Fall and Winter Sangha-wide Study of the Five Hindrances
In the Buddha’s lifetime, the exploration of the teachings was never a solely intellectual undertaking. It always involved the investigation of experience through meditation; in this way, there is a blending of study and practice in daily life. In this spirit, we invite you to bring this very personal approach of the teachings into your life, keeping in mind this statement from Bhikkhu Bodhi:
“A spiritual tradition is not a shallow stream in which one can wet one’s feet and then beat a quick retreat to the shore. It is a mighty, tumultuous river which would rush through the entire landscape of one’s life, and if one truly wishes to travel on it, one must be courageous enough to launch one’s boat and head out for the depths.” The Noble Eightfold Path, p. 3
During the second week of September all three of our sitting groups will begin an in-depth study of the Five Hindrances, the mental forces that cloud the mind. These are classically listed as sense desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restless and worry, and doubt. As Gil Fronsdal writes, “Ranging from weak to very powerful, these forces hamper our ability to remain mindful, develop concentration, and have clear insight. They pull our attention away from our efforts to meditate. Even with the best of intentions to stay focused, these forces can propel us into the world of pre-occupation and distracted thought.” [Fronsdal Unhindered, p. 5]
We will investigate and practice with a hindrance for the entire month, using Gil Fronsdal’s weekly reflections as subjects of investigation. His book Unhindered: A Mindful Path Through the Five Hindrances is the suggested text, however, as always, it will not be necessary for sit attendees to be reading the book to engage in the discussion. The teachers can also suggest supplementary material for those who want to explore further.
If you want to purchase Gil’s book through the Norwich Bookstore, please send an email to email@example.com. We’ll combine the responses and give this number to the bookstore, so they will have an idea of how many books to order.
Previous All-Sangha Topic
During the fall and winter ’16, extending through the spring of ’17, our sangha focused on the Eightfold Path. We spent a month on each path factor. Much of the material we used is from dharma teacher Gil Fronsdal’s excellent online program on this topic, Gil’s essays and dharma talks introduce each path factor and include many reflections. The teachers also referenced 2 other sources: Bhikkhu Bodhi’s book available online noble-8-fold-path-bhikkhu-bodhi and Bhante Gunaratana’s Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness which is widely available for sale.