Nikki is of Persian heritage, and was introduced to contemplative practices and yoga in the early 1980's, to meditation in 1991, and to Theravada Buddhism in 2003. She has studied with various Western and Eastern teachers, with a keen interest in intensive silent retreats. She studied jhanas and detailed analytical vipassana with the renowned meditation master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw who instructed her to teach. She is also a Spirit Rock authorized retreat teacher, a Stanford trained compassion cultivation instructor, and a UCLA certified mindfulness facilitator. She teaches Buddhist meditation and contemplation nationally, and in particular, at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, where she also serves on their Board of Directors. Nikki holds a Ph.D. in computer science from UC Berkeley and has had an active career as an Artificial Intelligence scientist in academia and industry for over two decades.
This talk discusses the first two conditional links described in the Kimatthiya Sutta (“What Purpose?”) (Anguttara Nikaya 10.1), where the Buddha teaches Ananda that wholesome ethical behavior leads to non-regret, which leads to gladness, .... ultimately leading to liberation. Parallels to Upanisa Sutta and Cetana Sutta are discussed.
In this morning's guided meditation, first we settle in with the body, appreciating the intimacy and the impersonality of experience, holding both experiences equally valid. Then, we look at our lives from the vantage point of our deathbed (far in the future, only for the purpose of this thought exercise) and reflect on aspirations that arise for living our life in this precious human birth, however long we have left.
Three fruits of maranasati practice are discussed: 1) preparing for our moment of death with fearlessness and peace. Topics of Near Death Experiences (NDE) and rebirth are presented with a don't know mind. 2) Living THIS limited, precious life fully, with gratitude, forgiveness, generosity and letting go. 3) Awakening, liberation, nibbana -- Maranasati is a practice towards liberation, arising insights into the three marks of existence (anicca, dukkha, anatta).
The first part of the talk, the hindrances (Nivarana in Pali), also translated as veils, are discussed through the lens of Maranasati practice. The second part of the talk is devoted to sharing lessons from my mother's recent passing.