The threefold training (week 1)

The three trainings  The teachings of the Buddha are remarkable in many ways. One perspective I like to contemplate is to simply see that the Buddha was a human being like you and I, who lived during an epoch-forming time, not unlike the one we live in now, and who was faced with many of … Read more

readings on the five precepts

The Five Precepts–readings from prominent contemporary Buddhist teachers (thanks to Gil Fronsdal and the folks at The Insight Meditation Center of the Mid-Peninsula for many of these excerpts).   First Precept: Abstaining from the Taking of Life commentary by Matthew Flickstein, from Swallowing the River Ganges Avoid killing and act with reverence toward all forms … Read more

Anapanasati–the path to the deathless (week four)

Although this is the last week we will formally devote to learning the basics of the classic Buddhist meditation practice of anapanasati, as you may already appreciate, learning and practicing meditation is open-ended. Over the next months and years we will be honing and refining the practice. The seeds of the subtle points will blossom into … Read more

refining the breath (anapanasati, week 3)

In the first two groups of skills we learned methods of relating to the breath by following and by consciously regulating the breath. One purpose of these exercises is to engage our attention by giving our-self something to do with the breath. By following and by counting/ regulating we bring into play more complex challenges, and involve … Read more

beginning anapanasati (week 1)

Before describing the structured approach to anapanasati which I learned in Thailand and Sri Lanka, please take some time and read or review chapter 14 of the indispensable book Mindfulness in Plain English by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana (pages 149 to 156) entitled Mindfulness versus concentration. This chapter is an excellent overview of vipassana meditation and … Read more

Awakening mindfulness in your daily life

Excerpted from: Beginning mindfulness: Learning the way of awareness, by Andrew Weiss. Here are some possible ways to reinforce mindfulness in your daily life. During your first week of practice, please pick one or two and give them your wholehearted attention. You can use conscious breathing – awareness of breath – as a foundation to encourage … Read more