Learn the “BASICS” of Insight Meditation

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The term “insight meditation” comes from the Pali word Vipassana. It is the ability to see clearly and deeply into what is unfolding in our lives. Insight practice reveals what has created our present conditions and allows us to more fully live in the present moment. This is so valuable for our ability to make conscious choices to better our lives. It is why the Buddha said [...]

Sharon Salzberg on getting started with meditation

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Sharon Salzberg explains the ins and outs of a core technique—meditating on the breath. This classic meditation practice is designed to deepen concentration by teaching us to focus on the in-breath and out-breath. Sit comfortably on a cushion or a chair. Keep your back erect, but without straining or overarching. (If you can’t sit, lie on your back, on a yoga mat or folded [...]

Wise Heart: A profile of Jack Kornfield

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Jack Kornfield's brilliant synthesis of deep Buddhist practice and modern psychological insight has made him one of the most influential spiritual teachers of our time. Steve Silberman tells the fascinating story of Kornfield's voyage — both literal and philosophical — from West to East and back. Jack Kornfield is dancing. With a fluid arc of his left hand, he plucks a sheet [...]

Building Your Mental Muscles

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Meditators and musclemen don’t seem to have much in common, but Thanissaro Bhikku says meditators can learn a lot from the techniques of strength training. Meditation is the most useful skill you can master. It can bring the mind to the end of suffering, something no other skill can do. But it’s also the subtlest and most demanding skill there is. It requires all the mental [...]

The Only Choice is Kindness

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“Life is so difficult, how can we be anything but kind”—it was these words that inspired Sylvia Boorstein to follow the Buddhist path.  Steve Silberman talks with her about the challenges of life, from a rough childhood to a post-partum depression, that helped her become such a beloved teacher—and example—of Buddhist virtues. Sylvia Boorstein's writing room—a solarium at the [...]

Here, Now, Aware: The Power of Mindfulness

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It’s the essence of the contemplative path and the key to transforming our lives. In this teaching from his book, A Heart Full of Peace, Insight Meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein describes this simple yet profound expression of our mind’s natural awareness. Mindfulness is the key to the present moment. Without it we cannot see the world clearly, and we simply stay lost in [...]

Doing the Buddha’s Practice

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Mindfulness/awareness was the meditation the Buddha practiced and taught—it was his basic prescription for human suffering. Looking at life with an open and nonjudgmental attention, we see our confusion and develop insight. This is the basis of all Buddhist practice and the key to liberation. Jack Kornfield explains. My friends, it is through the establishment of the lovely [...]

Generosity’s Perfection

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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 [...]

Creating a Good Ground for Meditation

Buddha in meditation, Thailand, late 6th - early 7th CE. Image via www.metmuseum.org.

Meditation isn't a one-way street—you can’t just meditate and your life will get better. You have to change the way you live to improve your meditation. Thanissaro Bhikku outlines five principles of the ethical, restrained life conducive to meditation practice. Often we like to think that simply by adding meditation to our daily schedule, the effects of the meditation will [...]

How to Practice Vipassana Insight Meditation

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Step-by-Step Instructions on how to do this important practice ­— the foundation of all Buddhist Meditations — from the famed Vipassana master Sayadaw U Pandita. Vipassana, or insight meditation, is the practice of continued close attention to sensation, through which one ultimately sees the true nature of existence. It is believed to be the form of meditation practice taught [...]