What is the Stilling of the Mind?

The core of dependant origination is the reciprocal relationship between consciousness and name-and-form. We think that we exist because we feel like we exist and we feel like we exist because we think we do.

Unraveling this self-perpetuating feedback loop requires significant effort to cut through our conceptual layers to see the reality of our experience unfiltered by ignorance. When ignorance is broken through, the activity of name-and-form completely stops and consciousness is unconditioned. This, just this, is the cessation of suffering.

Prerequisites

This is an advanced course which assumes considerable prior engagement with the Pali Suttas and Buddhist Philosophy (in particular Dependant Origination and Buddhist Psychology).

Textbook

This course is based on Bhikkhu Ñāṇananda’s sermons:

all pathways for verbal expression, terminology and designation converge on this whirlpool between name-and-form and consciousness

The Nivane Niveema are a series of thirty-three sermons on Nibbāna, originally delivered in Sinhala during the period 1988–1991 and given to the assembly of monks in Nissaraṇa Vanaya, Meethirigala, one of Sri Lanka’s most respected meditation monasteries in the strict forest tradition.

The English translations were released in 7 vols. between 2003 and 2012 and continue to brilliantly challenge the traditional Theravada exegesis.

Lectures

  • Bhikkhu Anālayo reads the above lectures, adding his own insightful reflections as well as giving us alternative translations for some of the suttas quoted.

Course Outline

The course procedes linearly through the lectures (no surprise). You can read along with Bhante’s lectures either in the original book, or in his lecture notes which contain the alternative translations mentioned.

Of course, meditation and reflection “outside of class” is encouraged. As ever, if you have any questions, feel free to post on DhammaWheel or SuttaCentral.

This course is a real treat. I hope you enjoy it!

Further Reading

Audio/Video

Advanced Courses

Nibbāna: The Goal of Buddhist Practice
If you haven't taken it already, you may want to go back and take this course which gives a broader overview of Nibbāna and its doctrinal history.
Tranquility and Insight
Continue to learn about the subtle layers of meditation with Bhante Analayo in this course on the Chinese parallels.
or feel free to check out any of our University's other fine offerings.