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Posts by Nigel Wellings

The Way of the Bodhisattva 1.

Around 100BC a new inspiration entered Buddhism. Some monks began to speak of a ‘greater vehicle to awakening’ – the Mahayana. This new vehicle began to develop its own teachings – the Mahayana Sutras – that they believed were a superior teaching given to an elite of spiritually gifted students setting out a deeper, more efficacious path.


The Evolution of Mindfulness 6.

Week 6. Zen This is our last session. We will have a peek at Zen and its origins within Chinese Buddhism. I have found a strange paradox in Zen, on the one hand it is almost militaristic in its insistence on precise ritual forms and behaviours while on the other it is profoundly poetic to […]


The Evolution of Mindfulness 5.

Week 5. Dzogchen – The Great Perfection As we saw last time, Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, is the pinnacle of the Nyingma nine vehicle system that arranges the various Buddhist teachings into a hierarchy of efficacy. What makes it the pinnacle is that unlike all the teachings that precede it, it requires that we change […]


The Evolution of Mindfulness 4.

From its first tentative emergence sometime during the second century until its full fruiting in the ninth century Tantric Buddhism went in stages through a profound transformation that saw it change from simply being prayers for well being into (according to its own press) the most powerful and efficient vehicle for awakening. Why wait aeons traversing the way of the Bodhisattva when as a tantric yogi you can do it in one lifetime?


The Evolution of Mindfulness 3.

This week we are going to look at an exciting development in Buddhism – the emergence of the ‘Mahāyāna’ – the greater vehicle, and within this a further emergence of the ‘Mantrayāna’ – the vehicle of words of power. (Which we might think of as spells). These two together begin to seriously extend and change the earlier forms of meditative practice.


The Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta 9.

So finally we come to the last Dhamma section – the four noble truths. This may seem a little strange because the four noble truths are themselves a summary of the entire Buddhist path and essentially cover all of the material we have looked at within the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta during this last year. It is as if we have come to the end and the end consists of the whole journey again.


The Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta 8.

The Awakening Factors
It seems that so much of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta has been about being mindful of our crazy mind and all the powerfully detrimental impulses and reactions that pass through it. Here, with the introduction of the seven awakening factors, bojjhaṅga, – mindfulness, investigation, energy, joy, tranquility, concentration and equanimity – we have reached a seam of some of the amazing mind states that may be inhabited.