In some recent episodes of Treasure Mountain Podcast we’ve heard about the importance of samatha - or stillness, tranquillity - meditation. But what about vipassana - insight meditation? The vipassana meditation movement has had a huge impact upon meditation practice in both East and West, and has shaped modern understandings of what meditation is about and for. So what is vipassana meditation? What is its heritage? What is its basis within Buddhism? And how does it work?
To answer these questions and more we have as our guest today Patrick Kearney.
Patrick has practised mindfulness meditation since 1977. At that time there was little or no Buddhist meditation training available in Australia, so he spent years travelling in Asia and the USA working with teachers from different Buddhist traditions to learn the craft of meditation practice. Most of his training has been in the insight meditation lineage of Mahāsī Sayādaw of Burma, which included several years as a Buddhist monk. His main teachers were Sayādaw U Paṇḍita and John Hale. He has also trained in the Diamond Sangha lineage of Zen where his teachers have been Robert Aitken Rōshi and Paul Maloney Rōshi.
Patrick has been a full-time teacher of mindfulness meditation for over 20 years. He conducts residential and online retreats, workshops and seminars. He has studied early Buddhism at post-graduate levels and has a particular interest in the original teachings of the Buddha, before the invention of “Buddhism.” This allows him to bring the radical insights of the Buddha to our contemporary situation. He sees meditation as a physical practice that reconnects us with the felt world of our senses, allowing us to live our lives directly rather than through the cling-wrap of our habitual thinking.
00:00:01] Speaker A: Welcome to Treasure Mountain, the podcast that inspires and guides us to find the treasure within human experience. I'm your host, Sol Hanna. In some recent episodes of Treasure Mountain podcast, we've heard about the importance of Samata practice, that is, meditation with the purpose of developing stillness and tranquility of mind. But what about Gupasana inside meditation? Some of my listeners have contacted me and asked me this very question. The Vipassana meditation movement has had a huge impact upon meditation practice, both east and west, and has shaped modern understandings of what meditation is about and for so what is Vipassana meditation? What is its heritage? What is its basis within Buddhism, and how does it work? To answer these questions and more, we have as our guest today Patrick Kearney.
Patrick has practiced mindfulness meditation since 1977. At that time, there was little or no buddhist meditation training available in Australia, so he spent years traveling in Asia and the USA working with teachers from different buddhist traditions to learn the craft of meditation practice. Most of his training has been in the insight meditation lineage of Mahasi Sayador of Burma, which included several years as a buddhist monk. His main teachers were Sayador, Ur Pandita and John Hale. He's also trained in the diamond Zanga lineage of Zen, where his teachers have been Robert Aiken Roshi and Paul Maloney. Roshi Patrick has been a full time teacher of mindfulness meditation for over 20 years. He conducts residential and online retreats, workshops, and seminars. He has studied early Buddhism at postgraduate levels and has a particular interest in the original teachings of the Buddha before the invention of Buddhism.
This allows him to bring the radical insights of the Buddha to our contemporary situation. He sees meditation as a physical practice that reconnects us with the felt world of our senses, allowing us to live our lives directly rather than through cling wrap of our habitual thinking. I'm really pleased that Patrick has taken the time to join us on the podcast today, and I want to thank all our listeners for joining us for this episode of Treasure Mound podcast as we seek for the treasure within human experience.
Welcome to Treasure Mound, Patrick. How are you today?
[00:02:42] Speaker B: I'm well, thank you.
[00:02:45] Speaker A: Well, I'm really pleased that you've taken the time to join us and share your experience and help us to understand help our listeners to understand more about Vipassana meditation. And a great place for us to start is at the beginning. Could you define for us what is meant by Vipassana meditation? Or sometimes we call it insight meditation?
[00:03:08] Speaker B: Well, when the Buddha spoke about meditation, he talked about one of the basic dyads that he used was serenity and insight, samata and vipassana.
And this is partly purpose. So why does one undertake a meditation practice? Is the purpose to develop serenity or is the purpose to develop insight?
And these are not mutually exclusive, obviously. And in fact, you can't develop insight without a foundation of serenity, but it does indicate a basic purpose and therefore a basic direction.
In one very interesting discourse, the Buddha talks about four kinds of people, and he says some people develop internal serenity of mind, but not a higher understanding of insight into dharma. In other words, insight.
Some people develop insight, but not internal serenity of mind, some people develop neither, and some people develop both. And clearly what he wants is for people to develop both.
So insight and serenity are qualities that exist in any practice.
But you can have some practices that are more oriented towards serenity and some practices that are more oriented towards insight.
[00:04:30] Speaker A: Well, just a few weeks back, we had Peter Harvey from the Samata trust as a guest, and he was talking about samata meditation. How would you say that the Vipassana meditation and that tradition is distinct from the SAmata meditation?
[00:04:48] Speaker B: The insight tradition that I'm familiar with is that of Mahasi Sayadaw, and the way he structures the practice is to lead the student to perceive change. So this is Anitya Sannya, the perception of impermanence or of change, because for the Buddha, this is the gateway into insight.
So my understanding of serenity is that one absorbs into a single meditation object. So let's say, for example, breathing, classic meditation object. If I'm using breathing for serenity purposes, all I want to do is absorb into the experience of breathing.
If I'm practicing for insight, I want to do that, and I also want to see the changing characteristics of the breathing, and this will change my relationship to the meditation object.
So, for example, I'll be interested in how the experience of breathing changes.
And this can be right down to the very elemental level.
So is the inbreath longer than the outbreath, or was the outbreath longer than the inbreath?
Can I see the beginning and the end of the in breath? Can I see the beginning and the end of the outbreath? Is there a gap? What happens? What does the mind do during the gap?
If I'm distracted, am I more likely to be distracted on the inhalation or the exhalation and so on. So you notice in that relationship with the meditation object, it tends to be more precise. There's a bias towards precision, but it's very interested in seeing the differences. So my understanding of serenity is if I'm following the breathing simply to absorb in it, I'm not looking for the differences between in breath and outbreath. I'm not looking for the differences between the breathing as it presents now and as it presents five minutes later. But if I'm practicing for insight, I am interested in all of these differences.
[00:07:02] Speaker A: Now, when you do insight meditation, is it just using the breath, or, for instance, I've heard of, you can do like sweeping through the body, for instance.
Are there any other bases upon which insight meditation might be developed?
[00:07:24] Speaker B: Yes, I talk about breathing because it's so common. I call it the generic meditation object, but anything at all, this is a fundamental principle of sadhipatana, which is what we translate as insight meditation or mindfulness meditation. The thing about sadhipatana as an approach to practice one of its characteristics is that it is not object specific.
So let's go back to breathing. If you're doing Anapanasati, so this is mindfulness of in and out breathing. It is object specific.
If you're not following the breathing, you're not doing it. But if you're doing sadhipatana, the meditation object can be any aspect of body or mind. It's not limited. So anything at all in the case of sweeping the body, well, that's a way of using body sensation in such a way that you see change.
That's what you're doing. The whole thing is deliberately that way. Mahasi Saador, when he talks about what is insight meditation, sometimes he says insight meditation is to directly aware whatever arises in the six senses as it arises. So everything.
And sometimes he says it's to directly aware the five aggregates associated with clinging, which in the classical tatavada sense is another way of saying everything. But here in specifically anything that we identify it with. So again, anything.
[00:08:57] Speaker A: Can I stop you just for a very brief moment, just to clarify a point there. Some of our listeners might not have heard of this idea of the six senses. Of course, in the western education system, we'll learn about the five. So what are those? And in brief, are the five aggregates of clinging as well. Just what are those in brief?
[00:09:21] Speaker B: Well, start with the six senses, the buddha. What he's interested in is experience, the nature of human experience.
And in european philosophical terms, you could call him a radical empiricist, or you could call him a phenomenologist.
So he's interested only in experience, which means he's interested in what comes through the senses. And for him, the senses are sensitivities, sensitivity to particular forms of data.
So if you consider the body, there's two very small parts of the body that are sensitive to light. We call them the eyes.
So they register light. But that outreachister sound, for example, the two parts of the body that register sound, that are sensitive to sound, and so on and so forth. So the senses are sensitivities that pick up particular forms of data.
Mind is a sensitivity. It's sensitive to particular forms of data. For example, thoughts, perceptions, fantasies, desires, aversions, and so on. So mind is a sense, a sensitivity, along with the other, with the physical five.
So hence six senses. And the six senses are not something spooky. It's just the fact that mind is a sensitivity. That's how it operates.
[00:10:47] Speaker A: Yeah.
That's what we subjectively experience is five external senses and the mind.
[00:10:54] Speaker B: Yeah. And all that the Buddha is interested in is what we subjectively experience.
He's not interested in anything else. That's one of the reasons why he rejects theories of self, because he says you don't actually directly experience a self. So he just won't go there. So he talks about any given experience is not self.
Therefore, forget about self. And he's not really saying there isn't a self. He's just not joining the debate. He's saying, look, if there is one, you can't experience it, so let's forget about it. That's the same reason why there's no creator God in Buddhism. It's not because he says there isn't one. He says, if there's a creator God and if we are part of creation, then by our very nature, we cannot step out of creation. So we cannot directly experience a creator God. So let's not bother even talking about it.
[00:11:48] Speaker A: It's, like, beside the point.
[00:11:50] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely beside the point. He's only interested in the nature of experience, and he's a radical empiricist, like, he refuses to make any.
So if you use the six senses as your meditation object, it's code for anything at all in human experience.
And then the five aggregates, this is Panch Upadhana Kunda. So the panchakanda are the five aggregates. The Panch Upadhana kunda are the five aggregates appropriated. So Upadhana is normally translated as clinging. So the five aggregates associated with clinging. But it means the five aggregates are five categories of experience. And these are the categories of experience that we appropriate to say, this is me.
[00:12:46] Speaker A: I like the way you've used that term. Categories. I've always thought that that english translation for five aggregates is a little bit hazy.
But in one sense, what the Buddha was doing, he was kind of saying there are these categories of experience, and by recognizing that they exist, because I suppose our subjective experience, everything seems to be happening so fast. Certainly, if we're not very mindful, the gap between a perception and a thought is virtually impossible to pick up on them, especially if you don't have any mindfulness. So did you want to say anything more about just those five aggregates affected, or five categories of experience affected by clinging?
[00:13:34] Speaker B: Yes. The word is kunda, which has a variety of meanings. It can mean a great mass of things, like a collection of things, a pile of things.
Stephen Bachelor translates that as bundle because he links it with the use of the fire, imagery of fire, which the Buddha also uses. So let's say you're on the beach and you build a sandcastle.
So the sandcastle is a single thing. It's a sandcastle, it's an aggregate, it's a pile of sand.
And the use of the term aggregate suggests that what's holding it all together isn't all that strong.
So the sandcastle is an aggregate, it's a pile of sand. But then the sandcastle is sitting on a beach. So anything that can be categorized as sand is also part of the aggregate.
So it could be applied in different ways.
But in all cases, it's a collection. It's an aggregate of experience, of particular types of experience. So there are five aggregates. There are five categories of experience that we are used as raw materials to construct us off. And these are body feeling, perception, sankhadas, constructions or formations, and awareness.
These are the raw materials that we use to construct a self, like we use sand to construct a sandcastle.
[00:15:19] Speaker A: So in Vipassana meditation, is there some emphasis on trying to observe and understand those kandas? Those.
[00:15:32] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah. As I said, Mahasi himself, in his popular writings, sometimes he says, what you do is you track the six senses, and sometimes he says, what you do is you track the five aggregates associated with clinging. But in either case, in both cases, he's opening things out, but in both cases, he's interested in how do we construct experience, including how do we construct self.
[00:15:57] Speaker A: Right?
[00:15:57] Speaker B: Because for the Buddha, self is a construction project, but one that's never completed. Rather like an australian builder being upsetical here, because we've had a lot of builders in our place.
It's an ongoing construction project. And what happens in insight meditation is you see yourself constructing yourself when you see that you cannot believe in the independent existence of the self because here you are busily constructing it, and if you're busy constructing it and it's causing you pain, where you think, maybe I could stop doing this.
[00:16:33] Speaker A: So you all are drawing a connection between the construction of a self or the view of a self, and also dukkha. So one of the other universal characteristics, which is suffering.
[00:16:46] Speaker B: That's right, yeah.
[00:16:47] Speaker A: And often we don't see that connection. So I guess part of what insight meditation is trying to do is to try and see that connection. Absolutely.
[00:16:55] Speaker B: And that's in the first truth. When the Buddha is defining dukkha, he says, in summary, the five aggregates associated with clinging are dukkha. So it takes you into, the purpose of the practice is to take you into change. This emphasis on the way things change and take you into Dukka and therefore take you into not self. So the three characteristics all bound up with each other. In fact, strictly speaking, according to the tradition, insight meditation begins when the meditation object becomes one or more of the three characteristics.
And until then, you're really doing a preliminary serenity practice, but one that's aimed at uncovering the three characteristics.
[00:17:43] Speaker A: Okay, next question, a bit of a slightly tricky one. What are the expected long term effects of regular vipassana practice? If one's practicing this, let's say, every single day for a number of months or years, how might one change as a result of that?
[00:18:06] Speaker B: Well, one thing is you would develop more serenity, because as you practice the discipline of the practice, there is a calming down effect that takes place.
But what you would expect is to have a greater understanding of how your own mind works, and therefore a greater understanding about how other people's minds work, because everybody's minds work in the same way. And then from that you would expect to see a greater empathy and you expect to see greater equanimity in one's ordinary life. If it's working, that's what you should see. But it takes time for these things to emerge, and they can emerge, and it can take more time for them to be noticed.
It's one of the paradoxes of the meditation practice. Because meditation is a natural activity, it can be difficult to see a cause and effect relationship between what's happening in your life and the meditation practice. Let's say I take up meditation to handle stress, which is a very common motivation.
Let's say that before I take up meditation, I've had another practice to handle stress. And this practice involves a certain form of alcohol kept in the fridge, and I come home from work and I bring up the bottle, I pour a glass, I drink the glass, and I feel better.
And I drink another glass, and I feel even better.
And there's a clear cause and effect relationship. I know why I'm feeling better. It's because I'm consuming this substance and it's clear because it's artificial.
But let's say I instead take up meditation practice. It's a natural process. And what can happen, it's not at all unusual, is that someone takes up meditation because they feel really bad.
And then after some time, we're talking maybe a few months, and they feel, I used to feel bad, but I feel okay now, so why am I keeping up the meditation practice?
And they continue to feel good. And then three months later, they're thinking, you know, I'm not feeling so good anymore. I wonder why.
And then maybe the penny drops. But it's no obvious cause and effect relationship because it's natural.
[00:20:35] Speaker A: And also, perhaps it's happening over a longer period of time.
[00:20:39] Speaker B: Yeah, and it takes time. That's the other thing. If you're looking for a quick fix, don't bother with meditation.
[00:20:44] Speaker A: Yeah, I've noticed that. Even in myself, I've noticed your motivation to practice is often stronger when there's a bit of suffering. And then you met your practice and you feel better, and then all of a sudden you just kind of let go of the practice a little bit. So it's something that's pretty common. Look, let's go back.
What are some of the challenges that beginners might face if they are starting, like doing, say, passenger meditation on a regular basis? What kind of problems might they face and what are some ways that they might overcome some of those problems?
[00:21:22] Speaker B: Common set of problems that have to do with the body.
So posture is important. In fact, the four postures, moving, standing, sitting, lying down, are one of the sections of Sadhipadana sutta, which the Buddha gives, handing out the meditation objects.
So posture is really important in the broad sense. This is going back to the indian yoga tradition. So in Patanjali's yoga sutras, Patanjali says, regarding Asana posture, he says, posture is steady and comfortable.
So if you're going to settle the mind, you need to settle the body. And if you're going to settle the body, you need to be either still or if you are moving pretty rhythmically and to be able to do that over a period of time.
So the posture must be steady in that sense, but it also needs to be comfortable, because if you're constantly bothered by physical pain and restlessness and distress, it's going to be much harder. Now, that is a big barrier. In today's world, most people are carrying a huge amount of physical tension, so you need to work through that. And usually for a lot of people, some kind of body work is recommended, yoga or some such modality, and that helps a great deal.
And then the next barrier is the restlessness of the mind and disturbance of the emotions.
And this varies from person to person hugely, but it takes a great deal of patience. You need to be able to settle awareness and then simply watch your dramas unfold. And again, this brings us back to the body, because the stability and the frame that you have is body. So if you can settle into body in any given posture at all, any posture over a period of time, and then just watch and feel what happens, then you gradually work your way through these more gross levels of disturbance.
[00:23:44] Speaker A: Can I ask for a bit of a clarification there? So you mentioned that it's pretty common, especially for beginners, to have an emotional disturbance. Now, I imagine you might be referring to a lot of craving might come up, or it might be that some traumatic or emotional experiences from the past might come up in meditation. And because we identify with them, they feel very close to us. So when they arise in the mind, we feel very involved with them and they have strong emotions attached with them. Are you saying that it's one way to work through that is to come back to awareness of the body? Or is that incorrect? What exactly you're referring to there?
[00:24:35] Speaker B: Well, here we come to the details of the method, the craft.
And so different methods come out of different lineages and they have different answers, different approaches to this.
In Mahasi's approach, first of all, he talks about what in Pali he calls the Mula Arabana, the root object, and his burmese, english speaking burmese disciples translated that as primary object.
I prefer to translate it as grounding object. So you need something you can settle awareness into. You need a home base.
And particularly in the early stages, you spend a lot of time settling into this grounding object, being distracted, coming back, being distracted, coming back, being distracted, coming back endlessly. So the same as in serendipity practice.
And then Mahasi talks about what can be called the secondary object. Now, at some point we're distracted, and in other words, the awareness is taken from where we want it to be, the grounding object, and it's, as it were, kidnapped and we find ourselves somewhere else. Now, usually this is in thinking or physical pain or emotional disturbance.
As soon as we realize that this has happened, that becomes the meditation object. So the physical sensation, physical pain, the emotional disturbance, the thought becomes the meditation object, it's directly aware, and then come back to the grounding object. So instead of a simple, come back endlessly to the grounding object, which is my understanding is that that's how serenity would work.
Once you start to get into it, you start to make your distractions your meditation object. And this is where the craft of the practice comes in, because that can be very challenging and very difficult. Like, how do you do that? How do you make your thought a meditation object? How do you make your emotion a meditation object? This is not kind of immediately obvious.
And this is where training with a teacher is important. This is where learning the craft becomes very important, and this is where it can become quite counterintuitive.
[00:26:57] Speaker A: Okay, so obviously there's more to the method than we can cover in a short interview like this.
If someone listening was interested in trying out insight meditation, what advice would you offer them for getting started?
[00:27:17] Speaker B: Well, find someone who teaches insight meditation is the obvious one, and there's a fair few people around. There's different methods, there's different lineages.
That's a good place to start. But I would say basically be interested in the fact of change. This is what I tell all my students, get interested in change.
And if you want change handed to you on a plate, get interested in distraction. Like become interested in the fact that.
[00:27:46] Speaker A: You get distracted, as opposed to, say, for instance, feeling upset or averse to the fact that you are distracted, you actually start to say, okay, what's going on here with this distraction? Is that right?
[00:27:59] Speaker B: That's right.
When you realize you're distracted, you get upset about it and criticize yourself or criticize the method, and then hurtle back to the grounding object as soon as you can. Basically, you've just wasted a perfectly good distraction because what you've just been shown is change.
And you've also, in all probability been shown not self, because did you choose that distraction or did it just arise because of conditions?
[00:28:33] Speaker A: Good point.
[00:28:34] Speaker B: So you get to know you directly aware, or in Mahasi's language, you note the distraction. It becomes the meditation object only briefly, particularly in the beginning, only briefly, and then back to the grounding object. But you don't just dismiss the distraction.
You recognize it, you accept it, you aware it, and then you go back to the grounding object.
[00:29:01] Speaker A: And I also just wanted to ask, as a person and meditation teacher yourself, apart from what you just mentioned, how would you start out teaching beginners? Like, what are the main points that you would hit upon in, say, like a beginner's meditation course? Just like an overview.
[00:29:25] Speaker B: Whenever I teach a retreat, mostly I teach retreats, I start off with playing around with awareness itself, like getting a sense of what is awareness, and I then move on to mindfulness. Now, mindfulness I define as the felt continuity of awareness.
So we do.
Usually I start off with this sort of exercise. I say, okay, we're going to start with a very technical meditation practice. We're going to hold our hands together and feel our hands. Question, can you feel your hands? Answer, yes, that's awareness.
Question, are you making any particular effort to feel your hands? Answer, for most people, no, it's just happening. That's awareness. It's just happening. Something is present to you and it's just happening. And then we do exactly the same exercise, but for, say, three or four, five minutes.
And then I ask them, are there any gaps in your awareness of your hands over a period of time? And almost invariably the answer is yes.
Is there any effort involved in maintaining continuity of awareness? Most people, yes.
So why is it that I'm aware of the touch of my hands naturally and without any effort, but if I have to maintain that awareness over a period of time, suddenly it becomes difficult? Well, that's the difference between awareness and mindfulness.
So the mindfulness is maintaining continuity of awareness over a period of time. And to do that, the first thing we have to notice is the discontinuity to recognize. My awareness actually isn't continuous at all. There's always gaps.
[00:31:22] Speaker A: That must be very hard to pick up on.
[00:31:27] Speaker B: Well, it is.
When I do that exercise, I used to do a version where when we do do it for three minutes. Okay. Feel the touch of your hands for three minutes. And I would add, as soon as you recognize that you've lost the touch of your hands, then raise your hand. Now we're doing this in a room. So this is the demand to be publicly humiliated.
What is really interesting is that usually the first people to raise their hands are the most experienced meditators.
Why? Because they're sensitive to the discontinuity of awareness. They can.
Because their mindfulness is actually better.
[00:32:10] Speaker A: Yeah. And they've been working on it. They've been practicing.
[00:32:12] Speaker B: Yeah. Right.
So it's quite, in some ways, quite counterintuitive. It's one of the things which makes insight meditation tricky is that it is, on occasion, completely counterintuitive to be distracted. But to be aware of your distraction is a sign of progress.
[00:32:33] Speaker A: Yes, indeed. Look, I'd like to go off on a little bit of a different tangent. I'd like to ask you, because we're talking now about mindfulness, and of course, mindfulness is like the common feature, regardless of what type of meditation you're teaching, if it's got any integrity at all, mindfulness is going to be a key feature. And of course, it's the 7th factor of the Eightfold path.
And one question I've asked recent guests, and I'd like to ask you as well, is just your impressions and perceptions of what's going on in the west now, because you'd be aware that there is a lot of talk about mindfulness.
And of course, whilst it's originated within buddhist meditation practice, it's now kind of been stripped of its original context and there's a lot of different mindfulness based courses available.
And of course, you've got apps on your phone that you can get which are meant to be training about mindfulness. What's your impression about this whole explosion of mindfulness in society, and what are the positives and negatives? And is it missing anything?
[00:34:02] Speaker B: Certainly it's missing the Buddha's understanding of mindfulness, what he called sati. Sati in Sanskrit, shmurti, when mindfulness became fashionable with John Kabadzin's mindfulness based stress reduction, Mbsr.
And he used. And he said this in his writings, he used mindfulness as a kind of catch all word to describe the kind of meditation practice that he was presenting.
So he used the term mindfulness rather vaguely, and that vagueness has stuck.
The Buddha is very, very precise in the way he uses his terms. So from a traditional buddhist perspective, the secular mindfulness movement is hopelessly confused and vague about the actual meanings of the terms that they use.
But on the other hand, so what?
Mindfulness based stress reduction and other modalities, they work, they relieve suffering, and they speak to contemporary secular audiences in ways that those audiences can appreciate. So who cares?
The main thing, meditation. I think this is what's radical, what is possibly revolutionary for our culture. In western culture, we've never developed as part of the normal, everyday culture a sense of what we call meditation and the craft and the skill involved in that.
In the christian tradition, it's quite spotty. You do find it. But often the yogis, the people who are practicing, are low status and often oppressed because they come up with ideas and practices that are disapproved of by the guardians of the orthodoxy. But in the indian traditions, the yogis are the authority. So the Indians developed a very sophisticated understanding of what happens when one meditates or contemplates.
So what's happening today is maybe for the first time, western culture is starting to get a sense of that there is such a thing as what the Buddhists call meditation, that it is a skill, it is a craft. You can learn it, you can get good at it.
And if you do that, there are significant benefits that come from it. So this is revolutionary. So the fact that they're a bit spotty around the edges when it comes to the technicalities, I think, is neither here nor there. It's great that just people are interested. And, of course, so many people who get started with these secular varieties of mindfulness, I meet them when they turn up at a retreat because they want to go deeper.
[00:37:04] Speaker A: Yes, right. That's a good point, actually. That's a very good point. And I think that was the original intent of people like John Hapkabad Zinn, is that they wanted to make it more accessible outside of a religious context and more in a secular context so that more people would do it. And I think from a buddhist point of view, it's not really a big deal. Like, we don't need to insist upon a specifically religious context in order to do mindfulness for us. There isn't that duality. It's just like, well, you just got to develop the mind in this way. It's very useful and beneficial.
Look, I really appreciate that you've taken the time to come on to the show and talk to us about Vipassana meditation. I feel like this is. We've kind of just scratched the surface there. Seems like there'll be a lot more to the pasta meditation. Would you recommend that? If someone wants to start out with meditation, should they go straight onto a retreat? Or would you say, is it better just to do, like, a weekly course for a few weeks and then maybe later on down the track do a retreat? What are your thoughts on that?
[00:38:23] Speaker B: Probably better to join a meditation group and just dip into it.
You want a group where there are some experienced people who can help you out, give you the basics, and then start to play with it and start to check it out rather than dive immediately into a retreat. And then when you're ready. Okay.
But one thing that I would say is that sometimes what people will do if they want to attend their first retreat, they'll sometimes pick a brief retreat, like two or three or four days, thinking this will be easier, but actually it's harder because they're the hardest days, right?
They're just beginning to get a sense of what's going on. It's time to go home.
[00:39:16] Speaker A: Yeah, I know what you mean. Because even though the first, I've always found on a retreat like day two, day three are the hardest. And then after that it gets easier. So maybe that's useful advice. Look, for those who are listening, I've got links in the show notes below. We've got Patrickkerny. Net and of course Patrick does do courses, regular retreats in person but also online, and you can find out about that there. And I've also got a link below to some of the teachings, recorded teachings of Patrick Kearney on his soundcloud. Look, thank you very much, Patrick, for coming on the show. I really appreciate it and all the very best for the future. Thank you, thank you.
[00:40:02] Speaker B: Thank you for the invitation.
[00:40:07] Speaker A: And thank you to our listeners for joining us for this episode of Treasure Mountain about Vipassana meditation with Patrick Kearney. If you enjoy this podcast, I'd appreciate if you could share this episode with your friends and other people who you think could benefit from its sage advice. Treasure Mound podcast is part of the Everyday Dharma network. You can find out more about the Treasure Mountain podcast by going to everydaydharma. Net and then clicking on the treasure Mountain logo to find out all the recent all previous episodes and guests, as well as transcriptions of our interviews. You can also find out about the other podcasts on the Everyday Dharma network. You can also support this podcast through making a donation using the donation tab at the bottom of the page of the website. And I appreciate all those people who have made a small donation and some have been making a monthly donation. It really helps to pay for all the costs that make this podcast possible.
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