Dharma Talks / Impulses & Impressions, the Subtleties of Mindfulness Practice

Br Pháp Dung

The Buddhist path is just on the cushion but envelopes every aspect of our daily lives, our family, couple or community life. It is not an outward path but a path leading inside. (4:34)

The meditative path is not to know, but to be, feel and touch. Don’t look for anything, don’t try to get anything. We just let the Dharma penetrate us and train to become more sensitive. (9:07)

We need to know how our body and mind feels when we are in a hurry. We can train to touch what we are present with. Buddhist practice emphasizes direct experience. (16:58) Impressions and impulses seem to happen to us very quickly and subtly. (18:50) They can be a wound or an internal knot we carry. We need to stop to be able to recognize and calm them. (28:20)

Another way of training stillness is to not react, for example during meetings or in family situations. Just listen. (36:40) We’ll have more space to identify our impulses and impressions, and recognize the pattern. (40:23) When we see our internal knot and spend time with it in a non reactive way, it can untie. These are the gems of meditation practice. It will change the way we think, speak and act. (46:48)

In Buddhist psychology there is an area of the mind called manas, between mind and store consciousness. It has the tendency to seek pleasure and avoid suffering. It doesn’t recognize the goodness of suffering, nor the danger of sensual pleasure. It doesn’t want to moderate. (55:00) In order to train we need to moderate not only our consumption, but also our feelings and emotions, how we spend our time, how much we are with others and how much we are alone. (1:09:51)
Manas is also the basis for the temptations that come with being in a position of influence. Whether it is in a corporation or in a Sangha, there is a hook, a danger to being in a position of power. That’s why we need friends, community, rotation of responsibilities, feedback and the 5 mindfulness trainings as our guide to prevent misuse of power and abuse. (1:19:42)


This talk was given in the Upper Hamlet of Plum Village as part of the Spring Reatreat 2018.

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