Dharma Talks / Insight Through Investigation

Sr Tuệ Nghiêm

When we understand ourselves we can understand other people. But we often look at reality with tinted glasses on, not able to look beyond ideas, perceptions and prejudices. That’s why we need to wake up. (2:34)

The second Factor of Awakening is “investigation of phenomena” (or dharmas). Investigation of dharmas means to look deeply, to search, to be curious. It helps us to understand. So investigation leads to insight. (8:45)

But how do we practice it? When we look into the Discourse on the Full Awareness of Breathing (https://plumvillage.org/sutra/discourse-on-the-full-awareness-of-breathing/) we see that the Buddha taught that every investigation needs to dwell on the breath. We can use the breath to not let our investigation turn into thinking, analyzing or speculating. When you’re mindful you are present for whatever you’re looking at, and when you stay with it long enough you can see very deeply. (17:49)

Another sutra that helps us to look deeply is the Discourse on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (https://plumvillage.org/sutra/discourse-on-the-four-establishments-of-mindfulness/). It learns us how to be aware of what’s here without being carried away our thinking. (25:27)

And when our thinking quiets down, we can get in touch with our Buddha nature (30:37).

Whatever we put our attention to becomes the object of our mind. So we don’t have to go far start investigation of phenomena, we can start with our own body and feelings (45:39).

We can also entrust a question to our store consciousness as a way of investigating (49:59).

For example investigating the feeling of not being good enough. Having insight to where this comes from will lead to better able to cope with this voice inside (58:48).

This talk was given as part of the winter retreat 2017-2018 in Plum Village France. For an overview of sister Tuệ Nghiêms talks visit her profile on plumvillage.org: https://plumvillage.org/about/dharma-teachers/sr-tue-nghiem/

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