Inattention undermines our ability to achieve whatever our goal may be. Anyone who has been successful at anything in life knows that it is continuity and perseverance towards the goal combined with a constellation of additional useful mental factors that support strong focus. When we bring mental factors such as investigation (dhamma-vicaya), concentration (samādhi), effort (sammā-vāyāma), and patience (khanti) to any activity, that activity has a greater potential for success. This is precisely what lay life offers the householding yogi in practical ways. Lay life for a committed yogi is exactly the circumstance to explore the wisdom gained on retreat or during formal everyday practice. Yogis explore and simultaneously learn facets of those skills
because one is obliged to apply them in new and complicated circumstances. This is the opportunity to integrate and learn new ways to challenge and deepen meditative skills and wisdom.
The intention to cultivate continuous wholesome (kusala) attention is the same whether on a formal residential retreat or at home; the skill set will be different, but the goal and the basic teachings always remain the same. Some of the skills and much of the emphasis will be different but the underlying techniques and goals remain the same. The overview and the bedrock of this practice is the cultivation and realization of the Noble Eightfold Path.
Investigation: (dhamma-vicaya): 1. Investigation (intention). The Noble Eightfold Path, Bhikkhu Bodhi. Chapter Three. 2. ‘The Way of Mindfulness,’ Soma Thera. Chapter: The Factors of Enlightenment. 3. Investigation is one of the 4 Roads to Power and one of the 4 Predominants of Truth: dhamma-vicaya, is one the 7 Factors of Enlightenment. Buddhist Dictionary, Nyanatiloka.
Concentration (samādhi): lit: ‘the (mental) state of being firmly fixed, is the fixing of the mind on a single object. Buddhist Dictionary, Nyanatiloka. 2. The Noble Eightfold Path, Bhikkhu Bodhi. Chapter Eight. Right Concentration (sammā-samādhi).
Effort/Right Effort: (sammā-vāyāma): 1. (Pāli: sammappadhāna; is an integral part of the Buddhist path to Enlightenment. Built on the insightful recognition of the arising and non-arising of various mental qualities over time and of our ability to mindfully intervene in these ephemeral qualities, the Four Right Exertions encourage the relinquishment of harmful mental qualities and the nurturing of beneficial mental qualities. 2. SN 45.8 Maggasaṃyutta; Connected Discourses on the Path. 3. The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering. Sammā-vāyāma, Chapter Four. Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Patience (kanti): 1. Forbearance is one of the 10 Perfections (pārami). Buddhist Dictionary. Nyanatiloka. 2. Patience is more than forbearance. Patience is a state of mind that allows forgiveness and empathy to arise. It is a state of equipoise in the face of either pleasant or unpleasant. allan cooper. 3. Patience is mentioned immediately after energy in the list of paramis. (a) because patience is perfected by energy, as it is said: “The energetic man, by arousing his energy, overcomes the suffering imposed by beings and formations.” The Treatise on the Paramis, Acaiya Dhammapala.
Wholesome(ness) (kusala): 1. And what is the wholesome? Abstention from the destruction of life is wholesome; abstention from taking what is not given is wholesome; abstention from sexual misconduct is wholesome; abstention from false speech is wholesome; abstention from divisive speech is wholesome; abstention from harsh speech is wholesome; abstention from idle chatter is wholesome… and what is the root of the wholesome? Non-greed is a root of the wholesome; non-hatred is a root of the wholesome; non-delusion is a root of the wholesome. — from MN9, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi. 2. Wholesomeness is the binding agent for all spiritual growth. Meditative wisdom cannot be realized without it being rooted in wholesomeness. allan cooper.
The Noble Eightfold Path 1. (Pāli: ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo) is an early summary of the path of Buddhist practices leading to liberation from samsara, the painful cycle of rebirth. The Eightfold Path consists of eight practices: right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. The Noble Eightfold Path is one of the principal teachings of Theravāda Buddhism, taught to lead to Arhatship. In the Theravada tradition, this path is also summarized as silā (morality), samādhi (meditation), pañña (insight). Wikipedia. 2. The core teachings of Buddhist philosophy and the ‘how to’ foundation for all Buddhist meditative practices. allan cooper. 3. Please consult: The Noble Eightfold Path; Way to the End of Suffering, Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Abbreviations in footnotes: AN: Aṅguttara Nikāya, DN: Dingha Nikāya, MN: Majjhima Nikāya, SN: Saṃyutta Nikāya