Vipassana

The path and practice of insight through mindfulness meditation
  • Meditation Month, Day 15: On and Off the Cushion Paid Member

  • Meditation Month, Day 13: Get thee to the cushion Paid Member

    I've heard plenty of discussions about how difficult it can be to establish a regular meditation practice. There are whole lists of tips about how to go about this. But the best advice I've ever heard is short and sweet and comes from the Buddha himself: Here are the roots of trees. Here are empty places.Get down and meditate. Don't be lazy.Don't become one who is later remorseful.That is my instruction to you. This comes from Bhikkhunupassaya Sutta, in which the Buddha explains what "directed" and "undirected" meditation are. (If you want to know more about these two forms of meditation, you can read Andrew Olendzki's translation of the sutta here.) More »
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    Mindfulness and Difficult Emotions Paid Member

    I’ve heard some wonderful explanations of mindfulness. The writer and teacher Sylvia Boorstein calls it “awake attention to what is happening inside and outside so we can respond from a place of wisdom.” The Vietnamese Zen teacher and poet Thich Nhat Hanh says, “I like to define mindfulness as the energy that helps us to be there 100 percent. It is the energy of your true presence.” But my favorite definition comes from a fifth grader at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School in Oakland, California.  More »
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    The Power of Forgiveness Paid Member

    Forgiveness is not simple. When we have been harmed, hurt, betrayed, abandoned, or abused, forgiveness can often seem to be out of the question. And yet, unless we find some way to forgive, we will hold that hatred and fear in our hearts forever. Imagine what the world would be like without forgiveness. Imagine what it would be like if every one of us carried every single hurt, every single resentment, all the anger that came up, when we felt betrayed. If we just kept that in our hearts and never let it go, it would be unbearable. Without forgiveness, we’re forced to carry the sufferings of the past. As Jack Kornfield says, “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.” In that sense, forgiveness is really not about someone’s harmful behavior; it’s about our own relationship with our past. More »
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    Finding True Refuge Paid Member

    Imagine you just found out that your child was suspended from school. Imagine your boss just told you to “start over” on a report you’ve worked on for a month. Imagine you just realized you’ve been on Facebook for three hours and have finished off a box of cookies in the process. Imagine your partner just confessed to an affair. It’s hard to hang out with the truth of what we’re feeling. We may sincerely intend to pause and be mindful whenever a crisis arises or whenever we feel stuck and confused, but our conditioning to react, escape, or become possessed by emotion is very strong. More »
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    The Power of Gone Paid Member

    Shinzen Young is currently leading our September retreat "What is Mindfulness?" Join the retreat here. And until you know of this:How to grow through death You’re just another troubled guest, On the gloomy earth.  —Goethe, Holy Longing My students sometimes ask me, “Is there a quickest path to enlightenment?” My standard answer is “Perhaps, but I don’t think it’s currently known by humanity. In our current stage of spiritual science, different approaches seem to work for different people. That’s why I like to give you folks a wide range of contrasting techniques to choose from.”  More »