How to bring up one of the Factors of Enlightenment in the right amount?
This question came up in the Online 10-day Retreat Nov 3, 2020, guided by Delson Armstrong. Day 2 was part of a daily 30 -minute discussion on the suttas, the Dhamma talk and reflections.
Slightly edited to improve readability
Especially when you’re in the eighth level, when you’re in Neither-perception-nor-non-perception, you’re really playing with the Factors at that point in time, trying to balance them. If you notice that there’s a Factor missing, you need more Tranquility, you immediately create the intention for Tranquility to the point that it creates too much tranquility. What you’ll also notice is, you’re putting in too much effort. Which means, not only are you bringing Tranquility, but you’re bringing in too much energy. Energy is when you put in too much effort.
But the way to look at it is like a medicine dropper; have you seen those medicine droppers, where you drop one, bit by bit? When you notice that the mind is restless, for example, and you need Tranquility, you have a drop of intention. Now a little bit of Tranquility is required. That’s the way you do it; very small doses, very small drops.
Or if you’re coming into Sloth&Torpor, where the mind is becoming sluggish, you bring in a little bit of Joy, just a drop of joy, and then see what happens. So drop by drop, bit by bit.
It’s better to be more cautious in sending this out, rather than I’m going to push it and I’m going to put in the Tranquility. You just pull back in little by little, and if you see you need a little bit more, another drop, or another drop. Do it from that kind of a perspective.
[Person that asked the question replies, but the internet connection was weak]
In the discourse you mentioned how the Precepts are connected…so the explanation was pretty nice, it was like both things are perfectly connected.
Yeah, that helps you being more mindful of seeing; am I following this precept or not, and likewise, when you go into the meditation, you see that there is this particular hindrance arising. You can go back into your mind and say okay, did I follow this precept, or did I break it, or what happened? It really provides a little bit of a mindfulness of that.