The Gradual Training
Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Yatiko
Upāsikā Day, Oct. 20, 2012
Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California
2 sessions, 17 excerpts, 48:40 total duration

Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Yatiko describe the Buddha's progressive teaching, which begins by encouraging generosity and virtue and goes on to describe the joys of heaven, the drawbacks in sensuality, the benefits of renunciation, and the Four Noble Truths.

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Sessions:    1    2
Session 1 – Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Yatiko – Oct. 20, 2012 Download audio (20:09)
[Gradual Teaching]

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1. [0:33] Comment by Ajahn Yatiko: In the image of planting a seed (AN 1.314-315), for Dhamma practice it needs to be a seed that comes from the Buddha. [Similes] [Hearing the true Dhamma] [Practicing in accordance with Dhamma] [Teaching Dhamma] [Buddha]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Right View] [Christianity]


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2. [2:14] “In the example you gave of the snake (MN 22), can you give an example of how the Dhamma can bite you?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Yatiko. [Similes] // [Abhidhamma] [Conflict] [Meditation/Techniques] [Clinging] [Unwholesome Roots] [Right Intention] [Learning]

Story: The teachings of Dhammakaya. Told by Ajahn Pasanno. [Self-identity view] [Commerce/economics] [Nibbāna] [Generosity]

Story: An Abhidhamma teacher visits Ajahn Chah. Told by Ajahn Pasanno. [Ajahn Chah]


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3. [9:14] “How does one look at intention?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Yatiko. [Volition] [Right Intention] // [Four Noble Truths] [Discernment] [Delusion]

Quote: “Sometimes you don't want to look at intention too closely because you'll convince yourself of anything.” — Ajahn Pasanno


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4. [11:09] “Can you talk about how 'Aha!' moments relate to the gradual path?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno. [Liberation] // [Faculties]


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5. [12:34] “When I read a story that someone has awakened, what does this mean? Does it mean that the practice continues on another level?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Yatiko. [Liberation] // [Language] [Hearing the true Dhamma] [Faith] [Discernment]


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6. [14:44] Comment: The simile of the snake (MN 22) describes my practice. I've been bitten quite a lot. [Similes]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Yatiko. [Suffering] [Humility]


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7. [15:32] “In the West, there are so many religious practices from the East. How do we relate to them all.” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno. [Spiritual traditions] [Hinduism] // [Buddha/Biography] [Teaching Dhamma]

Sutta: MN 95: Caṅkī Sutta [Conditionality] [Faith]

Quote: “I've been an abbot for thirty years, and I'm quite happy. One of the reasons I'm happy is I don't feel I have to go and convince anybody of anything.” — Ajahn Pasanno [Ajahn Pasanno] [Monastic life] [Happiness] [Contentment]


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8. [19:18] Comment: Your statement that faith comes from building confidence and confidence comes from direct experience is so true. [Faith] [Direct experience] [Conflict]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno.


Session 2 – Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Yatiko – Oct. 20, 2012 Download audio (33:10)
[Gradual Teaching]

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1. [0:18] “Could you elaborate on how the Four Foundations of Mindfulness are analogous to the first jhāna? How does this differ from second jhāna?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno. [Right Mindfulness] [Jhāna] // [Directed thought and evaluation]


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2. [2:03] “In the analogy of the accountant (MN 107), it seems that the training works linearly. Are there basic practices that are important to focus on in the beginning? Are ther other practices which should not be attempted in the beginning?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno. [Similes] [Practicing in accordance with Dhamma] // [Faith] [Kamma] [Unconditioned] [Learning] [Relinquishment] [Concentration]

Story: A monk carrying money asks to stay at Wat Pah Pong. [Ajahn Chah] [Wat Pah Pong] [Not handling money]


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3. [8:00] Comment: You spoke about suffusing the body with extreme well-being. But I've been in states like that and my body seems to disappear. [Jhāna] [Happiness] [Rapture] [Mindfulness of body] [Meditation/Unusual experiences]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno.

Quote: “It isn't so much the experience of extreme well-being that is the goal. It's the ability to gain clarity and stability so that one can see through the experience as something that is uncertain or impermanent, has a changing nature. The mind often wants to disregard that. The tendency to identify self with experience on a refined mental level is tempered by the body experience.” [Clear comprehension] [Concentration] [Knowledge and vision] [Impermanence] [Delusion] [Self-identity view] [Relinquishment]

Follow-up: “Are you saying you can become attached to these states?” [Clinging]


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4. [11:37] Comment: The descriptions in Mae Chee Kaew's biography of how difficult it was for her to give up her experiences with the astral world speak to me. [Mae Chee Kaew] [Clinging] [Deva]

Reference: Mae Chee Kaew: Her Journey to Spiritual Awakening and Enlightenment by Ajahn Dick Sīlaratano

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Happiness] [Mindfulness of body]


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5. [13:04] “In regards to the simile of the path to Rājagaha (MN 107), could you describe classic mistakes made by sincere beginning, intermediate and advanced practitioners?” Answered by Ajahn Yatiko and Ajahn Jotipālo. [Similes] // [Faith] [Doubt] [Truth] [Virtue] [Liberation] [Conditionality] [Christianity] [Suffering]


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6. [19:55] Story: They ask the Zen master what would it say if they wrote the biography of his life? "One mistake after another." [Zen] [Learning] [Humility]


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7. [20:09] Comments about the role of heaven as a haven in the practice. [Deva] [Faith] [Three Refuges] [Four Noble Truths]


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8. [21:23] “How do we know when to ask for directions on the path as opposed to just continuing farther? What would we ask?” Answered by Ajahn Yatiko. [Questions] [Practicing in accordance with Dhamma] // [Suffering] [Discernment] [Conditionality] [Faith]

Sutta: SN 12.23: Suffering is the cause of faith.

Follow-up: “What about when things are pleasant, but we're not headed in the right direction?” [Happiness] [Mindfulness] [Deva] [Relinquishment]

Sutta: MN 75: Simile of the leper. [Similes]

Sutta: SN 56.35: Stream entry after 100 years. [Stream entry] [Four Noble Truths]


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9. [26:57] “Can you speak more about the impermance of goodness?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno. [Impermanence] [Virtue] // [Conditionality] [Happiness] [Compassion] [Fear] [Suffering] [Clinging]

Sutta: AN 8.39: Five great gifts which give freedom from fear. [Generosity] [Five Precepts]

Quote: “The basis of Right View is knowing that this cup is a broken glass.” — Ajahn Chah [Ajahn Chah] [Right View]