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The Unconscious Motivations for Meditation Practice

These remarks are excerpted from a day-long program given by Jack Engler at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS) on November 1, l997. Jack has had a long association with Dharma study and practice. He studied Pali language and Abhidhamma at the Post-Graduate Institute of Buddhist Studies in Nalanda, Bihar, and practiced meditation for […]

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Look at Karma in Terms of What One is Doing Right Now

Karma—It’s About What We Can Do Now An excerpt about karma from “Noble Strategy” by Thanissaro Bhikkhu Karma is one of those words we don’t translate. Its basic meaning is simple enough—action—but because of the weight the Buddha’s teachings give to the role of action, the Sanskrit word karma packs in so many implications that […]

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What to Do in Meditation When You Are Flooded with Mental Pain

Each meditation is so different. Today, as I settled into my breath, I was immediately aware of a great deal of mental pain. The pain didn’t seem to be tied to anything in particular, but was more an existential kind of pain—just “being” felt painful. One I got mentally quiet enough to feel its full […]

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How to Get Started with Sitting Meditation

Because it was free and available online, Buddha Smile by Roberto Vicente, was one of the earliest dharma books I read when I first began investigating Buddhism.  I feel very fortunate that I read his book during my initial discovery period, because the author conveys such a wonderful, joyous sense of the Buddha’s teaching and […]

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Letting Go and Picking Up in Buddhism (with music of Chris Smither)

The following excerpt if from Living Meditation, Living Insight: The Path of Mindfulness in Daily Life by Dr. Thynn Thynn. Dr. Thynn Thynn is a Burmese born retired physician and Dhamma teacher. She is mother of two and is the resident yogi at the Sae Taw Win II Dhamma Center in Northern California. She is […]

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Working with The Six Properties in Meditation-Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Space, and Consciousness

For the past few months I’ve really been focusing on “body work” in my dharma practice.  I’ve been working with full-body awareness and vipassana, as well as using deep loving-kindness meditation to embrace mental and physical pains.  This essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu has been especially helpful in getting in touch with the actual feelings of my […]

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The Importance of Alertness and Attention in Developing Concentration

As I have grown in my meditation practice, I have been able to develop deeper and deeper levels of concentration and corresponding insight. And yet, when I’ve read about some of the various deeper levels of jhana (deep concentration, or samatha) I’ve sometimes wondered about my progress and whether I’m going “deep” enough. This great […]

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Ajahn Chah on the relationship of Concentration and Wisdom in Meditation

Ajahn Chah A Taste of Freedom “On Meditation” “When the mind is peaceful and established firmly in mindfulness and self-awareness, there will be no doubt concerning the various phenomena which we encounter. The mind will truly be beyond the hindrances. We will clearly know as it is everything which arises in the mind. We do […]

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Why Buddhist Practice is Deeply Rooted in Mindfulness of the Body

One of the very first teachers I discovered in my dharma practice was Gil Fronsdal. I was always touched by Gil’s gentle, loving approach to the practice, and his wisdom in guiding students to more and more skillful means. Gil has practiced Zen and Vipassana since 1975 and has a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from […]

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Krishnamurti on How to Meditate

While Krishnamurti was not a Buddhist, nor of any other religion, his lectures are, to me, always pure “dharma”—insight into the way things work, into the way the mind works.  These excerpts from various talks of his have been very helpful to me in going deeper into  my meditation practice.  I share them here for […]

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Everyone is Just Trying to Get Born Before They Die

In the past year I have my life has been greatly blessed by getting to know the inspired, skillful teachings of Stephen Levine. I highly recommend his A Gradual Awakening, Healing into Life and Death, and Who Dies?—An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying, the latter two being extremely helpful and skillful treatments of […]

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Am I Pleasing Others to Make Myself Feel Loved and Good?

The path of awakening, of liberation, always includes self-observation and self-inquiry. Without them, we tend to repeat the same unskillful ways of thinking and acting over and over again. That’s what is called samsara in Buddhism. In this essay I’m sharing my thoughts and observations on something I’ve struggled with much of my life: a […]

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The Dhamma Brothers-A Film to Inspire Your Meditation Practice

Last night my wife and I watched on of the most moving documentaries we have seen in a long time. It’s called The Dhamma Brothers, and I can’t recommend it enough. Brief Synopsis (from website) An overcrowded, violent maximum-security prison, the end of the line in Alabama’s prison system, is dramatically changed by the influence […]

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Meditation is About Our Whole Life, not Just the Inner Workings of the Mind

In this essay, I want to look into how we can broaden and deepen our understanding of meditation, so that it encompasses more of our life and isn’t just something we do “on the cushion.”  I’ve found the meditation instruction of J. Krishnamurti especially helpful in gaining this broader view, and so I share some […]

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