Meditation on Perception (pp. 45-47)
Before we embark on the Ten Perceptions, let us first take a measure of how you are progressing in your practice. As these changes can occur very slowly, completing this worksheet at intervals will allow you to discern any difference.
Taking Measure of Your Practice
There are three components: your core values, the signs and symptoms of inner peace and The Five Hindrances.
What are your core values that you intend to live from? Phillip Moffitt suggests the following in Dancing with Life:
- Knowing the truth
- Finding freedom
- Not causing harm to yourself or others
- Being of service to others
- Meeting the world with compassion and kindness
- Having the qualities of gratitude, patience, persistence, generosity, and humor
- Continuing to learn and grow psychologically and spiritually
Edit the list by deleting or adding your core values.
Then reflect on each of your core values and your level of your commitment (intention). Place a number from 1 to 5 with five being the highest intention beside each core value.
Signs of Inner Peace
Reflect on each one of the signs below. Place a number from 1 to 5 (with five being the highest level) of your current observation of yourself with each sign.
- A tendency to think and act spontaneously
- An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment
- A loss of interest in judging other people
- A loss of interest in judging self
- A loss of interest in conflict
- A loss of the ability to worry
- A lessening of reactivity
- Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation
- Contented feelings of connectedness with other and nature
- Frequent attacks of smiling
- An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
- An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
(adapted from Saskia Davis)
The Five Hindrances
Reflect on each one of the hindrances below. Place a number from 1 to 5 (with five being the highest level) of your current observation of how powerful each hindrance is in your life.
- Greed (Seeking sensual pleasure)
- Ill-will and Aversion
- Dullness and Drowsiness
- Restlessness and Worry
- Doubt in the message of the Buddha
Taking Measure of your Practice for Printing and Sharing
Introduction to the Ten Healing Perceptions (pp. 45-47)
The Girimananda Sutta upon which Meditation on Perception is based is a teaching of Ten Healing Perceptions.
“If, Ananda, you visit the bhikkhu Girimananda and speak to him about ten perceptions, it is possible that on hearing about them his affliction will immediately subside. What are the ten?”
Notice that these are ten perceptions, not “the” ten. The Buddha apparently selected them because they are not distorted and for their healing value. Recall what Bhikkhu Bodhi said in his introduction to Meditation on Perception: “Whether or not these perceptions can heal bodily illness is of secondary importance. What is of prime importance is their ability to heal the most debilitating illness of all, the ignorance inherent in mental distortions and in toxic views about ourselves and the world in which we live.”
In our training of the mind, we use these perceptions to see the undistorted truth in each of the ten. When we see the truths, we become experience joy. This is the joy of non- attachment.
By not clinging to our worldly experiences through the Five Aggregates (form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness, we will not suffer as the Buddha says:
The arising and passing of the aggregates,
One attains joy and delight,
For those who know, this is the deathless.”
Training our mind with meditation on these perceptions may a harsh medicine as we face painful truths.
The ten perceptions are:
- Perception of Impermanence
- Perception of Selflessness
- Perception of Impurities
- Perception of Danger
- Perception of Abandoning
- Perception of Dispassion
- Perception of Cessation
- Perception of Nondelight in the Whole World
- Perception of Impermanence in Regard to All Mental Formations
- Mindfulness of Breathing – Pure Perception of the Pure Breath
There is an order to these perception as they build on each other. For example, we need to see the undistorted truth in impermanence before we can contemplate the perception of selflessness.
Reflect on taking measure. Complete your core values list, score your worksheet, place it in an envelope, seal it, and store it in a safe place. When you complete the worksheet again, you can open the envelope to compare.
As you meditate, observe your perceptions as they arise. Be non-judgmental.