On Saturday 16 February 2019, the Sydney insight meditation teacher Winton Higgins led a One Mindful Breath one-day secular Buddhist workshop with the focus on ‘Entering the tiger’s care, insight meditation and the inner life’. Twenty people came to the Home of Compassion in Wellington’s Island Bay to take part.
Imagining the mind as a powerful wild animal is a common metaphor in Buddhist teachings, Winton told us. The Buddha, Gotama, compared the mind to a wild elephant in need of training, and in the Japanese Zen tradition there is a saying: ‘to catch a tiger’s cub, you must first enter the tiger’s cave.’
During this workshop, he located meditation practice within the wider transcultural project to ‘know thyself’ – of cultivating the inner life, however scary it might seem. When we see insight meditation from this perspective, he suggested, we see the limits of both formulaic practices and practices which have been repackaged and turned into the commodity of problem-solving ‘mindfulness’.
His three talks, and the discussions that followed, were recorded.