Introduction to meditation course videos

Theses video lessons may be used to catch up on missed sessions and should prove useful for those newly joining our classes during the year.

Session One

Calming meditation

For our first class in 2021, for the newcomers, Ven. Toby gives a review of the basics – the role of meditation, forms of meditation, the aim of meditation and the impact of meditation practice.

The guided meditation covered mindfulness of the breath, bringing attention to the present moment, then visualisations to strengthen the effects of meditation.

The guided meditation in this video class is a foundational calming meditation. Just repeating this meditation daily over and over is enough to develop concentration, strengthen mindfulness and awareness and to orient your deeper mindset toward your own and others’ ultimate good.

For complete newcomers we recommend going over this video again and again and to come back to it even much further on with your study and practice.

 

Date of live class – 12/1/2021

Session Two

Analytical meditation

In this session, Venerable Toby introduces analytical meditation. He explains the secondary mental factors involved in meditation, and how meditation practise helps us transform our state of mind.

We begin with a detailed illustration of how our personal experience is primarily the product of our own mind. It is important to know that although the objective support plays a role in our perception, our experience of the world is largely the creation of our own mind, and that the essential factor shaping life is what our mind makes of it.

We can then use analytical meditation to generate states of mind we wish to cultivate and discern the truth of how things function on a deeper level.

As in calming meditation attention, mindfulness and awareness are employed during analytical meditation

The session ends with a beautiful guided meditation on love. Meditation starts at 00:24:23.

Date of live class – 19/1/2021

Session three

Destroying anger

How analytical meditation overcomes anger.

A review of how awareness and mindfulness function to retain attention on the object of concentration during the practice of single-pointed concentration meditation.

We then examine the two elements of analytical meditation: cultivating virtuous states of mind and understanding how things really work – uncovering what is true.

 

In relation to anger, the definition is important and has three parts each of which are overcome with different elements of meditation.

We examine methods to counteract anger from the aspect of ourselves and others.

The guided meditation starts with calming the mind with concentrating on the breath, followed by applying the methods to counteract anger discussed in the teaching today. The meditation starts at 00:37:15.

Date of live class – 26/1/2021

 

Session Four

The good life

The importance of our state of mind in helping us live a happy, meaningful life.

The object our consciousness looks out on is the world, its events and people. Consiousness has conceptual, felt, emotional and intuitive elements – the ways we enage with these events. This state of mind shapes and determines our experience of the world. We have little control of the outer world (objects). What we have control over is our inner world (the subjects engaging the objects).

Through the practice of meditation we become increasingly aware of our internal responses. The states of mind to let go and those to encourage.

Happiness is consciousness, an internal experience, and can only be truly cultivated from within ourselves. Generating inner joy and freeing oneself from sources of suffering is the real essence of life and is precisely the path to enlightenment The Buddha had laid out.

This is where we find the good life.

The guided meditation examines how to find the greatest value in life. Meditation starts at 00:35:30.

Date of live class – 2/2/2021

Session five

Karma

Karma is simply action and action’s have consequences both outer and inner.

The key points covered are
– The definition of positive and negative karma and how they are generated.
– The four principal aspects of karma:
– We have vry little control over external circumstances in life (determined by previous karma). What we have control over is the demeanour we opt to engage with these circumstances. Through proper ways of engagement, we actively participate in cultivating positive karma or diminishing negative karma.
– The determining element of karma is intent.
– How karma functions in relation to the continuation of consciousness.
– The ten non-virtuous karma to avoid and their respective karmic results: three of the body (killing, stealing, sexual misconduct), four of the speech (lying, divisive speech, harsh speech, idle gossip), three of the mind (covetousness, malice, wrong view).

The first and simplest step to free ourselves from specific and general negative karma is through the following meditation.
Meditation starts at 00:43:26.

At the end of tonight’s teaching, Venerable Toby stresses, understanding the definitive connection between karmic actions and results does not equal a fatalistic depressive view of life. On the contrary, this connection creates opportunities for one to act in ways that positively influence one’s future karma.

Date of live class – 9/2/2021

 

Session Six

 

We all want happiness. This happiness is a felt experience, a state of mind, all the while consciousness. Consciousness is not a product of the body; therefore, consciousness cannot be easily modified by manipulating the body. The most effective means to affect our state of mind are ‘actions of consciousness’: meditation and the understanding of mind.

The Buddha approached meditation in the context of his first teaching after his enlightenment. This was the sutra on the Four Noble Truths:

-The truth of suffering
-The true cause of suffering
-The true cessation of suffering
-The true path to the cessation of suffering

 Meditation in this context is based in ethics, and leads to wisdom. That wisdom knows ultimate and conventional truths and this reality based view elimates the true cause of suffering and thus leads us to enlightenment.

As summary before meditation of the four noble truths from sutra:

The suffering is to be known,
the cause to be understood,
the cessation to be attained,
and the path to be practised.

We then have a guided meditation that combines visualisation with the concentration of breath. Meditation starts at 00:43:55

Date of live class – 16/2/2021

Session seven

We examine the definition of samsara and and the forms this cycle of suffering take:
– manifest suffering
Physical pain, illness, accidents and unpleasant circumstances.
– changeable suffering
While in samsara, even the happiness we think we have is merely the temproary relief of the previous form of suffering.
– pervasive suffering
The contaminated aggregates (skandas) conditioned by delusion and karma are suffering in nature.

How can meditation free us from the suffering of samsara. Firstly the source of samsara and therefore any suffering can be traced to ego-based sense of self and others. Based on this fundamental ignorance, delusions are generated, negative karma created and thus suffering experienced.

But is this ego based existence real, or even plausible?

Will an encouter with reality resolve samsara?

The guided meditation approaches the reality of mind, or the ultimate and conventional nature of consciousness.

The meditation starts at 00:38:08.

 

Session eight

We explore reality according to Buddhist epistemology. There is also a mantra transmission for the Shakyamuni Buddha mantra.

We begin with a definition of conventional and ultimate truth. Then consider the problem of views others  as inherently/substantially/objectively/innately existent. We imagine they exist through their own power/ out there/ independent of viewing consciousness.

Venerable Toby then deconstucts that in relation to a person and how our viewing consciousness is the only part we can control.

Dharma study and meditation practice helps one view self and the world in ways that bring about positive states of mind and free one from negative states of mind.

When one realises the ultimate truth, one is freed from karma and delusions. This emptiness state is the ultimate nature of all phenomena, including buddhas. It allows pure consciousness, pure knowing, and thus undistorted awareness knowing all things as they are.

This emptiness nature, that is our ultimate truth is also our divine nature – our Buddha nature. As every being is empty of inherent existence, every being has a divine nature – virtually a Buddha within. 

The meditation is aimed at recognising the enlightened nature in the Buddha and ourselves. We use mantra, concentration and visulisation to get to know this inner divinity.

Venerable Toby explains the meaning of the Shakyamuni Buddha mantra and gives the mantra transmission. The meditation combines visualisation of Shakyamuni Buddha and the concentration of the Shakyamuni Buddha mantra. The explanation of the meaning of mantra and mantra transmission starts at 00:34:34.
The explanation of visualisation starts at 00:41:12.
Meditation starts at 00:42:57.

Session nine

The main topic of teaching in this session is emptiness/ dependent-arising. (Spoiler alert!! Elephants are mentioned though)

We begin with two ways: by conception and by direct perception.

Overlaying this are distorted consciousnesses such as ignorance, anger and attachment. The fundamental ignorance grasp and holds inherent existence. It is the basis of all faulty states of mind, all delusion and non-virtue.  

The unreality of this usual apprehension of things is demonstrated using the famous example of the ‘rose’. We find there is no ‘thingness’ in a ‘thing.’  Things are empty of their own thingness, they are empty of inherent existence.

A brief meditation on emptiness starts at 00:43:27.

 

Session ten

We examine how to transform our ordinary experience of the world into that of the enlightenment.

What determines our experience of ourself and the world around us is the labelling consciousness(state of mind). The mistaken view beings hold identifies with parts/aspects of self and holds onto this identity as ‘who I am ‘. As a result, we experience the world through the ‘filter’ of this identity. Only when we let go of this identity can we realise who we are in nature as a dependent arising. With this realisation, we are free to manifest naturally and spontaneously, from emptiness, in relation to different circumstances.

To really benefit others, we need to transform who we are in relation to them by doing the best we can in any given circumstances. Because enlightenment is the full expression of all virtuous qualities, it is most beneficial to oneself and others. Therefore, cultivating the mind of enlightenment and engaging the world from this perspective is of the most benefit to oneself and others. Meditation practice helps weaken this ‘self-obsession’ and cultivate the sense of the mind of enlightenment.

The meditation tonight starts with settling the mind by concentrating on the breath, and then a guided analytical meditation on engaging situations with the mind of enlightenment. Meditation starts at 00:36:56.

Session eleven

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Session twelve

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Session thirteen

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Session fourteen

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Session fifteen

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Session Sixteen

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Session 4/5/2021

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Session 11/5/2021

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Session 18/5/2021

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Session 25/5/2021

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