As a monk, I bring a strong commitment, along with the renunciate flavor, to the classic Buddhist teachings. I play with ideas, with humor and a current way of expressing the teachings, but I don't dilute them.
Sitting in a field of fifty to eighty people really starts my mind sparking. Since I don't prepare my talks ahead of time, I find myself listening to what I'm saying along with everyone else. This leaves a lot of room for the Dhamma to come up. Just having eighty people listening to me is enough to engage me, stimulate me, and create a nice flow of energy. The actual process of teaching evokes ideas that even I did not realize were being held somewhere in my mind.
Different teaching situations offer their own unique value. In retreat, you are able to build a cohesive and comprehensive body of the teachings. When people are not on retreat and come for one session, it opens a different window. They are more spontaneous and I'm given the chance to contact them in ways that are closer to their "daily-life mind." This brings up surprises and interesting opportunities for me to learn even more.
I'm continually struck by how important it is to establish a foundation of morality, commitment, and a sense of personal values for the Vipassana teachings to rest upon. Personal values have to be more than ideas. They have to actually work for us, to be genuinely felt in our lives. We can't bluff our way into insight. The investigative path is an intimate experience that empowers our individuality in a way that is not egocentric. Vipassana encourages transpersonal individuality rather than ego enhancement. It allow for a spacious authenticity to replace a defended personality.
Adjusting to the external space, getting comfortable in yourself, find the place internally where you can be okay with what's happening externally and internally. Focus on this and make much of it, experiencing the body's energy flows.
Ajahn Sucitto leaves the group with four reference points to continue relating to as we leave retreat: relating to embodiment, to people, to earth and to the sacred. Themes of pausing, subjectivity and respect run through.
An automatic quality can take over as we practice. It happens when we retain the past: I am this, I had this experience, I want to have another experience… Instead we can arise and awaken into this body even when it’s not so comfortable and bright. Receive everything as a gift, as something new. Access what’s beautiful now.