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#263: The Buddha's Four-Part Strategy for "Ultimate Happiness" | Sally Armstrong


"Mindfulness" has become a buzz phrase. There are books on mindful parenting, mindful lawyering, even mindful sex. But what does the word even mean? And how do you actually do it? In one of his most famous and foundational discourses, the Buddha was said to have laid out, in great detail, four ways to establish mindfulness. In today's episode we’re going to walk through these four "foundations" of mindfulness with Sally Armstrong, who started practicing in 1981, began teaching 15 years later, and now leads retreats all over the world. Before we start, I should note that we recorded this interview shortly before the pandemic and the racial justice protests, but we thought it might be a good time to drop a good, old-fashioned, meat and potatoes, stick to your ribs dharma episode to help us get back to basics. 

Where to find Sally online: 

Spirit Rock Profile: https://www.spiritrock.org/sally-armstrong

Sally Armstrong on Dharmaseed.org: https://dharmaseed.org/teacher/153/

You can find meditations from our world-class teachers and much more on our app. Visit tenpercent.com to download the Ten Percent Happier app and kickstart your meditation practice. Visit tenpercent.com to sign up today.

Other Resources Mentioned:

S.N Goenka / https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/about/goenka 

The 3 Characteristics / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_marks_of_existence

The Four Noble Truths / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths

Ajahn Sumedho / https://dharmaseed.org/teacher/10/

Insight Meditation Society / https://www.dharma.org/

Joseph Goldstein’s Book Mindfulness / https://www.amazon.com/Mindfulness-Practical-Awakening-Joseph-Goldstein/dp/1622036050 

Additional Resources:

Ten Percent Happier Live: https://tenpercent.com/live

Coronavirus Sanity Guide: https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide

Free App access for Frontline Workers: https://tenpercent.com/care

Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/sally-armstrong-263

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey guys before we get started a cook announcement, animal but you, but during the pandemic in economic, deep freeze and racial justice protests, there have been many times for I have struggled to sleep, either fall asleep or to stay asleep or to get enough sleep or to be disciplined about going to bed on time, etc, etc. I exit pretty big problem, so we're bringing on a sleep expert, a scientist to talk about sleep hygiene in tumultuous times, and we want to this guy voice mails from all of you for your question so
I'm going to give your number now call. This number leave a voicemail and there's a high likelihood that will play it on the show. Six hundred and forty six, eight hundred and eighty three eight hundred and thirty, two six thousand six hundred and forty six eight hundred and eighty three eight thousand three hundred and twenty six will put that phone number in the show notes. If you don't have a pen handy, the deadline here is July. Tenth, so give us a call and hear yourself on the show. All right, let's get to today, show My fulness has become a bit of a buzz phrase. These days there are books on mindful parenting, mindful lawyering, even mindful sex. That's that's real, but is the word even mean, and how do you actually do it
in one of his most famous and foundational discourses a guy named the Buddha was said to have laid out in great detail for ways to establish mindfulness. So in today's episode we're gonna walk through these, for so called foundations of mindfulness with Sally Armstrong, who started practicing back in eighteen, eighty one and then began teaching fifteen after that and now leads retreats all over the world before Easter. I want to point out that we recorded this interview shortly before the pandemic and the racial justice protests, but we thought it might be a good time. To drop a good old fashioned meeting potatoes. Stick your ribs Dharuma episode to help us get back to basics. So here we go with Sally Armstrong. Nice to see you again idea nice for common army. Here, let's start with your back story, how did you get interested in meditation is girl from Melbourne. Australia-
it was a circuitous routes. I grew up in Melbourne, Australia, which is, way from anywhere sounds like you, ve been to Australia, bet back when I was growing up in their born in the fifties and growing up in the six. He's the rest of the world with a long way away. So is a relatively sheltered upbringing. Obviously we books and went to school, college and reading new ideas about the world was exciting, but it seemed a long way away, but I, actually saved up enough money and decided to do the thing that many young Australians do, which is to leave for an extended period because once you leave its expensive, so you go when you stay away for a number of months, so my idea was that I would, India for six months. Another friend had been and came back with all of these exotic stories about India so made some arrangements in So what I did I went to India had no clue about Asia,
or India, certainly no real interest in meditation. I was about twenty five years old at the time. But being in India, it's just a very spiritual place. It's both very spiritual and incredibly channel Jane and so you have to develop resources they, I hadn't been count to develop in my life so far, challenging because its heart and messy and everything is difficult, and yet there is a sense of power, stability there and especially again coming from a real if we sheltered background Melvin Australia, meeting people from all over the world, literally certainly both indian people but other travellers from from Europe from Japan from America. So just broaden my horizons and it wasn't long in being in India because it is such a spiritual place. Those idea started to permeate the conversations that I was having and I started getting interested
in meditation actually ended up living for about six months in our guns witches right, the Dalai Lama, lives, people, say Dharamsala, but Macleod is hill on in India, where British would go to escape the heat. Now, it's quite a delightful setting and it feels like you in Tibet. It's full of two, and so I got interested in tibetan meditation while is there a lot of my friends we're getting into it, but that was always too complex For me, there was a lot of layers and barriers to access to the teachings and some one fund said to me. If you want to learn to meditate go in You are going to retreat and so that's a rich wait with s end anchor, who is it was he's dead now very AMOS Meditation teacher, his Indian by additionality, but blunt is meditation in Burma, which is a buddhist country and he entered
aided this idea of ten day retreats where people lay people could come in practice and learn meditation. There was probably a couple of hundred people on their retreat. The retreat was with a single anchor himself, which now of these dead, but even many years ago was quite rare to actually practice with him hindi. So there were lots of challenges I can't remember what he taught I mean. I know the basics if his meditations somebody translating from the handy shook so he would gives the basic meditation instructions in both Hindi in English, but for his Dama talks we would beast, though people the Westerners would be shunted off to aside, Building and we'd here a tape of his in glacier was sort of combined, but my stuff This memory of it is kind of the shock that I could actually stop and look at my own mind and have some choices about how I acted, and what
came out of my mouth. That was revelation to me. I thought we were just tumbling forward and knocking into each other like pinball machine kind of thing and that the things that happened to me that way difficult or bad. What my falter, I didn't No or someone else's fault, and this sense of agency responsibility and the ability to create intentions for myself. It was just life changing and again the sense of possibility from these teachings, even though most of them went way over my head. I'd, never meditated before his tender, retreating, credibly intensive, where by the third or fourth day you encouraged to do: thou hours way, you sit for an hour without moving our excruciating, but just this sense of flee engaging directly with you moment to moment experiences getting to understand it, and, as I said,
out of that make choices from your values, it was, was life changing a change, my jump in four seconds. I'm just trying to see if I can break down how the Choices would emerge from the meditation so you're sitting there in meditation you're watching your breath. I'm in and go out or you're doing a bodies can we are paying attention to those parts of the body in watching the sensations come and go, and then every time you get distracted, which happens a lot right You see how, while the mind, is you returned to whatever you ve decided to focus on your here s, your body or whatever, and in doing now you recognize man we're just ambush by all these powerful emotions and random thoughts and powerful, urges all the time but don't necessarily have to act on exactly and that's where the choice yards in that you describe it yet, instead of just tumbling along on egoists cascade our lives, we can notice. What's going in our mind, in our body, an act
More saying, rational values based, as you said, way again, clay, and you know what I always say about mindful of this space, where there's a choice do follow that urge line of thinking or in that ace. That's what, boy. This is wisdom, can come in there and allow a choice more out of your values. Out of your higher intentions rather than an hour Mitchell Knee jerk reaction. People are often confuse about how does paying attention to your breath abroad. Sensations actually support you in working more wisely with your mind and your mental and emotional states, and it is just that pang of it tension in the noticing of what's happening, from this allows this space within which there can be a choice. Now it's interesting that so often we see that space. We have the choice and we too
out of habit to go on without a meditative. Certainly even meditation you even me. Even now, even now those habits as strong a distraction nor being pulled toward something that you know is not wise or healthy or appropriate in in a moment. But that possibility was what excited me and comes from, as you say, just paying attention to the breath. The body sensations, I can still remember my teacher issing blank or saying you might feel a niche. You don't need to scratch it and that such a metaphor, for all of the urges in our life they like these itches. These urges and just have a sense. I dont need to automatically run towards that stay away because it's too uncomfortable that choice point is so important and becomes even more powerful when its informed by values or
by a higher motivations or aspirations. So I cut you off to clarify that point for you. You were saying before that. You were starting to say when I cut you off that. Oh just brief aside, I hope, what I was saying. Oh even now you have you given Georgia's. I hope there is no judgment that came through, because I do that all so. Just just quick note on that. But you are starting say before that that first ten day retreat change your life. Yes, you ve been a doormat teacher of quite a long time. I imagine that's the change you are referring to well that in a big sense, but there were many small, no smaller or what I really saw is from that retreat. As I said, it changed my life because I made started me intentions from that retreat? How I stay close to or connected to what we call the Dama the teachings, and I mean that in the broadest sense, so choices
going to other retreats choices about becoming friends with people. Who are also meditate is going to places where meditation was happening. So I just from that retreat. The choices that I made that ended up, yes becoming a meditation teacher, but many steps along the way and their own. Is where I had a choice point Where would I connect with teachings? Where would I be with people who share interest in these practices? And it just lead me step step. Two engagement in the community of meditate is and then Over many years I mean I was practising for many years before I began teaching, but that first retreat was the beginning of that whole journey were in preparation for this interview. We serve reached out through the broader ten percent happier, family of staff and coaches and one of the people in our
on our team car a lie, and oh yes, I guess you may know her, and so she submitted a question that I thought would be interesting to ask you given were now service serve in the biographical phase of the interview. Her question- and I am quoting Here- is how being a teacher is a part of your pack who, how it shapes your practice and as a challenge you and can you use tee intentionally as part of your practice, definitely I may I have and still do consider teaching the both biggest benefit to my practice, the biggest supplier, for my practice in the biggest challenge to my Magnuson. Those both go together because, unless where challenged and. Enquiring about our experience when growing so definitely teaching both in the actual doing offered in preparing to teach too. As you know, what
one of the main forms that we used to give teachings is what we call a dogma talk. Where will speak for forty five or six minutes on a certain topic in thinking about what would be helpful students. What's interesting to me, up resources, putting together something that we hope will be of benefit to You know where they are and practice in a particular retreat, or perhaps it's just an end, in class, whether it be a whole range of people, some of whom may not be familiar with meditation at all. So there's that. Stimulation of of preparing the material and and being engaged with the present. Your audience for that that's very stimulating. If I wasn't, a teacher, I wouldn't be, do wouldn't be create in that way and for there's something about diving into material with the intention of writing about it and hunting of locally that forces you I mean I cynicism, is written a couple books about this stuff that the writing of the books elbows torture for me
help me metabolize material away, never otherwise what exactly- and I think it is very true, even though its much shorter, it's just in half an hour long term but you know we have some forms where will give a series of talks or do a clue series, and then it has be gather the bestowed, a breadth of what you think would be helpful about. It certain topic and really diving into that, so, yes, I find teaching. Incredibly, as I said, supportive and challenging in a good way to my practice And then the other aspect is in the form of teaching that we often do. We have either small group, one to one meetings with students where they bring their practice in their experience, an hour all is to support them, and to do that, you have to know what they are talking about. You have to you know have add a range of experiences. It might hopefully soon What match what their eggs France's or know enough about the territory to have empathy and be
but then responding away. That's helpful and that's very embodied moment to moment practice. You and have a road and say you can't, you know, think o tomorrow I'll say this too so, and so it's gotta be so dynamic in the moment that it's a mindfulness practice in and of itself again based in in my practice. In my understanding my readings, my familiarity with the teachings. The wide range of forms of metal station. There are, you know, meditation, isn't just being mindful of the breath in the bodies. A whole range of and ways of doing that, and then certainly other practices that I've done, that other people might be doing so yet very rich and very stimulating to our jumping on that point, to say something nice that you probably can't say, because you might not like the way, would sound coming out of your own mouth about your own work,
Sometimes people say to me o Daniel herb. You know helping to run an organization as imitation Abbe written the books on it. Aren't you basically, a teacher and I'll say. No, you don't understand what a teacher does is required, in my mind, to be a teacher more now in an era where people go off and study for a few weeks ago, a certificate start teaching meditation, which now maybe some levels, Ok in some ways, but anyway I wanna get too deep into that controversy. But I just want to say about people who I consider true. Teachers, like you, is you ve done years of silent, meditation, retreats and so that when you are confronted by a student's experience of their own mind that you can respond with wisdom and skill because there that's that incredibly vulnerable moment for the student and increase at a moment of incredible responsibility and wait for you
it's not unlike the child of two physicians and marriage with physician, and these people have done, who you know. My wife, I think, has seven years of post med school training, something crazy, that means that she can walk into an icy you and keep you alive just sleep at a holiday and last night, and therefore she can do it. And I, I think, that's a really important thing for people to keep in mind when, when they listen to a meditation teacher that the training is extensive. It is extensive and there are also ways in which I feel like a beginner. You know when you talk about exploring the breadth and depth of the buddhist teaching and his mind at his capacity as a teacher mean his recorded volumes of teaching. You know, one number here is like twenty six volumes where he responded in all of these often Brill
ways to people's questions and talking about Dahmer in practice in and Laval. Meditation is based on on what he taught. So this is extreme here right where, yes, I feel I have practised in a way and for enough depth that I can support the people who come and speak to me and ways in which I know you know is Jos would often say it's just the tip of the iceberg. Joseph godson, yes, but I think it's important just I want people to miss, have misunderstood what you just said, as some sort of impostor syndrome cause, if not it's important in buddhist circles, to keep a beginners. My yes and that's what I hear from what I hear healthy humility and beginners mind from what you just said. Yes, let us not beginner is not knowing that chest that that kind,
Openness to always growing in learning, as I said, teaching offers to me it's like every time. I have a conversation with someone. I learned something. I learn something about myself, so times. I learned about my limits and that's actually helpful to know Learn about how to be more skilful, had had a support. Someone and people have experiences that I haven't had you know I haven't had every experience, it's possible in meditation or otherwise it that's not possible, but to find commonality or to find a way of supporting them. That's that's what I look to do when I'm speaking with people about meditation. So you said before that, being a teacher has been the source of both inspiration, invigoration and us or free meditation practice, but also a child who, if he said, if I give you a chance to say enough about how it's been a challenge now we'd be long conversation I mean part of it is just that you know the you always
if some things really, if there's a depth to something, I mean, as I said, I always feel like there's more to know, there's more to learn that I am being challenged to both speak from my experience, but to be able to. Bake in a language that someone can understand. If I speak to individually or uniquely about mice, the specificity of my experiences not often helpful to some one else, so that's just one example of the challenge there practices that I'd like to learn more about and deepen in there's more reading that I'd like to do to really familiarised myself with these volumes of tax. I haven't read anywhere near all of them, so there's that kind of thing and then I'd have to say I challenge at the moment is addressing real will
concerns. The people have, and that can be enough. They're, not my direct expire and how do I speak to someone that's having suffering pain? fusion around their say, their sexuality or their re sure background or their feeling, general in some way, as our retreats are becoming more popular are we getting more diverse communities coming and learning how to speak skilfully? Two people have had a very different life. Then I have a background or sexual orientation or sexual expression, show background, there's a whole level of learning about doing that skilfully. That is again a challenge, but one that really enlivens my own practice. My thinking my discussions with fellow teachers, and I think the way the Dahmer is being presented at the most
I'm working specifically on climate change, and how do we talk about climate change in our teaching in a way that actually supportive of people in and helps amuse a work with that as damage act as a nodded, something that so if an overwhelming that we just collapse in a corner so well conversations as teachers. How do we. Come to our own. Wise relationship to that. How do we be actively in support of the huge steps that are needing to be taken around climate change, but using that is Dahmer a practice you know so we're not activist out. We can but that's as a dummy teacher, it's about finding language and practices and resources around that there's always knew edges new places to explore and again, as a teacher, soda two when I'm sitting with someone in practice meeting
I see my role is helping them frame or understand their experience in Dama, language or dama practice terms and its assent with any of these new areas of exploration. How do we bring that into our practice? How had it storm understanding of that? How is their wise view in relief? ship to this particular area? of modern day life. I wanna get you to say more, but I am planned and diving in here, but of actual really glad we are because I can imagine people listening. This might have been confused by what you say, putting it in Dharmu language because some of the things that you reference that are coming up in these one on one sessions with students and usually retreat context- I would imagine- is they come in pop down on the chair? Opposite you and
They may be thinking that this is a relationship somewhat akin to us a shrink, whoo hoo, but you're, not a psychiatrist, our signal, if you're, a dark, blue who and so in some ways your having too, level set, so your actually making sure that your booths coming from the same place as you have this discussion. That strikes me as being very challenging: yeah, many teachers. Actually, a therapist sore psychiatry have some training in that area, and I think it can be really helpful. I don't no, I'm trained as a meditation teacher that that is my training, but We do learn certain skills they do in some way similar to water. Therapists might do in sitting with someone and having empathy and in creating a safe space for them to share what's going on, but the. Framing that I'm talking about helping them understand their experience and dogma. Language and Dahmer practice is
both as a meditation, because again, as you said, this is often in the context of meditation retreat, sell their leave this meeting and go out and continue practising mindful is how did they work with whatever is come up with them? in their ongoing silent alone practice. You know for most of the day, we know how much you or snows about retreats, but there in silence you know sitting and working with these every day, also meetings with a teacher and so looking at how to support them, working with they ve come up on the emotional level, physical level, literally in their meditation practice. And then the other side, more of a dumb perspective, is using these teachings of the Buddha that is so brilliant about the three characteristics that everything works: in sing in this condition in Rome is impermanent unsatisfactory. And there's not an inherent solidity permanent herself at the core of it and so
list reminding them of things they already know, but when you call in some real difficulty, We all lose that wisdom room finding them about the four noble truth. This is suffering. This is the nature of being human You have a body in mind. There will be suffering, it's not wrong that this is happening. But how do we learn from it instead of feeling helpless or victor more angry about it, so that kind of framing what happens when somebody comes in here? You know you're supposed to be served in care of them, as you said, creating a safe space and you d, just press your buttons and you re having thoughts like I just did this person rubs being the wrong way. So that can happen. You know we're all human and individuals and have very different ways. We approach things, but I think I said before this kind of eating with students is a practice, and so my practice, then,
to become aware of those reactions and know them justice. They might be repetitive fleeting thoughts in the mind that are perhaps triggered some physiological response of the heart beating faster clenching in the belly and brief in all the simple answer would be said, to breathe and know that to ground myself in some way that, following those thoughts, we're back to look, it intentions and the choice point isn't skilful right now, it's actually very counter productive and that's my practice how to sit with someone where there is dissension difficulty. This agreement and hold that space and you know I can do that- sometimes quite well and other times, perhaps chow- but that would be my intention is to have. That is my practice.
Also to know for whom it is on the other side in the chair, opposite me that they are struggling with something that this is this. Is there duke their suffering, and they just you know in there? cape from it trying to put it on to me. That's why the four noble truce so helpful is. This is what it's like to be human. We we miss each other, we we there can be contention that can be difficulty, and so this framing grounding the feed on the floor, feeling my breath and knowing again that's, my role is to help this person hold this, and if I really can't do it skilfully, no, the interviews that practice made his aunt that long, ten or fifteen minutes like. How can I be with this person and they have to leave, and then I have to assess You know what would be more skilful next time. Someone else will probably be he to them, they'll be in a different space. That's where the impermanence pot comes into
don't take it so seriously cause. I know people can get very activated on retreat. Its people have sometimes the retreat at this place of relaxation and calm, and we can get incredibly challenged physically emotionally through our memories, through interactions with other people on the retreat and people can be instead of on their best behaviour sometime. The more challenging side of people can come out and again, just knowing that creates a space to hopefully help me hold them in whatever they are going through and not by into mine. Whatever reactions, I might be having more
my conversation with Sally read up to this. If you like, getting the story behind the story, chicken start heap Daily news podcast from eighty seniors every morning start here, we'll get you ready for your day within sight. Full straightforward reporting, on a few of the days biggest headlines from ran breaking investigative reports to urgent revelations shaping your world recently honoured with prestigious Edward our Moreau. Lord start here takes you inside the stories that matter and withered heading next, so start smart. We stuck here check it out, an apple pot casts or if Pakistan, So in preparing for this interview in reading my preparation, materials, which are prepared by two of my amazing colleagues, Grace Livingston and Samuel Johns one of the things that I saw these parameters that one of the things they did
of real interest to you is- is getting pretty granular about what the Buddha settings and actual teachings, and I don't think we ve done a tonne on this podcast of like diving into the early Things are the Buddha and exploiting them and are really simple way, which is your power alley, because I've seen you aunt em on my own retreats I've seen you give Dharmu talks in your your great at this. So I thought we could do that here. You mentioned the four noble truths I just want to not let that go by without quickly I'll give a quick explanation of what those are, because I have a bigger question for you: the four noble truths just for anybody who's, created here, is after the Buddha got enlightened or you know if you believe, the myth and then he went out and was gay, took out some downtime and then he went out and gave his first talk to some of his old meditation buddies and he delivered. What are now known as the four noble truths one is. Life
suffering, which means doesn't mean you're constantly getting your innerds picked out by crows. It means that if everything is impermanent and if your to things that won't it's not be awesome for you at the second one is the source of suffering. Is thirst or design higher doesn't mean wanting. Food is a bad thing, but if all you're doing all the time is just wanting wanting wanting again in a world characterized by impermanence, it's it's gonna be difficult. The authorities there is a way out of this, and the fourth is here's. The way out of its called the Noble Eightfold path and its consisting of things like right, mindfulness right view by a whole list of things that Sally Cutlass that I can't I'm giving you the quick version of that, because I want to dive into another area of the Buddhist early teachings. We Sally, which we ve never really talk about the by catch. That, I think, would be really useful to do here, so that is the four foundations
I feel this, which is so interesting to understand as a practitioner at whatever level. So, first of all that I doing know job, giving the dinosaur version of the formidable truth close enough close enough. Ok guess! Suffice it to say you can need any number of good books and get a better version of that than me? Ok, so my foundations of my fullness. This comes from a famous talk. The Buddha gave known as this Saturday paternal suitor. And in which he described the four ways in which one can develop. Mindfulness So can you must remember one what's number one the first foundation of mindfulness is the body- and this is another map I'd like to talk about the buddhist teachings, often providing us with maps and now we are all familiar with Google maps. We used it to get here today to find our way into the city. It so helpful to have a guide tells you. This would be really important to look here
to turn here to pay attention to this, and this is what the Buddha over and over again, and so this is one of the main map said he gave us for our meditation practice There's a linearity to it, but they never Jude in that way, it's something that we can use and we can deepen over I've time over many lifetimes. If you have that world view, so it begins with as he always does kind of with the real basic, almost obvious place to start, which is mine none of the body- and we ve already talk just a little about how being mindful of the breath and the body as a training helps work with the mind. We use this awareness of the body and he gives in a number of different practices for working with the body, many of which we teach and peace. Lou have done any meditation. They will be following some of these steps because it includes the breath. It includes the body.
Sensations, he dives to it in ways that we often don T cheat talks about death, contemplations or corpse contemplation the way he talks about working with the body in the section called the thirty two parts of the body we dont teach that much, but the basics of, what's in this first foundation, is what is the foundation of virtually any meditation progress was corpse. We explain what that means. This is hard to do now, because third tart defined dead bodies, but back then they had charnel grounds where they would lay out the bodies and let them vultures them personally are so many different me. No in India, they have burning, got so somebody's would be burnt, some would be just strewn in the channel ground in vultures, all dogs or whatever would eat them, but even in the text, Buddha doesn't say you have to have a dead body. He says as though one were to see though one were to imagine, so you can just do this as a reflection you dont have to have a child.
But it really is kind of starting this grounding in the body which we think covers so solid, and definitely so much me who I am this body and permanent in a way in a we look in the mirror every day, and this me certainly if we look at a photo from how many you know to that, I'm lying gets a longer or shorter. As you get older, you know winded. I start looking different than I do now, but we have so many different, relate Ships to the body to how we look at physical height hair, everything the size and shape of the body we have so many constructs about that that really limit us enter often misguided or even untrue. People have bought. But does this morphia with their sense of themselves, isn't actually very accurate and the buddhist king is always not think about
the body or you idea dear about the body. Your concept of the body feel a body. No, the body from the inside and what the boost to do in this foundation and the other foundations is deconstruct outside Certified view of experience so starting with the body. Is this very solid, lasting thing? Spain with me, since day one you know be with me at my death, I presume had this idea about it. He said, look and see what's actually here and he gives all these different ways that we can do that, but just the the very basic city starts with the breath coming and going and the bodily sensations. You know out even the view of a hand in a way so used to. We can look at our hand, but as one of my his agenda? Tomato says I can't look at my own eyes
I can only see a reflection of my eyes, then not my eyes, and so it's this. Shifting of aware understanding the nature of the body seen through these the templates and the challenge, The border is used one list and that brings in other list and another list, and you can get overwhelmed by list. But I use this one before the three characteristics: the bodies in permanent its unsatisfactory in the sense that we it doesn't do what we want it to do. It's always in some state of challenge hungry its thirsty, you it's aching or it's getting wrinkled or whatever, to article two hot, to call and that we're not in control in the way we'd like to be so we start understanding the body in this first foundation in a very different way than a habitual way of thinking about the body or their ideas and concepts both the ones we have, but certainly we ve taken a lot of concepts from culture and in turn,
eyes them about what we should or shouldn't look like, or you know, what's cool or not cool, and so it's really again deconstructing that and there's a lot of freedom in that. Foundation number two foundation. Number two is in the language of the teachings came down, to his cold vey dinner, and this is a really Trusting fell nation in the sense that the Buddha thought it was important enough to make this only four, and this becomes one of them They'd know we usually translate is feeling tone and that's the quality that every condition experience have every conditioned experience of being either pleasant. Pleasant or the literal translation is neither unpleasant nor pleasant beverages, translate every condition, experience basically everything that happens in your mind. Yes, world yeah. Well,
but everything that happens in the world is refreshing area via the mother S, so you're sitting in meditation or we would. You can see it more clearly and meditation. I think he s, I can at least But you sitting in meditation in your noticing a sensation of heat or cold or an emotion like anger or joy, and it has everything. There's a rapidity to these conditions. Experiences that these objects that arise in the mind, but everything that comes up is either pleasant, unpleasant or you Yes, exactly, and this is a universal law- it's not like. If you know what happens, if you don't know what it's not happening. It's always happening and we being train from very early on, and it's very instinctively sum of a lot of this, and so we have to understand that and give ourselves.
Space around this, but we have been very deeply trained to run after what's pleasant and to push away what unpleasant and there's a ton of strategies we ve all developed around those two and four, what's neutral to space out to get bored to go, look for something else, more exciting to happen, and so the Buddha real saw that those three modes- and what they, then you could say, impel us to do is the cause of all of our suffering that running after what's pleasant, and this is where the teachings of there's a great synchronicity to them. You went through the four noble trees before the the second noble truth is the truth of her craving and said it set endless wanting the literal translation of this work time. Her means unquenchable first, so, as you say, it's not oh, that I'm hungry
city or taken care of my family. This is not what is talking about it set unquenchable thirst, and so we ve been trained, conditioned to chase after what's pleasant and if things out pleasant, something's wrong and if Thou something's unpleasant, I need to push it away. I need to get out of here or strike back. You know, get rid of that thing through anger or through some kind of defence mechanism and most of us a ping pong game all day. Long with these three, you know you could say quite subtle experiences, but in their effect there incredibly important to Joseph describes. This is like a bug in a jar. Just constantly moving up and down yet levels of yes paying off. The sides of the charges were not really uncontrolled. Use yanked around yes, it said I you jerk reaction, knee jerk reaction in again we're coming back to how mine
this, as you say, it's easier to see this in meditation when, especially for sitting still and a thought, can com or an inch or two hot, to call. And that immediate urge to change the situation. So we can see that more clearly in the silence in the stillness and meditation, but once you train in this, knowing it as is its happening all the time, and this choice point that I spoke about earlier is so important. Yes, our pocket that reaction bring something's out there and its appealing, go get it in the chair. And we all face is the day. So many of us can we have a phone in our pocket that could bring see anything in the world. If we get the money to our doorstep used to be, you know in five days. It was pretty amazing and then two days and now you know it's like drawing- deliver exactly, and so these compulsion that we have the whole country
The culture is designed to lead us we can, and we even should act on them and have them be satisfied. But the thing about these urges, as you pointed out before, is then satisfying, there's always a new shiny object out there also they knew to hate some variation of what we don't like to hate so we're on a kind of tat, Well, if we're not aware of it, and we can seem like wearing control of everything, we make choices and, where living our lives, but underneath what's fuelling it at these very primal reactions wanting not wanting and the Buddha would say, delusion or ignorance about. What's not seen. Foundation. Number three. So that's in the in the text cheetah see, I t t a and we tend to translate
that is mine state. So it includes basically, I wholly emotional realm, but in the text. It also talks about states of meditation. Is a mine concentrated or not? Is it restless or not? Is there aversion or wanting those to the basic responses to vague prison. In the mind, is the mine contracted or expanded, so it starts with the very basic responses to the second foundation, which is clear unpleasant neutral. Our usual response to pleasant is grasping right. We want it. So that's the first in the third foundation of mindfulness is greed present in the mind, is wanting present in the mind not present, is aversion present or not present or is delusion so their tied together. We, to know them in this.
Can foundation in the third foundation. We look at what happens to the place an unpleasant. Are we want that? We don't want this, and so the third foundation is really coming to know these again very. You're, not simple, but their essential movements of mine that we live with all day long. What's brilliant about this foundation is they can see him. I don't know, I don't know you say negative cause, it starts off. Saying is greed aversion and is greed present in the mind, is aversion present in the mind these are these first three, another list unknown as the Calais sits, translation is usually the torments of mind or the
reasons of minds ease of the roots of the unwholesome that led us into actions that cause palm for ourselves or others, greed, aversion and delusion, but in the foundation the teaching is is at present and the meditated just ass to know is it present or is it not present? He doesn't say this is a terrible thing and it shouldn't be present in the fact that it's present means that you are a bad person or you've messed up for it. You know you sure be doing that. It's just this very clear recognition of his breed in the mind We can understand that in way and that's what meditation trains is to do just to see it very clearly, are the greatest present that choice point opens up again, where we don't have to run after what the mind is greedy for and as such. The kind of I didn't know we assuring a refreshing again, there's no blood,
more judgment about its there's just there or it's not. There were also instructed to know when it's not there. To appreciate those moments, most of us really wired to notice what's wrong and especially what's wrong with us with our minds with our bodies without world, and this is all yours also notice, when the mind distant full of greed and in the text, the language doesn't say it specifically, but the opposite of greed, non greed, which is basically letting go or relinquishment could even extend that two generosity not holding implicit in that. Knowing is right, rising when these more positive state of mind a present but is very simple in- is it
crescent, not prison in same with e meditative states. Again, not he should be striving to get concentrates. Just is mine, concentrated or not? Is constantly no, not concentrate so to seize, usually group pairs of something there or not there, some of them positive sum not, but its very economists about. Let's just look at the mind and see what's there. So I mean this is Michael, necessary, ass, yet rifles we're talking about, three ways where, on the third afore foundations of mindfulness this is an area where my Phyllis could be powerfully developed because and what is my phone as its theme non, judging though awareness of whatever is happening right now, and we tend to think up in our minds, states as being us as if we ve invited them, who I feel greed right now. Therefore, I'm a greedy person, what a terrible person know what we're doing here
on the cushion, and it can be, of course, carried out into off the cushion or free range life, but is just using what's happening without any judgment about it like this, in the mind, I didn't invite it and by the way than that raises all sorts of very healthy questions about whose do who my business anyway. How is this whole situation operating? As you said before, one of the point of developing all this, my phone assisted deconstruct this deeply wired idea. We have a yes, yes and this. Answers as head of very judgmental sense of self not being good enough, and this is just see it as it is, and then again, if we, the understanding of the practice of the teachings this wise about what is intention, and what creating this and choice is a whole challenging area we get into about free willow. Determinism Linda anew, won't go there the moment, but it is one
questions. You know how is this all happening? This is what the Buddha was really interested in, not in abstract philosophical sense? But in this really moment to moment, ok, fine no the greed is present in the mind. But I am aware that I am mindful of it. What happens to the greed gets evaporates assist crazy magical thing. I had this realization up at the inside meditation society, where you have taught many retreats where I was on retreat a couple years ago now, maybe a year ago, whatever doesn't matter, I realized, if I'm suffering, there's something I'm not mindful of exactly when you are aware of it, and even if its unpleasant to go back to your vagueness, the suffering goes away. You can carry decouple the suffering from the pain, yes and that's important, because pain can still be there. Things can still be really difficult you know that mindfulness in meditation doesn't do away with the first noble truth about suffering, but it
when we shift our relationship to it. We what we add to what's unpleasant which is the resistance, the fear, the judgment, the blame? You know that whole trajectory weaken beyond and the power of, seeing something clearly and not being reactive to it again when that happens to people for the first time. It's always mine, blowing the sun. Nothing has changed in all. I've lost my partner or my dog or this illness is really difficult for me, but when I hold it with mindfulness, compassion and equanimity, the mind doesn't have to be caught in that struggle. That suffering doesn't mean that you know everything's, ok, but there's some balance there. That I mean I can radically shift radically, doesn't mean the struggle suffering what reasserted Yeltsin and one nanosecond later, but it is the
ability to summon the mindfulness can moment by moment, which is by the way moments are, we're leaving our actual life? Yes, be a tool to in aggregate turned down the volume. Yes M and to just cross link all these lists? That's the third noble truth, which is the cessation of suffering and that the economy that is a sort of long, in school. What the border experienced the final and uprooting of all suffer. A moment to moment with that kind of clarity of seeing there can be that freedom that possibility and that's really the power mindfulness is allowing us access to that fourth foundation of my former, so the what is a challenging one, the term in the text is done most and we ve been using. This would a few times and its challenging both because
it would in and of itself has a number of meetings. It can mean the truth if things just the reality of things usually was we use that darn mass singular, is what the buddhas teaching the true I things but the fourth, our is actually plural. Dharuma. Some is for So you're saying Damas, yes, so that it well with an r and D. Straight in action, Joe it's hard for me to say my eyes, but is sanskrit and the way I tend say it is. What is it? hold the Pali language, which is the language these teachings in our traditional. And down, and then you would say dumb. So it's the same word Dharuma, deaf and dumb. Thank you for clarifying, yes, and so I tend to go back and forth. Interchangeably means the same, which is a lot of things. So, yes, it usually means the teachings of the Buddha. The way
It can also mean a thing. This water bottle is a that's another, simple way of using that term, but just will aboard The fourth foundation, it's a list of lists and what it does its the big picture of how we actually practice to see. In these ways we ve been talking about the other foundations of mindfulness. Are the foundations that kind of the bedrock of the practice of literally what you do moment moment noticing the body the breath this sense of pleasant, unpleasant, neutral the mind and what's in the mine in the fourth foundation it talks about. What do you actually do when you notice you having a difficult experience? So the first of the list is the hindrances, which is, very familiar list to anyone. Who's been on a meditation retreat cause. It sees five difficult experiences that happen
especially when you meditate they can happen at any time of course, but you know again of wanting since desire of pushing away of restlessness of sleepiness and of doubt and then it says in invites the meditated to know what are the conditions that support or increase one of those experiences of the hindrances of sleepiness restlessness, one of the conditions that allow that to dissipate and how to basically not courage, the conditions that allow say, sleepiness to develop and so we're invited into engaging skilfully with whatever is difficult in meditation practice, so you know the simple one is sleepiness. Anyone who's ever meditated has gotten sleepy. It probably happens. Many times a day. It happens to everyone, it doesn't matter how long you ve meditated or how bright You mind: is you can be wide
we're going in and you sit down and meditate and all of the signals to your body are, it's usually quiet, hopefully meditating somewhere quiet doesn't have to be, of course, but you closing your eyes. Usually you calming yourself down. Just relaxing with your breath and those things Those are all the same as what we give ourselves when we take a nap will go to bed at night, and so this tendency to sleeping This is really strong, and so the start The fourth foundation unmindfulness and know what those conditions are and what would be a skilful way, gauging with that. So what the fourth foundation provides for us. It is a map within a map of how to skilfully encourage mindfulness and right view and clear, seeing in our meditation practice. Certainly cuz he's talking about mindfulness, but in our lives you know where to start to know that, and so it starts with difficult states. It looks at other list, but its theme,
always see how this thing is constructed. If it's a helpful thing, how do you keep creating the conditions that are helpful? So one of the list in their the seven factors of awakening, which is this beautiful list that talks about one of the qualities that the Buddha was said to have developed and that we can develop in meditation practice. How do you support those developing? Can you recognize whether their present or not, because the fourth foundation starts off just the same as the third one? Does we were asked to see this quality no, not present. If it's a difficult quality. What are the conditions that enable it to arise? And what could you do skilfully to not support that arising if it's a scam? One like the seven factors of awakening these beautiful qualities of mind again, is at present not present? Even that's helpful is the weakening factor of joy present in the mind, and if it's not, what would
skilful in my life were in this moment to have more access to that. So it's sort of giving its support for developing doesnt tell you exactly how to do these things, but that's part of the brilliance of the Buddhist teaching. She give you the basic bare bones of their map, and each of us have to figure. It for ourselves what helps me work with sleepiness restlessness, or this endless sense desire than it might have what works for me and the same with the positive qualities. What what's really skilful for me, so it step by step goes through both working with what's difficult, developing, what's beautiful in the mind, seeing the nature of this mind and body again in this way of deconstructing it, and then it finishes with four noble truce, again seeing them in our practice. The first noble truth is: you went through. I wouldn't say that life is suffering. I think that's
you framed it. I always say there is suffering in life. It's is suffering is inevitable. It often translated, though, as the first novel roof at as life is suffering by whom Then in the world is Eve. You, Google quota life, a yes, Google is very helpful not always completely correct. Yes, especially when you hear the word suffering is problematic, reduces Duke, which you were you ve invoked in this discussion is the word he used, but its it there's a whole rap within go on about what yes, I actually means that are suffering as a kind of weak translated. That word its by the limited one in many of the woods in Polly again this language, the teachings came to us when we translate them into English. We miss something. So it's good to have a few. Translations and new right do. It means a whole raft of things from the the slide,
sense of something not being ok, all right, or something missing too the deepest darkest agony despair and you could include all of that under the this. Would do caso suffering both kind, a heavy handed and not flexible enough to really include everything, but in this fourth founded Sean again were really asked to look at what creating suffering. For me, in the moment, I think you alone, they go said something like if I'm suffering, I'm either not seeing, thing or I'm resisting something, and so invited to look so this is more. How is this experience constructed? We begin with the first foundation was very basic: I'm a breed living being, and I can see oh the surface constructs ideas of what it is to be me, he were really looking at the mind,
and its constructs and the ones that lead us towards south and it's amazing. How often we make choices that led us into this kind of suffering and what are the choices we could make? That might make these beautiful qualities of mind and ultimately freedom possible for us, and so it's very much back on us as practitioners is not like a few. Do this this in this, you you good to go. You know everything's gonna work out, it's like it's a constant practicing or the mind is going in this direction. Ok, awareness choice, skilful response, compassionate winning, many, evidence letting go redirecting the attention also sorts possibilities there, but we have to learn that for ourselves, so those skills become integrated into our being as more the default mechanism than the chasing after. What's pleasant and pushing away what's unpleasant, Sir
last question for me, so you ve done this amazing overview of the four nations of mindfulness, I can imagine listeners, saying: ok, many interesting things were said, what do I do with all this in my practice because there's so much here, yes! Well, that's why we call it practice is, you really do have to put some extended I'm into learning how to integrate all of these different teachings and practices. So this too basic responses. I will say one: is this lots of great books out there about, particularly what I've just been talking about about the full foundations mindfulness and his a plug, one of which is Joseph old stains book called mindfulness in its arrival note here to plug Joseph. So that's a very in depth overview of topic and one of the things he doesn't a book and I'm sorry to jump in, is he dead
a lot of the explication and export that you just done of each of the foundations, and then he talks about ways that can explore various aspects on your own. Yes, it's a very practice. Oriented book, I think, is practice is an exercise in the end it it's really from talks he's given at retreat to people who are practising, and you know I took for about listen lists within less than four foundation. The mindfulness there, many so too big thick book, this a lot in it, but what was mainly pointing to, as you know, this reading, you can do about these practices. The ideas that I am talking about, but the most important thing is your own practice, whether to daily practice, supported by something like the app, getting instruction there, but definitely going on retreat. The full foundations of mindfulness are the foundation of what we teach it pretty much everyone
we might need use that language even specifically, but that's what will be going into on a day The basis in just the time spent you know after our, and there are many hours on a meditation retreat from early in the morning too late at night, just observed being an integrating. This is a way of being in a way of relating to experience. It becomes more integrated, but it does take time these, a specially the fourth foundation of mindfulness, it's not simple. If you read it, it's really. All of the buddhist teachings are in that one section. The four foundations of mindfulness ends with an expectation. It's a discourse. So the way these teachings came down to us, the Buddha gave them orally the one pod costs and recordings back. Then people weren't striving things out. He spoke this to a group of monks and nuns,
and lay people, but at the end of his exhortation, where he says you know, if someone were to really practices for foundations for seven years intensively, one of two things one open to them and basically says you gonna get fully enlightened or you get really close, and then he keeps none. Bring down seven years. Sixty is five years for use trees to use money money if you practice for one year, be at this really amazing place of freedom and then countdown down from its six months. Five months, foremans any ends up if someone really practice these four foundations of mindfulness for seven days, one of these two fruits would be available to them the full awakening or getting really close. So we often say that two people, if you're, hitting out on a one week retreat. This is what the Buddha said was possible, but I
it means you'd also have to be mindful every moment to hurt those waking days and some level of clarity, but we often saying you and lighten guaranteed seven days. That's what the Buddhist said, but it's not easy. Any of us would have tried to me It takes no the mind is fickle and flighty and conditioned and habits and memories. Ten rule ass most of the time- and this is as a Buddhist going against the stream against that stream. His teachings always were about what leads to more happiness, what leads to more peace and well being, and always emphasis not just on stress reduction nor being just happy, but this possibility that he spoke about again and again, of of ultimate freedom ultimate happiness that he himself discovered if we want to learn more about
you. How can we do so? I teach allotted spirit rock and so there's a page there for me, so people can click on there and, if I ever think to update Spirit Rock with what I'm doing that would be list there the easiest way to access me and many of the teachers and L lineages through website called Dahmer seed, dot. Org, that's dharmu women. Are at stumble with an domicile dot all put a link in the chain of yes, and so I've got hundreds of talks up there that I've given retreats in classes as well as hundreds of other, teaches it's a great resource of people, I already know about it, so some way sets the best way. I'm glad you mentioned pharmacy piece of people, while my ear shall I give
Dharma talks that are every evening on retreat, one of the teachers will get up and speak for forty five to sixty minutes and Sally Specialty is really diving into the teachings of the Buddha and giving very accessible explanations and practical, because shield guide you toward ways you can for these teachings and your own life. So if you go to Dharuma, see dot org search under her name, hundreds of talks will come up. You pretty much can go wrong eat a great shout with this. Thank you very much really appreciate. It is a pleasure. Thank you, big thanks to Sally and big thanks to the team who worked so hard to put this together. Samuel Johns, RCA producer, Marisa Schneider men are producer, her sound designers map point and on your sheikh of Ultraviolet Audio, mighty, PH colleagues, Ben Reuben, Gent point Nate, Toby Liz Levin, who gave us a ton of useful input and, of course, my he BC. Comrades rank
Josh. Co him was here on Friday, for a bonus framing July, thirty, first exclusively on Disney plus follow the journey of a young prince in search of himself through betrayed love and self identity with black is king. The new visual out from the outset, with music from the lion king, the gift is a celebratory memoir at Rio, agents. The lessons of the lion king for today, lack is king stream. The library purse only on Disney plus
Transcript generated on 2020-07-26.