This Sunday, we will continue our discussion of the Paramis ("perfections") with Alex Meyers. We have so far discussed Generosity, Virtue, and Renunciation. We now move to Wisdom. (Note this was listed as the topic for last Sunday, 6/18, but there was limited attendance due to Father's Day so we will continue to explore the topic this Sunday, 6/25.)
In Paramis: Ways to Cross Life's Floods (free PDF here), Ajahn Succito clarifies that the "wisdom" of the paramis is a "discriminative faculty that operates through discernment or clarity, rather than a learned store of knowledge. It's a faculty that we all already have." This wisdom is not about our ability to quote scriptures or remember Pali terms, but an ability to distinguish those actions and mind states that lead away from suffering from those which lead to more suffering.
This discernment is essential because our minds are generally so conditioned to ignorance--believing we can achieve some kind of permanent happiness by changing external conditions, instead of coming to ease in the present moment, just as it is. Indeed, Succito suggests that the drives that lead us to greed, aversion, and delusion are "particularly tenacious because everything in the world tends to feed them." In the face of so much confusion, our practice is an essential ground which gives us space to begin to see more clearly.
As we prepare to come together, consider how the decision making process feels when you are relatively settled, vs. being unsettled and feeling a sense of urgency. How does the ability to discern the best path forward change? When do you feel that you cannot slow down because immediate action is necessary? Have you ever thought immediate action was needed, and realized later than a pause would have been appropriate?
We look forward to practicing together!
Alex Haley Teaching Spirit Rock Retreat in August
Founding teacher of Minneapolis Insight, Alex Haley, will be co-teaching a retreat August 6 - 12 at Spirit Rock in California on the topic of "The Elements: Cultivating an Embodied Experience of Emptiness and Fullness." Several of our community members will be in attendance. If you have any questions about attending residential retreats, please feel free to reply to this email. Details and registration for the retreat can be found here.