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-1What the Buddha Taught
A series of lecture-discussions sponsored by
Oxford Soto Zen
Suggested by Les Kaye
Led by Jimmyle Listenbee
Based on What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula
-2Lecture 7b
Chapter 5-B (pp. 47 – 49)
The Four Noble Truths
The 4th Noble Truth:
MAGGA: “The Path”
-3The Four Noble Truths
Samudaya, the arising or origin of dukkha
Nirodha, the cessation of dukkha
Magga, the way leading to the cessation of
-4The 4th Noble Truth:
The Way
Leading to the Cessation of Dukkha
AKA: “The Noble Eightfold Path”
“The Middle Way”
-5The Middle Path
Avoids two extremes:
• The search for happiness through the
Pleasures of the Senses (“low, common,
unprofitable, the way of ordinary [ignorant]
• The search for happiness through selfmortification (“painful, unworthy,
unprofitable, the way of the ascetics”)
-6The Noble Eightfold Path
(a composite - not linear - list)
Right Understanding
Right Thought
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration
Buddha’s Essential Practice
Practical Guide for all Buddhist Practice
The 8 divisions of the path are not “stepping
stones”, but are to be practiced and
developed simultaneously, as far as possible,
according to the capacity of the individual.
They are all linked together, and each helps the
cultivation of the others.
-8The Three Essentials
of Buddhist Training & Discipline
a) Ethical Conduct (Sila)
b) Mental Discipline (Samadhi)
c) Wisdom (Pañña)
The Eightfold Path aims at perfecting and
promoting these.
The Eight Divisions of the Path can be grouped
under these three headings.
-9Three Headings
 Wisdom
① Right Understanding
② Right Thought
 Ethical Conduct
③ Right Speech
④ Right Action
⑤ Right Livelihood
 Mental Discipline
⑥ Right Effort
⑦ Right Mindfulness
⑧ Right Concentration
--- Today we address
Mental Discipline
-10Buddhist “Perfection”
There are two qualities to be developed:
Wisdom and Compassion
Mental Discipline is the foundation of Wisdom.
-11Mental Discipline
The mind is trained and disciplined and
developed through Right:
⑥ Effort
⑦ Mindfulness
⑧ Concentration
-12Mental Discipline
⑥ Right Effort = The energetic will to
1 Prevent evil and unwholesome states of mind
from arising;
2 Get rid of such states that have already arisen
within a person;
3 Produce, to cause to arise, good and wholesome
states of mind not yet arisen;
4 Develop and bring to perfection the good and
wholesome states of mind already present in a
-13The 2nd Factor of Mental Discipline
(7) Right Mindfulness (Attentiveness)
To be diligently aware, mindful and attentive,
with regard to:
The activities of the body;
Sensations or feelings;
The activities of the mind;
Ideas, thoughts, conceptions and things.
-14Right Mindfulness
of the [1]Body
Is developed in meditation practice through
concentration on the breath, posture and/or
simple action.
Soto Zen practice primarily emphasizes Zazen
(Sitting Meditation)
And secondarily emphasizes Kinhin (Walking
-15In Zazen…
1 One continually returns his/her concentration to
the breath;
2 The sitting posture uses efficient vertical spine
alignment, taking advantage of its 4 harmonic
curves and developing postural support for
flexible action as well as quiet endurance.
Weight is equally distributed on the sitz-bones and
knees [or feet if bench-sitting.]
3 The eyes are open in a state of alert, wakeful
attention, which is not directed toward anything.
4 The position of the hands (the dhyani mudra) is a
form of delicate intentional non-action (as are the
crossed legs of Lotus and Burmese postures).
More on Zazen…
What did Buddha say upon the moment of his
“I am __________!”
Further reading: Shambala Dictionary of Buddhism
and Zen, ZAZEN p. 260-1.
We will have a handout of this reading to accompany
the lecture/discussion of Chapter 7, Meditation
on August 1.
1 One continually returns concentration to the breath
in harmony with one’s own and others’ actions;
2 The walking action uses the most efficient transfer
of weight through the feet in alignment with the hip
joints. (See handouts.)
3 The eyes are open: alert, wakeful attention which is
not directed toward anything.
4 The position of the hands (shashu mudra) is a form
of serene intentional readiness.
-18Right Mindfulness of [2]Sensations,
[3]Emotions & [4]Conceptions
During Kinhin & Zazen, one practices intense awareness
of the other 3 foci of mindfulness besides static &
dynamic posture and breath:
2 Bodily Feelings & Sensations;
3 Emotional Feelings and States;
4 Ideas, Thoughts, Conceptions and Things.
This skill of awareness is then/simultaneously practiced
in all activities of daily life.
-19Mindfulness of
[2] Bodily Feelings & Sensations
One should be clearly aware of all forms of
feelings and sensations, pleasant, unpleasant
& neutral, and
How they arise and disappear.
In Zazen & Kinhin we take note of the
sensation, the “Look at it and let it go.”
--- Dub Leigh (Buddhist
-20Mindfulness of
[3] Activities of the Mind
One should be clearly aware whether one’s mind is
lustful or not, given to hatred or not, deluded or not,
distracted or concentrated, etc.
One should be aware of all passing and habitual states
of mind and
How they arise and disappear.
In Zazen & Kinhin we take note of the emotion or
habitual mood, then “Look at it and let it go.”
-21Mindfulness of [4] Ideas, Thoughts,
Conceptions and Things
One should know the nature of Ideas, Thoughts,
Conceptions, Predjudices, Plans, Beliefs,
Objectifications of People, Situations, etc. How they
arise and disappear.
DISCUSSION: Things! You name it!
In Zazen & Kinhin we take note of the mental object or
objectification or then “Look at it [perhaps also laugh
at it!] and let it go.”
-22The Setting-up of Mindfulness
Homework: Read the Satipatthana Sutta,
p. 109-119
-23(8) Right Concentration
The 3rd and last factor of Mental Discipline leads to
The 4 Stages of Dhyana (Trance or ‘Higher’ Meditation)
1st Stage:
> Passionate Desires and Unwholesome Thoughts are discarded;
(read examples p. 48: ‘sensuous lust…skeptical doubt’)
> Feelings of Joy, Happiness and certain mental activities are maintained;
2nd Stage:
> All Intellectual Activities are suppressed/[abandoned];
> ‘One-pointedness of mind’ is developed;
> Feelings of Joy & Happiness are still retained;
3rd Stage:
> Joy (an active sensation) disappears;
> Happiness (a disposition) remains, along with Equanimity;
4th Stage:
> All Feelings - Sensations and Emotions - disappear;
> Only pure Equanimity and Awareness remain.