Born in Canada, Ven. U Jagara was introduced to Buddhist practice in the early 1970’s by Robert Hover, and ordained as a monk under the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw in Burma in 1979. He spent 15 years in Sri Lanka combining meditation with the study of Buddhist texts and periodically traveled to India where he practiced in intense retreats with S. N. Goenka. For several years he conducted retreats in India, America, Europe and Asia in the S.N. Goenka tradition. Since 1995 U Jagara has trained under the guidance of Pa Auk Sayadaw, the Burmese master renowned for his faithful adherence to the Visuddhimagga as both a practical guide to jhana and a detailed exposition of direct analytical approaches to vipassana. U Jagara assists Pa Auk Sayadaw in the teaching.
Wise attention deals with how we are directing our mind. We have the ability to choose what we think about, and how we pay attention. Wise attention can be divided into two parts. First, it deals with guarding the mind, so we can maintain a balanced mind, and protect the mind from various kinds of defilement such as the five hindrances. Second, wise attention encompasses the development of our mind, which starts with improving the quality of our observation. This improvement then leads to understanding, clarity and wisdom.
These guided meditations and talks were given at a day-long program that explored the place of profound happiness in Buddhist practice. Although Buddhism is reputed to emphasize teachings on suffering, the teachings occur in the context of a path infused from beginning to end with contentment and joy. The teachings highlight the essential role that happiness plays in the development of our practice, from the enhancement of daily ease and well being, to the bliss that saturates the mind during meditation, and finally to the unsurpassed peace that comes with awakening.