Ayya Sobhana is the Vice Abbess of Dhammadharini, the monastic women’s community located in Sonoma County. Together with Ayya Tathaaloka Theri, Ayya Sobhana has been deeply involved in restoring Bhikkhuni full ordination in the Theravada tradition. She meditated and trained with Bhante Henepola Gunaratana since 1989 and stayed at the Bhavaha Society in West Virginia from 200 to 2010. She ordained in 2003 and obtained full Bhikkhuni ordination in 2006. Her primary practice is the Eightfold Noble Path - i.e. integration of meditation with ethical living and compassionate relationships for the sake of liberation. During the past decade, Ayya Sobhana has been developing the crosswalk between the Buddha’s teachings and our western understanding of emotion, as it has been transformed by recent developments in neuroscience, evolutionary biology and philosophy of mind.
Bhikkhuni Sobhana gave the third talk in a eight-week series titled "Seven Factors of Awakening". The focus of the talk is the enlightenment factor of "viriya," i.e., what the early suttas advise for arousing energy, skillfully steering our efforts, and going beyond what we have done before.
These seven qualities offer an effective framework for cultivating the mind, overcoming the hindrances, and balancing the energetic and calming forces that develop in meditation. When cultivated and balanced, the mind is ripe for awakening. This series will explore each factor to reveal its importance, function, and role in the process of awakening.
Shaila Catherine gave the seventh talk in a eight-week series titled "Seven Factors of Awakening." This talk explores how the stability and the balance provided by equanimity can make our mind our friend, something that we can trust. When equanimity is strong, if there is pain we won't tend to react with aversion; if there is pleasure, we won't tend to react with grasping and clinging. The mind will be balanced, present, and aware of experience as it unfolds.
The series on the Seven Awakening factors concludes with Oren J. Sofer’s talk on the quality of equanimity. Sofer tells us that this quality develops slowly among the other factors and is considered one of the highest attainments in Buddhist practice. The fore-taste of evenness and balance can be considered a glimpse into the mind of an awakened being.