In this week’s exploration of mindful speech at the Tuesday night meditation group, we read the description of a “superior person” (Anguttara Nikaya IV:73). The superior person had four attributes regarding speech. A Superior Person…. 1. does not reveal the faults of others. But if pressed to answer, he criticizes others hesitantly, incompletely, and with omissions. [...]
We continued to explore mindful speech this week. Last night’s dhamma talk focused on the development of empathy, and an investigation of the extent to which self-interest affects our communications. I appreciate a discourse in the Samyutta Nikaya (S. 55:7) that describes the Buddhist equivalent of the Golden Rule — do unto others as you [...]
In our Mindful Speech series this week I asked students to reflect on the 4 aspects of speech that the Buddha listed in a discussion with Prince Abhaya (Middle Length Discourses 58). These four aspects are: 1) Is it true and correct? 2) Is it beneficial and useful? 3) Will it be welcome, pleasing and [...]
At some point in the development of the practice, everyone feels discouraged. For some people disappointment is an occasional hindrance; for other meditators discouragement is a chronic obstacle. There is a story in the Pali Canon of a young monk named Venerable Sona. He practiced walking meditation so diligently that the soles of his feet [...]
I was recently interviewed by Ted Meissner of the Secular Buddhist Association. I hope you will enjoy the podcast. The discussion revolves around my book, Focused and Fearless, and the use of concentration and jhana practice. It includes quite a bit of my personal background and thoughts about meditation practice.
Most of us have some habits or tendencies that we would like to let go of, yet an inner craving or subtle feeling of need fuels the habits causing them to repeat until they appear entrenched in our lives. The habits may be related to eating, smoking, relationships, speech styles, sarcastic humor, entertainments, newspaper reading, [...]
There is a mythical figure in the Buddhist teachings named Mara. He arrives on the scene in many disguises and disrupts a meditator’s concentration, interferes with the clarity of insight, or tries to seduce the practitioner into wrongful acts. We might see Mara as the personification of hindrances, unskillful impulses, self-doubt, self-destructive habits, and any [...]
A local newspaper, The Mountain View Voice, wrote an article about my work and Insight Meditation South Bay. Check it out at: http://www.mv-voice.com/story.php?story_id=8067 I don’t have much experience being interviewed (this may be the first time that I have been interviewed for a newspaper such as this), so the process has been an opportunity for [...]
Saturday we focused on cultivating a joyful and balanced mind—finding equanimity in the midst of our lives, coming back to balance whenever we 'lose it', cultivating balanced effort in the meditation, discovering the support of a dynamically balanced posture, and developing depth in the meditation by balancing our faculties (faith and wisdom, energy and concentration, [...]
Whatever you are doing today, you might enjoy it more if you relaxed. Be aware of your engagement in the activity. As you are going about your business, watch your mind. Are you viewing your own experience of normal daily life with the wisdom that recognizes things are constantly changing?
I spoke about these supports for developing concentration at the day-long last weekend. For those of you who asked for the written list, here it is. You can find more details on this list in the Visuddhimagga or in my book Wisdom Wide and Deep. "Eleven supports for developing concentration: (1) Cultivate cleanliness; (2) Avoid [...]
Some days you will want to sit in meditation; other days you may resist. How do you get yourself in the mood to meditate? How do you overcome the natural resistances that come with fluctuating levels of energy and interest? For most of us, concentration and insight develops more slowly than we would like, and [...]
I’ve been enjoying a simple practice recently—observing the occurrence or absence of clinging. How do you recognize when the mind is relating to experience through grasping? What are the signs or indications? Clinging to experiences of mind and body is such a habitual way of engaging with sensory contacts that attachment may go unnoticed until [...]
I was recently teaching a concentration and jhana retreat in France. After the retreat I visited some nearby caves that contained prehistoric paintings and engravings from Cro Magnon Era. Pondering what the lives, thoughts, and experiences of these people might have been like tens of thousands of years ago stretches my imagination and conventional references [...]
I am leading a concentration and jhana retreat in France now, and it is a delight to introduce these practices. One student shared that by learning to settle the mind upon the breath, he gained deeper insight into the meaning of restlessness. Restlessness is a descriptive term: a mind without rest. The mind that does [...]