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Meditation as Medicine-Learning to Be Your Own Breath Doctor

Meditation as Medicine Thanissaro Bhikkhu You all know the old image of the Buddha as a doctor and the Dhamma as medicine. When you come to practice the Dhamma, it’s as if you’re learning to be your own doctor, looking after the illnesses of your own mind. Everyone comes up here wounded in one way […]

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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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Sacred Scriptures and Gurus Are Not the Final Authority

Anyone who grew up in a fundamentalist or doctrinaire religious environment can tell you how hard it is to to think for oneself and choose one’s own spiritual path. In a child’s mind, the authority of one’s parents becomes totally merged with the authority of her religious teachings and teachers. Because a child is totally […]

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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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Did you know that the Buddha almost didn’t teach the Dharma?

According to the Pali canon, not long after the Buddha attained enlightenment, he mused to himself: “This Dhamma that I have realized is profound, hard to see and hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere reasoning, subtle, to be experienced only by the wise.” The Buddha then apparently seriously questioned whether he could […]

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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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Some thoughts on talent, success, failure and compassion for ourselves

The ego has many traps, but one of the worst is self-identification with one’s talent. If one self-identifies with one’s artistic or creative talent, this inevitably leads to suffering as the ego’s unquenchable needs and desires can never be satisfied by that talent. Indeed, the world is filled with “hungry ghosts” whose attachment to their […]

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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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Choose life! Choose love! Choose to live!

“Most people can look back over the years and identify a time and place at which their lives changed significantly. Whether by accident or design, these are the moments when, because of a readiness within us and a collaboration with events occurring around us, we are forced to seriously reappraise ourselves and the conditions under […]

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