Calm Abiding (shamatha)

The meditation practice of stabilizing the mind and strengthening its concentrative powers
  • Tricycle Community 6 comments

    Within You Without You Paid Member

    I have been drawn to the practice of shamatha from the time I was first introduced to it, in Dharamsala, India, in the early 1970s. I was immediately intrigued by the possibility of using the methods of shamatha (the word literally means “quiescence”) to explore the nature of the mind firsthand. Such practices lead to advanced stages of samadhi, or meditative concentration, where one is able to focus unwavering attention on a single object. This object may be as small as a single point or as vast as space, so it does not necessarily entail a narrowing of focus, only a coherence of focused attention. This is what Tibetan Buddhists refer to when speaking of “achieving shamatha” and “settling the mind in its natural state.” More »
  • Tricycle Community 16 comments

    Do Nothing Paid Member

    I’m going to talk a little about shamatha meditation, and I thought it would be good to try and actually do the meditation as we go along. The actual technique is very simple. All the great meditators of the past advised us to sit up straight when we meditate. When we sit up straight, there is a sense of alertness, a sense of importance—it produces the right atmosphere. In this particular instruction, I’m going to suggest we don’t use an external object, such as a flower, but instead follow the standard Theravada tradition of using our breath as the object. So we concentrate on our breathing: we simply follow our breath in and out. That’s it. Our mind is focused on the breathing, our posture is straight, our eyes are open. More »
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    Don't Get Mad, Don't Get Even Paid Member

    This article is featured in Tricycle Teachings: Anger. Sustaining and supporting members can download the e-book for free here. “To bear disgrace and insult” is the most important virtue a person can possibly cultivate, because the ability to forbear is enormously powerful, since a moment of anger can destroy an entire lifetime of merits. More »
  • Tricycle Community 9 comments

    Fruitless Labor Paid Member

  • Tricycle Community 9 comments

    Looking Inward, Seeing Outward Paid Member

    Sometimes modern people misunderstand Buddhism’s focus on the individual human journey as well as its injunction to people to find out who they are and to seek their own ultimate fulfillment. With our Western suspicions of meditation, of looking within— and, frankly, our fear of being alone—not infrequently, we tend to reject the inward looking of Buddhism as somehow disconnected from the social context and disloyal to it. More »
  • Tricycle Community 7 comments

    Leaving the Lotus Position Paid Member

    I sit in a chair. Yes, of course, but I mean I sit zazen in a chair. This is a recent development, arising no doubt from a karmic web of causes and conditions, but the primary one is osteoarthritis in my knees.Everybody knows that a Zen student truly dedicated to the Way sits cross-legged on the floor. Buddha was sitting cross-legged when he was enlightened under the pipal tree 2,600 years ago, and there are millions of Buddha statues to prove it— sitting cross-legged on altars and bookshelves all over the world. Several of them are in my house. More »