Week 33 - Factors of Awakening: Rapture I

The Seven Factors of Awakening are a progression, moving from Mindfulness to Investigation to Energy and now we learn about the Factor of Rapture.  Rapture (or piti) is about understanding and does not refer to pleasurable feeling. It is an intense interest in the nature of what is happening. There are several, increasingly strong, forms of Rapture, from “minor rapture” to “pervading rapture” and Joseph describes each of these. The hidden danger in Rapture is attachment, showing up as believing the experience to be nibbana, accompanied by an inability to recognize the attachment.  Because of this hidden danger, Joseph instructs us to recognize a manifestation of Rapture and then to investigate the mind’s relationship to it – is there conceit or desire? Causes for the arising of Rapture are described as well as the beginning instruction on ways to strengthen Rapture. More of this instruction is in his next talk.  He concludes with a verse from the Dhammapada:

            The gift of Dhamma surpasses all gifts.

            The taste of Dhamma surpasses all tastes.

            The delight in Dhamma surpasses all delights.

            The destruction of craving conquers all suffering.

QUESTIONS

1.  How have you noticed your own states of rapture either on the cushion or not: in the moment, after? Did noticing change the experience?

2. Are you aware of the conditions under which you have experienced rapture: concentration, appreciation, clear seeing, discerning wisdom, other?

3. Joseph talked about the dangers of the subtle attachment to states of rapture. How have you noticed this attachment in your own practice? How were you able to identify it and let go of it? How did you feel about that?

4. How do you see the connection between the other Factors of Awakening – mindfulness, investigation, energy, and rapture?

PRACTICES

1. Joseph noted that reflecting on the 3 jewels with a concentrated mind can lead to a state of rapture. What do you or could you reflect on with concentration that could enhance a state of rapture?

2. If you feel boredom or disinterest in the coming week, ask yourself “What is the mind knowing” and bring your attention to that. And see what you discover.

3. Notice your attachment to pleasant states. Can you be in a pleasant state without the need for it to continue?