Meditation

  • Become Aware of Awareness Paid Member

    The goal of attention, or shamatha, practice is to become aware of awareness. Awareness is the basis, or what you might call the “support,” of the mind. It is steady and unchanging, like the pole to which the flag of ordinary consciousness is attached. When we recognize and become grounded in awareness, the “wind” of emotion may still blow. But instead of being carried away by the wind, we turn our attention inward, watching the shifts and changes with the intention of becoming familiar with that aspect of consciousness that recognizes Oh, this is what I’m feeling, this is what I’m thinking. As we do so, a bit of space opens up within us. More »
  • The path doesn’t save all its pleasure for the end. You can enjoy it now. Paid Member

    When explaining meditation, the Buddha often drew analogies with the skills of artists, carpenters, musicians, archers, and cooks. Finding the right level of effort, he said, is like a musician’s tuning of a lute. Reading the mind’s needs in the moment—to be gladdened, steadied, or inspired—is like a palace cook’s ability to read and please the tastes of a prince. Thai forest monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu teaches the joy of effort by explaining that "the path doesn’t save all its pleasure for the end. You can enjoy it now." Read the rest here. [Image: Explosions in the Sky, David Poppie, 2007, mixed-media collage, 24 x 24 in.] More »
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    Daily Dharma: Don't Eat Your Spinach Paid Member

    Now, if the practice is so good for us, why is it so difficult to maintain a steady practice? It may be that the notion that practice is "good for us" is the very impediment—we all know how we can resist what is good for us at the table, at the gym, and on the Internet. This mechanical notion of practice, "If I practice, then I will be (fill in the blank)," leads to discouragement because it is not true that practice inevitably leads to happiness or anything that we can imagine. Our lives, like the ocean, constantly change, and we will naturally face great storms and dreary lulls. How, then, to put our minds in a space where practice is always there, whether our lives are tumultuous or we are in the doldrums? It requires a completely radical view of practice. Practice is not something we do; it is something we are. We are not separate from our practice, and so no matter what, our practice is present. An ocean swimmer is loose and flows with the current and moves through the tide. More »
  • Give your meditation practice a tune-up Paid Member

    Nodding off when you meditate? Impatient? Asking yourself "Why am I doing this?" Maybe you just need a nudge. The meditation doctor usually prescribes "The Meditator's Toolbox: Tricycle's 21 Tips to Power Your Practice." Here's a sample: Be patient When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet. You simply water them and clear away the weeds; you know that the seeds will grow in time. Similarly, just do your daily practice and cultivate a kind heart. Abandon impatience and instead be content creating the causes for goodness; the results will come when they’re ready.” - Tibetan Buddhist nun and author Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron More »
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    Daily Dharma - What's the Biggest Obstacle to Meditation? Paid Member

    There are always obstacles to daily practice. Some are quite obvious: traveling, staying up really late, changing your schedule a lot. For the most part, I've found the difficult obstacles to be the ones that come from within, those mental tricks we all use—you know, it's early, it's cold, I can't sit. The biggest obstacle is just the mind. You think you've got to get up right away and make some phone calls, or have breakfast, or go do this other thing. Your mind always tries to play these tricks. Things suddenly seem really urgent. For me the solution has been to create a schedule, to find myself some disciplined time, to just get up every day at seven no matter what. I've made a habit to get up, brush my teeth, sit—in that order—before I do anything else. More »
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    Daily Dharma, August 27th, 2009 - Stop worrying about success Paid Member

    Some people think that one can become a buddha through meditation. This is wrong. The potential for Buddhahood is within your own nature. If it were true that Buddhahood depended on meditation, then if you stopped meditating after you became a buddha, you would become a common person again. The objective of practice is to be in accord with the natural way, so that your true nature can manifest itself. Just practice according to the methods taught by the Buddha and do not worry about being a success. –Master Sheng-Yen, from "Being Natural," Tricycle, Summer 1995 Read the complete article. Follow us on Twitter. Sign up for the Daily Dharma or Tricycle Community Newsletter More »