometimes I think is it is quite useless. This is a different world. However, I cannot stop using it. I am so attached to it, and I know I will go back to the same routine when I go back to my normal life. What would you suggest to detach or use it wisely?” [Social media] [Addiction]

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5. [13:47] “When one dies, do they carry memory of their former life into their next life? Is it possible to make amends from the former life into the next life?” [Rebirth] [Memory]

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6. [16:45] “I have been reading the wonderful book, “Abundant, Exalted, Immeasurable”. Would you consider leading us in a guided meditation on loving kindness at some point on this retreat?” [Goodwill]

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7. [19:11] “Keeping it simple, unentangled, uncomplicated. Is that an invitation to be lazy?” [Simplicity] [Heedlessness]

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8. [22:17] “This morning you talked about sense, object, contact, feeling, etc. and gave the example of the eye and object coming in contact. The sixth sense is the heart/mind, correct? And the object is the heart/mind? Can you give an example?” [Sense bases] [Heart/mind]

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9. [23:52] “If a sotapanna or sakadagami dies and takes birth as a human, are they born as a stream- enterer or once-returner respectively? Or do they return that attainment later in life?” [Stream entry] [Once return] [Rebirth]

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10. [25:50] “This morning as I was walking upstairs, my mind suddenly went bright and clear for a brief time. Was this a glimpse of Nibbana? And if so, how do I catch the express train?” [Nibbāna]

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11. [28:30] “Can you speak a bit about aversion and letting go? I’m dealing with the loss of my brother and the ending of a 15 year marriage. The painful memories are hard to process, and it is easier to push them away. I’d like to “know” and “let go” of them.” [Aversion] [Relinquishment] [Grief] [Relationships]

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12. [34:32] “I believed this to be a “silent meditation retreat”. Please reiterate that to my thinking mind. It’s not listening!” [Proliferation]

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13. [40:35] “Could you please talk a bit about using the sound of silence (“nada sound”) as a meditation object?” [Sound of silence]

Session 6 – Ajahn Pasanno – Nov. 24, 2016 Download audio (1:10:45)

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1. [0:03] “Thank you for additional information on the Sound of Silence. I’ve known of the Sound of Silence, but not that there was any formal or structured practice around it. I’m wondering if Ajahn Chah or his predecessors did any teachings on this or if there are suttas related to it.” [Sound of silence] [Ajahn Chah] [Sutta]

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2. [2:21] “What are the suttas related to the list of virtuous qualities that Ajahn Karunadhammo spoke of so eloquently in his dhamma talk?” [Sutta]

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3. [3:01] “How do you apply mindfulness of the body in terms of jhana practice?” [Mindfulness of body] [Jhāna]

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4. [7:06] “Where is the middle way taught in the suttas ? and how might that help some of us who consider extensive sitting practice an ascetic practice?” [Middle Path] [Sutta]

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5. [12:19] “I am tangled up in self-identification and conceit. What should I do to get myself out?” [Self-identity view] [Conceit]

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6. [15:09] “Today there was a lot of rapturous energy during the sits. It started to get to be too much. How do I work with this? Do I let it take its course or do I try to ground it down?” [Rapture]

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7. [19:52] ““Teacher of Gods and Humans”. Can you talk about this? What Gods did the Buddha teach? What other beings did the Buddha teach?” [Recollection/Buddha] [Buddha] [Teaching Dhamma] [Deva] [Human]

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8. [28:32] “What does the threefold bliss mean in the Verses of Sharing and Aspiration?” [Happiness] [Chanting]

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9. [29:49] “Could you say more about the four powers?”

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10. [34:40] “Does having no craving mean doing things in the world knowing they won’t bring lasting satisfaction? For example, planning a vacation realizing that it will eventually end or taking measures to cure a headache without expecting to feel completely better. I am trying to understand how this would look like in real life without one becoming apathetic and depressed about the meaninglessness of basically all activities except meditation. How to balance the ability to still enjoy life with abandoning all craving?” [Craving] [Characteristics of existence] [Depression] [Happiness]

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11. [40:08] “Can you speak more about vedana and whether it is something to be changed, as in from dukkha to sukha?” [Feeling] [Pain] [Happiness]

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12. [43:43] “When I try to fully experience the body, I seem to hold the in-breath too tightly, causing tension in the abdomen. Do you have any tips for loosening up diaphragm or the belly area?” [Mindfulness of breathing] [Mindfulness of body]

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13. [46:50] “Please demystify jhana a little for those like myself whose vipassana past has had minimal samadhi focus. The emphasis on calming and brightening has been so helpful. Whereas in past I associated deep concentration with vipassana elites and insight practice more for those living in the mess of the world, now I wonder, in our post election universe, whether a more jhanic or balance between practices would prevent overwhelm, hiding, running to Canada! Thoughts?” [Jhāna] [Insight meditation] [Gladdening the mind] [Calming meditation] [Everyday life] [Politics and society]

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14. [52:36] ““There is a crack in everything. That’s where the light gets in” Leonard Cohen Lots of cracks out there. Lots of potential for awakenings and wise compassionate action. Do you agree? If so, where do you see the light emerging? In what arenas? Where would you focus your energy if you were not a monk?” [Compassion] [Activism] [Right Action]

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15. [57:40] “Could you explain if the steps of the anapanasati sutta need to be experienced sequentially? Does sukha always need piti before? Or can one experience sukha after calming the mind without piti every single time?” [Mindfulness of breathing] [Rapture] [Happiness]

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16. [1:01:26] “Could you share some teaching about protecting qualities of the Dhamma and how I can feel less fear while keeping the precepts?” [Dhamma] [Virtue] [Fear] [Precepts]

Session 7 – Ajahn Pasanno – Nov. 25, 2016 Download audio (1:26:39)

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1. [0:01] “Can you please say a little more about using the contemplation of death to gladden the mind?” [Recollection/Death] [Gladdening the mind]

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2. [2:06] “How do I become a more generous person if there is a constant underlying worry about having enough (money for living, retirement, etc.)? How to create a sense of abundance within so I can truly give to others?” [Generosity] [Fear] [Commerce/economics]

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3. [9:11] “I find when the mind settles, it is highly suggestible, and the gentlest whisper of piti or sukha will sometimes bring those, if they haven’t arisen on their own. You spoke a little last night about sustaining and expanding piti and rapture and moving the mind towards equanimity. If you could expand or reiterate, that might be helpful for further exploration.” [Calming meditation] [Rapture] [Equanimity]

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4. [12:35] “Is realization of anatta a sudden event or does it happen gradually with sense of self becoming less and less dense until it eventually dissolves?” [Not-self] [Progress of insight]

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5. [14:34] “Can you please give some guidance on recognizing delusion in the mind? Greed and aversion seem easier to spot.” [Delusion]

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6. [18:14] “Can you suggest some ways of approaching walking meditation that you have found fruitful? Do the themes of anapanasati apply, for example? Is this an adaptable, useful structure?” [Posture/Walking] [Mindfulness of breathing]

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7. [23:52] “Generally, is right intention a subset of kamma or is it the whole enchilada?” [Right Intention] [Kamma]

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8. [25:50] “Does all the chanting we are doing go back to Buddha’s time or has some of it evolved later?” [Chanting] [History/Early Buddhism]

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9. [28:53] “Was sati, vedana, jhana part of the religious climate current at the Buddha’s time? How revolutionary was he seen to be then? Do we know?” [History/Early Buddhism] [Buddha/Biography] [Mindfulness] [Feeling] [Jhāna]

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10. [32:51] “I was wondering how I include the discernment obtained from lifting up the mind to solve a life issue. I wish I could be more intelligent and brighter to solve my life problem in a skillful way. Please advise.” [Discernment] [Everyday life]

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11. [38:37] “It is the eighth evening of the retreat; feels timely to ask what was Ajahn Chah’s teaching for local lay people regarding sexual desire and sexual misconduct. Did he make a different emphasis when he taught westerners?” [Ajahn Chah] [Lay life] [Sensual desire] [Sexual misconduct] [Culture/West]

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12. [42:28] “Will you briefly remind us who are “the four pairs, eight kinds of noble beings”?” [Stages of awakening]

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13. [43:20] “In the teachings on mindfulness of breathing, what does it mean “....sets her/his body erect, having established mindfulness in front of her/him”? I think “in front of” has been interpreted in different ways.” [Mindfulness of breathing]

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14. [46:39] “The term “sati”. What does it mean? Does it mean mindfulness?” [Mindfulness]

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15. [49:24] “Would you please give some advice on how to deal with obsessive compulsive thoughts that cause fear in the mind and tension in the body? I have tried to remember that “mental formations” are not self, but this doesn’t seem to alleviate the problem or help much.” [Habits] [Fear] [Volitional formations] [Not-self]

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16. [53:05] “Will you tell a bit of your story in becoming a monk, early family life, how you came to Thailand, at what age you ordained?” [Ajahn Pasanno] [Monastic life/Motivation]

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17. [56:12] “Would you say more about the ardent, purifying aspect of mindfulness?” [Mindfulness] [Ardency]

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18. [1:00:03] “Did the Buddha give instructions for walking meditation?” [Posture/Walking]

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19. [1:02:17] “What is the latest news re women’s ordination the Thai Forest tradition from upper and lower echelons of the tradition? How would you advise young women seeking ordination in this kind of tradition?” [Women's monastic forms] [Thai Forest Tradition]

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20. [1:05:37] “Regarding the second foundation of mindfulness, feeling: Is pleasant/painful functionally wanting/not wanting?” [Mindfulness of feeling] [Craving]

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21. [1:08:39] “Going on alms round, especially in the US, seems like a very noble, patient practice. Would you speak more of what happens when monastics go for alms for the first time in an american town like Ukiah or in Oregon? When people have no idea what you are doing, and you can’t ask for anything, what happens? Did the monastics go hungry the first few times? Do you explain to people? Do you bless everyone with a chant who gives you food?” [Almsround] [Culture/West]

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22. [1:20:51] “Do you understand impermanence as the phenomena of a river flowing or as a light being turned on and off as Bhikkhu Analayo describes?” [Impermanence] [Ven. Analayo]

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23. [1:23:56] “When I watch my breath, I have all I can do to be aware of one breath and then the next. But the Buddha said, “Know if it is long or short”. Can you give an insight into why this step beyond bare awareness? Also why long and short, vs, for example, shaky and smooth, consistent and inconsistent, belly breath or nostril breath?” [Mindfulness of breathing] [Present moment awareness]

Session 8 – Ajahn Pasanno – Nov. 26, 2016 Download audio (49:06)

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1. [0:12] “I was surprised to learn recently that there is a concept of hell in the suttas Could you talk a bit about what Buddha meant by it and who goes there?” [Hell]

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2. [2:26] “Could you describe in detail and provide explicit examples of the four mutual qualities of a couple?” [Relationships]

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3. [4:32] “You have mentioned in the morning that the meditation of breathing could help with cessation of dukkha. Could you elaborate how breathing in/out can cease dukkha?” [Mindfulness of breathing] [Cessation of Suffering]

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4. [6:07] “Can sukha and equanimity exist at the same time? I am wondering if I am missing an opportunity to work with equanimity and other factors of enlightenment by always hanging out in sukha-land. Could you please mention how to recognise equanimity?” [Happiness] [Equanimity]

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5. [8:34] “Would you briefly say the name again of the protective meditations?”

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6. [9:20] ““Buddha is Teacher of Gods and Humans”, so according to Buddha, there is no one God but many Gods or it depends on what is meant by God?” [Recollection/Buddha] [Deva]

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7. [10:38] “Mind is impermanent correct? So when the Buddha says that the mind is radiant and it gets obscured by defilements, does this mean that the mind that arises without defilements in that moment is radiant? radiance is composed of many minds arising and passing away without defilements?” [Heart/mind] [Impermanence] [Nature of mind]

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8. [12:01] “Do you have any inspiring stories to share of practicing with strong fear (animals,etc)? I’m inspired when I hear such stories from monks of this tradition.” [Fear] [Stories]

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9. [20:53] “Is the blessing chant after receiving food only reserved to monks or are there appropriate occasions when lay people can chant it? Which Pali verses are your favorite to enjoy sound and poetic beauty of the language?” [Chanting] [Pāli]

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10. [22:33] “Would you please explain what is appropriate with regards to a Buddha image? Is it ok to put a Buddha statue directly on the ground or level concrete, or must the statue be on a platform always?” [Buddha images] [Respect]

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11. [28:14] “Will you please define bodily formations and mental formations again?” [Volitional formations]

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12. [29:53] “A longtime Buddhist friend told me that Buddha gave a sermon extolling his followers to bury gold to protect themselves from the government. I find this unlikely and have not been able to find any such reference in the liturgy. Is there any such sermon?” [Commerce/economics] [Sutta]

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13. [31:24] “I sometimes experience states in which the body is very relaxed and it is easy to become very absorbed in the breath. They are pleasurable and quite calming but is there something I should do with them?” [Calming meditation] [Mindfulness of breathing] [Concentration]

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14. [34:21] “In the Catholic tradition, when someone dies, a priest is often brought in to administer last rites (extreme unction). Is there any similar tradition in Buddhism to be with the dying practitioner?” [Christianity] [Death]

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15. [38:47] “In the anapanasati sutta, how should one approach the various steps listed in the sutta? All in one sitting? Over time?” [Mindfulness of breathing]

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16. [40:12] “Could you list the ways one contemplates mind as mind again? (third foundation of mindfulness).” [Mindfulness of mind]

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17. [42:44] “Yesterday when you spoke of women’s ordination in California, I thought of the nuns at Aloka Vihara Forest Monastery who left the Thai Forest Tradition to ordain as nuns. As a woman who has felt a strong calling to the monastic life, I feel a painful split in my heart between the love I have for the Thai Forest Tradition that has changed my life, and its seemingly uncompassionate regard for women wishing to live the Holy Life. It leaves me with a profound feeling of hurt and “less-than” mana. I have to believe that the Buddha, who revolutionarily taught against the caste system, would not want me to feel like second class member of the human race when trying to live a life in his example. I have tried bringing self compassion to this felt sense of my heart breaking, but the pain seems to get worse with the association of the teachers of the Thai Forest tradition who showed me the dharma and yet follow this “anti-nun" rule. Would you share some words of healing to help my heart and restore my faith in this tradition that has so profoundly changed my life?” [Women's monastic forms] [Thai Forest Tradition] [Women in Buddhism] [Compassion] [Faith]

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18. [48:29] “Do you have any doubts in the Dhamma’s promise that the result of accomplished practice is total liberation from suffering?” [Doubt] [Dhamma] [Liberation] [Cessation of Suffering]