The Practice of Recollection

Thai style Buddha statue.

The Buddha called recollection "the only way." Quite simply, recollection is remembering to establish the attention with full awareness on the present, on the here and now, so that you may reunite with reality and find your own true being. The best way to start is to see where one starts from. Let us take a look at the mind of an ordinary worldly person. What we find is a [...]

Letting Go of What It All Means

Josh Korda. Photo by Gianna Leo Falcon.

Searching for hidden messages and significance in life's encounters provides us with an illusion of control that we need to release if we want to fully feel our experiences. The mind has a tendency to search for a meaning, an underlying message, in every murky or complex experience. It can feel like we've only processed and come to closure with a traumatic experience when [...]

Cultivate Tranquility, Harvest Insight

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In America, Theravada Buddhist meditation is often flatly identified with the practice of vipassana, even to the extent that those who practice within this tradition speak of themselves as vipassana meditators. However, the Pali suttas, the ancient records of the Buddha’s discourses, do not treat vipassana as an autonomous system of meditation but as a member of two paired [...]

Boredom Is Fascinating!

Woman sitting surrounded by pictures.

When we’re bored, we’re uncomfortable with our basic state of being. That’s kind of scary, says Josh Korda, who dares us to look directly into our boredom. Photos by Adrien Leguay. Boredom is a familiar state of mind, but we’re very uncomfortable with it. We associate it with restlessness and emptiness. Culturally, boredom is shunned. It’s blamed for things like addiction [...]

“Meditation Malice” — on working with distractions and resentment

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Josh Korda on what his irritating meditation partner taught him about being with aversion and overcoming anger. Join Josh Korda, Karen Maezen Miller, and Anyen Rinpoche at “Finding Freedom from Painful Emotions,” this year’s Lion’s Roar retreat at the Garrison Institute, July 29-31. Click here for info and to register. A little over a decade ago I spent my first retreat with [...]

What Is Karma and How Does It Work?

Lotus.

The Buddha taught that because of karma, beings are bound to the ever-turning wheel of rebirth. Only when a person stops believing in the existence of a permanent and real self can he or she become free from karma. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Jan Chozen Bays, and Jeffrey Hopkins discuss what that means. Westerners often have trouble with this doctrine, for although they can easily believe [...]

On Suffering and the End of Suffering

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A friend of mine once had to explain to her four-year-old son that the woman who had been providing child care for him since he was born was going to move away. Because her child was very attached to this person, my friend carefully told him about this step-by-step, making sure to say that the caregiver loved him, that they could write and talk on the phone and visit, but that [...]

Develop A Mind Like Sky

Clouds and sky.

Meditation teacher Jack Kornfield explains the why and how of developing wise attention, or open awareness. Meditation comes alive through a growing capacity to release our habitual entanglement in the stories and plans, conflicts and worries that make up the small sense of self, and to rest in awareness. In meditation we do this simply by acknowledging the moment-to-moment [...]

Taking Refuge in the Triple Gem

A person walking alone on a path.

A personal meditation practice is the foundation of Buddhism, but do we need more? Essentially we make the journey alone, but many people find that committing themselves to the three jewels—Buddha, dharma, and sangha—helps take them further. These three make up the lineage, philosophy, and community of Buddhism, and their purpose is to deepen and expand our practice. When we [...]

Generosity’s Perfection

Generosity Insight Meditation Shambhala Sun Lion's Roar Buddhism Sharon Salzberg

Giving up, giving in, just plain giving—Sharon Salzberg says that’s the truly transformative experience. Generosity opens our heart, frees us from attachment and is the basis of all good qualities. It’s the foundation of the Buddhist path. The cultivation of generosity is the beginning of spiritual awakening. Generosity has tremendous force because it arises from an inner [...]