Notes on the ‘Way Of Wisdom’ first talk

Last night’s event went well.  Last year at Wat Yannawa our brand new amp and speaker system went up in smoke after 10 minutes. It is always tricky starting in a new location. Some of the late-comers were looking around for the venue for quite a while. It is certainly a large enough venue, cool and quiet. Great location.

Click the picture below to link to the photo album of the first week:

planet yoga 1

Notes on the talk are really for anyone who wishes to look up references,

Way Of Wisdom


3 Kinds of Buddha:

  • Faith based
  • Wisdom Based
  • Viriya (heroic struggle) based

The latter is the greatest in sphere of influence. The source of this information is not clear, and it is likely a Mahayana idea, though we have reference to it in the Milinda Panha (part of the Theravada suttaas)

Listening to Dhamma

The trick o listening to Dhamma is to absorb everything, without judging. You have to use your discernment to find what is useful to you and makes sense. But don’t dismiss what does not work for you. All dhamma is tools for development. You have to pick out the tools that work for you at the time. Some things make sense early but not later. Some later but not earlier on. Some tools/teachings don’t suit your character, but might do for others …

Bodhi Tree

Many of the Buddhist teachings are a little paradoxical, or don’t make clear sense. Desire causes suffering, or all is suffering etc.. These things might not make sense when you apply them to the world around you. But in the context of sitting and looking sharply in the present moment at your direct experience, they make sense. So it helpful to remember that the context in which the teachings were given is quite narrow, and is not a declaration of worldly wisdom.


Two main strains of practise. One is rearranging the stuff in the mind. Rather like tidying your room – you rearrange all your things so it is more ordered and functional. Many peractises are like this – they rearrange your ‘self’. Psychology as well as religion has this kind of methodology. You make a better, more stable ‘self’ or ‘you’. Loving kindness meditation, compassion, generosity, visualization, chanting, breathing techniques – all are ways to recondition the mind in a more favourable way.

Especially diet and exercise – two things that Buddhist monks are not very good at, for traditional reasons. A broad based approach is good.

Way of Wisdom

The way in Buddhism is a different strain of practise. You place your attention on the brink of the past and future, locked in the present. Moment to moment – hot just what is going on presently in your life, but right, tight in the very moment. You are not controlling what arises in the mind, but sit as it were, on the gate, at the point where things/ideas/sense impressions enter the mind. And you use discernment to allow what is useful and keep out what is not useful. You don’t just be passive however, as you are careful not to feed thoughts and emotions with more thought and emotion. Be willing to let things die away. Keep one eye on the transitory nature of the mind – nothing stays in the mind for more than a few moments.

This practise generates wisdom. You are looking directly, rather than through the filter of thinking. It is an Exercise – that is you might not feel like you are progressing. You are not creating great states of bliss. But this is the exercise you undertake. Gaining Enlightenment and bliss then, is the job of wisdom as it arises.

3 Kinds of Wisdom

  • cinta maya panya – learned wisdom
  • suta maya panya – wisdom by figuring things out
  • Bhavana maya panya – wisdom from practise

It is this latter kind that we are generating by doing the exercises of mindfulness.

4 Stages of Wisdom

  • Understanding
  • Insight into
  • Discernment
  • non-clinging


With this practise you do not need to try and solve all your problems. That is not your job. You do not even have to give things up, other than keeping a basic sense of morality. Most often people become frustrated with meditation due to trying too hard to become someone new, experience a different self. The most valuable tool you can employ is patience.

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