Sally Clough Armstrong began practicing vipassana meditation in India in 1981. She moved to the Bay Area in 1988, and worked at Spirit Rock until 1994 in a number of roles, including executive director. She began teaching in 1996, and is one of the guiding teachers of Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioner Program.
Sally has always been inspired by the depth and the breadth of the Buddha’s teaching, as presented in the suttas of the Pali Canon, because the truth and power of the Buddha’s words still speak to us today. Her intention in teaching is to make these ancient texts and practices accessible and relevant to all levels of practitioner, from the very new to the dedicated meditator.
We often hear about and experience the suffering caused by greed and aversion, yet delusion, the third of the kilesas, or torments of mind, is in some ways a more fundamental cause of suffering, because if we weren’t deluded, we wouldn’t believe that by grasping or pushing away we could avoid suffering. The challenge with delusion is its very definition is that we don’t it is operating. This talk examines the many ways that delusion manifests, so we can begin to bring more clarity and understanding to our experience.
The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths – the truths of suffering, the cause of suffering , the end of suffering and the path to the end of suffering – not as a philosophy, but as practices that we can use here and now to understand why we suffer and how to find release. Using this template to gain insight into our lives can bring a radical shift to the way we relate to our experience.
Intensive metta practice can be challenging on many levels - body, heart and mind. One of the most supportive things we can do to deepen the intention of love and kindness is to consciously and deliberately relax; truly relax in mind and body.
To deepen our meditation practice we need to work skillfully with whatever is a disturbance -- whether it's the gross forms of the hindrances, or the subtlest manifestations of restlessness. This subtle restlessness often comes from a primal anxiety. We need to recognize this and find the stillness in our experience. Then we can truly be with things as they are.