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A. H. Almaas on Emptiness or Sunyata

I thought it would be helpful to follow a previous post, “The Skill in Looking at Emptiness as a Mode of Perception Rather Than a Worldview,” which presented an outstanding essay by Theravadan teacher Thanissaro Bhikkhu, with this essay by author and spiritual teacher A. H. Almaas. A. H. Almaas is the pen name of […]

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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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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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Whose Silence Are You? Thomas Merton Poem and Music

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk who was well-known as a social activist, writer, and poet.  An deep student of comparative religion, Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith dialog.  He became close friends with prominent Eastern spiritual teachers, such as the Dalai Lama, D.T. Suzuki, and my own heart teacher, Vietnamese Zen Master Thich […]

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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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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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Ways to work with fear rather than avoiding it

One of the great dharma resources in the Boston area is the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center: The CIMC Guiding Teachers and Teachers are (left to right) Larry Rosenberg, Narayan Liebenson Grady, and Michael Liebenson Grady: Below are some excerpts from a summary of a 1997 talk by Michael Liebenson Grady on how to deal skillfully […]

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Coming to grips with the causes of suffering-the heart’s real work

Ayya Khema is a wonderful Theravadan teacher who brought a remarkable love and light to her service as a nun in the Theravadan tradition.  I highly recommend her book Who is My Self: A Guide to Buddhist Meditation.  The following is an excerpt from a set of twelve dhamma talks entitled “All of Us: Beset by […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh-Can We Understand the Suffering of our Enemy?

Few people in the world have worked as tirelessly for the cause of peace, individual and collective, as Thich Nhat Hanh. His effort to bring peace—to be peace—began during his days as a young Buddhist monk during the Vietnam War and led Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in […]

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The Dhammapada – Audio Dharma by Gil Fronsdal

The Dhammapada is a great treasure of the Buddhadharma and beloved by Buddhists of all traditions as well as many non-Buddhists. There are many wonderful translations of the Dhammapada from its original Pali, but one of my favorites is the fairly recent translation by Gil Fronsdal: The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic […]

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A Buddhist Mantra based on the Prayer of St. Francis

Here is a mantra I often work with during the day. It’s an adaptation I made of the much-loved Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. (St. Francis is my favorite Christian saint, among other things, because of his love of animals, and especially birds!  See: The Compassion of the Swans) In Buddhism, working with a […]

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Prayer and Metta for all beings affected by the BP Gulf oil disaster

Like millions of others in the United States, and around the world, I’ve been keeping a close watch on the tragic situation with the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. I don’t live in the Gulf area, but I’ve tried to help by various forms of advocacy and by getting good, solid scientific and technical information […]

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The Thorn in Your Heart

The Thorn in Your Heart Selections from the Attadanda Sutta of the Sutta Nipata (935-939) (948-951) [Translation and comments by Andrew Olendzki] Fear is born from arming oneself. Just see how many people fight! I’ll tell you about the dreadful fear that caused me to shake all over: Seeing creatures flopping around, Like fish in […]

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Dissatisfaction with Life-the Start of Discovery

The Buddha is often quoted as saying he taught one thing: “I teach suffering and the end of suffering.” Sounds kind of limiting and simplistic, no? Where’s the joy and liberation in that? Since the First Noble Truth is the truth of suffering, and since this insight is so often misunderstood by non-Buddhists, and even […]

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