Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Goldstein’

Our sangha has been listening to Joseph Goldstein’s The Body—Abiding in Mindfulness, Vol 1.  Recently, Joseph talked about the Bahiya Sutta, one of the Buddha’s teachings that crystallizes the path very concisely:
Bahiya, this is how you should train yourself: Whenever you see a form, simply see; whenever you hear a sound, simply hear; whenever you taste a flavor, simply taste; whenever you feel a sensation, simply feel; whenever a thought arises, let it be simply a thought. Then “you” will not exist; whenever “you” do not exist, you will not be found in this world, another world or in between. That is the end of suffering.

As a practice for this week, we were looking at how we elaborate every seeing, hearing, tasting, sensing, or cognition to build a story and how that creates the sense of a “self,” an “I”.

As I listened to Rodney Smith’s talk on the sutta, I saw that thoughts kept arising.  Each thought would result in a host of new thoughts and I’d be carried away with thinking about things “I” was doing.  When I returned to listening, an unknown period of time had passed.  I don’t know how much of the talk I actually heard—a third, a quarter, less?  I’ve always had problems with lectures and recorded talks and this experience has helped me understand better what is happening.  Mindful listening is something I must pay more careful attention to.

(For more information on the sutta, Doug Phillips of the Empty Sky Sangha in Massachusetts has two talks: here and here. Rodney Smith has two talks on the SIMS web site: http://www.seattleinsight.org/talk.aspx?id=37 and http://www.seattleinsight.org/talk.aspx?id=38.  Gil Fronsdal of the Insight Medication Center in Redwood City, CA also has two talks: Bahiya and the Simplicity of Freedom and The Story of Bahiya.)

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