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.
Our magnificent heart-mind-body is our laboratory. First, a deep respect and humility for how little we know (specifically about the brain) is to be embraced, in order not to reduce the totality of our amazing humanity to materialist neuralism, especially with simplified or outdated models (e.g., the Triune theory with reptilian brain, etc.). Also essential are a scientific “holy” curiosity (also known as the factor of investigation) and gentle perseverance. Finally, a true scientist is inspired by awe and the mystery of the ineffable, not just to “get a prize” — or, as it applies to our meditation practice, simply undertaking it for the sake of self improvement.
This talk discusses the last 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. The penultimate stage of the list is Nibbida virāgo, which are often translated as disenchantment and dispassion (thought "free of enchantment and free of fire of passion" is a more appropriate translation, as discussed in the talk). The list in the sutta, as well as the talk, end with a brief discussion of knowledge and vision of liberation (Vimutti ñāna dassana), which is synonymous with nibbana.
This talk discusses the sixth and seventh (Samādhi --> Yathā bhūta ñāna dassana) 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.