Manny Mansbach teaches Insight (Vipassana) Meditation in Brattleboro, VT, in Bellows Falls, VT and elsewhere in New England, and offers counseling and consultation for individuals, couples and organizations.
For his entire adult life, Manny has been keenly interested in nurturing and facilitating the connections between transformative inner work such as meditation and therapy, relational practices based in skillful communication, development of wholesome community, and nonviolent social transformation.
What a time it has been! The year-long COVID pandemic seems to be easing with a competent and caring administration in charge, vaccines and spring on the way. I hope your meditation practice continues to support you in staying loving, balanced and clear in these very challenging times. I’m wishing you well!
What’s Happening? When?
Natural Awareness–A New Class Based on the Meditative Teachings & Approach of Sayadaw U Tejaniya
“Every moment that we bring awareness to life, weakens the darkness of delusion.” –Sayadaw U Tejaniya
Sayadaw U Tejaniya’s life story is not the typical life path many westerners would imagine for an Asian meditation master. His story winds through youthful delinquency, including drug use and abuse, through severe depression, and also the responsibilties and challenges of family life, and economic and business obligations.
U Tejaniya emphasizes a relaxed diligence rather than a forceful, muscular approach to meditation practice. He reminds his students that we are familiar with and capable of knowing, that awareness is not something esoteric that we need to manufacture or push to find. U Tejaniya encourages his students to “drop” into our minds skillful questions like “What is the mind aware of now?” or “What is awareness knowing now?” to freshen and direct our knowing of what is, and to grow in understanding of the Four Noble Truths. Sayadaw trusts this investigation will lead us to deepen in wisdom about dukkha, anicca and anatta (ungovernability, impermanence and not-self).
U Tejaniya teaches that if we turn toward and cultivate awareness, wisdom will naturally follow.His approach considers awareness primary, and is not overly concerned with technique or with chasing after spiritual goodies like calm, concentration and the like. Thinking mind is not regarded as a problem to be rid of, but another object to be known.
Sayadaw’s approach stresses the importance of Wise View, which sets the direction for the entire spiritual path. He recognizes Dhamma as the study of nature and natural processes of cause and effect. He instructs us that afflictive states arise in large part because of wrong understanding and unwise attention. Sayadaw is known for reminding students to frequently check what kinds of attitude of mind we are bringing to practice. Are we approaching meditation wanting something? If so, might that be grasping? Are we pushing something away, attempting to exclude some of our lives from practice? That could be known as aversion. More than what is arising, we are instructed to look at how we are relating to what does present.
Sayadaw’s teaching style is simple, nondogmatic, practical, and quite suitable for our householder western lives. Awareness is not reserved for the meditation hall; we are invited to cultivate and take care of awareness in every corner of our lives in order to purify and transform our habits of mind and cultivate wholesome qualities that arise naturally from wisdom. He says, “the aim of our practice is to have our thoughts, speech and actions increasingly governed by awareness and wisdom rather than by desire, aversion and confusion.”
Five Wednesdays, May 12-June 9, 6:00-7:30pm, via zoom.
Class text: When Awareness Becomes Natural: A Guide to Cultaivating Mindfulness in Everyday Life, by Sayadaw U Tejaniya (available now at Everyone’s Books in Brattleboro.)
Suggested donation: $120
Please register by emailing Manny at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Consider meditation and the unfolding of wisdom more like a marathon than a sprint. Be willing to learn from everything. This practice is for life.” —Sayadaw U Tejaniya
The Zen master Ikkyu was once asked to write a distillation of the highest wisdom. He wrote only one word: Attention.
The visitor was displeased. “Is that all?”
So Ikkyu obliged him. Two words now.