Week 28: Six Sense Spheres II

This week, Joseph’s instruction from the Sutta focuses on the fetters, how they arise and how we can be free of their influence. He describes the chain of dependent Origination and how we can break that chain. In this vein, he highlights and describes desire and how we can work with it. He speaks of the conditioned nature of perception, the way this can support attachment, as well as the fact that we can “train our perceptions in a way that supports happiness and freedom.”

In his talk, Joseph concludes with the Buddha’s last words: “With the light of perfect wisdom, dispel the darkness of ignorance. Subject to decay are all conditioned things. Awaken through heedfulness.”

Questions:

1. Can you notice only 6 things that may be present in each moment – 6 sense spheres – and rest in the knowing. Rest without moving into discursive thought – on the cushion? During routine activities?

2. What do you think of the statement “If we’re suffering, it’s because of a defilement in the mind.”

3. Using the chain, can you describe an example of contact -> neutral feeling -> delusion? Can you be aware of that?

4. Can you think of an example where seeing your own perception allowed you to release a fetter?

Practices:

1. Practice “resting in the knowing”. Perhaps choose a “sitting” time and instead move about or sit with eyes open in an unaccustomed place and notice arisings at the sense doors as they appear. Be aware of what arises moment to moment. Moment of contact. Moment of feeling. Desire?

2. Explore:

*Is it useful to simply note the object as it arises?

*Is it useful to note the object and then the feeling tone?

*Is it useful to use Joseph’s suggestion of a double note, i.e. “contact, pleasant”, “contact, unpleasant”?

For each of the above, under what circumstances?

3. Consider or contemplate:

What are the conditions in your life that promote compulsive desires? How might you alter the conditions and/or work with them? What conditions develop qualities of “not wanting”?