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The Buddha compares the rewards of the practice to different parts of a large tree, with total release the most valuable part of the tree: the heartwood. [TB]
Even though the Buddha did not usually seek debates, he knew how to reply effectively when attacked. In this discourse, he gets Saccaka — who uses a variety of cheap debater's tricks — to trip over those tricks. However, the Buddha goes beyond simply defeating Saccaka in debate. He then takes the opportunity to teach him the Dhamma. [TB]
Two lessons in the dangers of quick generalization. In the first, the Buddha points out that the perception of all feeling as stressful is not appropriate at all stages of the practice. In the second, he shows that generalizing too quickly on the basis of what one sees in meditation can lead to serious wrong view. [TB]
The right and wrong ways to respond to sluggishness or restlessness.
Sometimes it is difficult to appreciate the extent to which one's attitudes towards meditation practice can be influenced by modern cultural trends. In this short excursion into Western cultural history, the author explores the origins of such familar notions as interconnectedness, oneness, and ego-transcendence—ideas popularly attributed to the Buddha—and finds that their roots lie instead in the 18th and 19th century movements of Romanticism and Transcendentalism.