Calm Abiding (shamatha)

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

    Evaluate Your Meditation Paid Member

    After a person has been meditating for some time, it’s important that he or she evaluate how the practice is developing. Is it working? Does it need adjustment? Is it the right practice to be doing? Can it be improved? Some of this evaluation can be done on one’s own, some with a teacher or with friends.Taking a step back to assess our meditation shouldn’t be seen as a difficult task. We are evaluators by nature. We evaluate all the time, even if subconsciously. We decide what clothes to wear after considering a number of factors, not least of all the weather. An activity as simple as going for a walk requires a variety of considerations: How far will I walk? Does the walk require preparation? Do I need to pace myself if it is a long walk? What is the best route? Which are the best shoes? More »
  • Tricycle Community 2 comments

    Busy Signal Paid Member

    When the Buddha says, “I know of no single thing more conducive to great harm than an unrestrained mind,” I think he is referring, in part, to the current penchant for multitasking. When the mind tries to do several things at once, it does not do any of them very well. This is an empirical fact proven by numerous experiments, and it is easy to test out for yourself: try texting a message while catching the latest baseball scores on the radio and discussing some recent relationship difficulty with your partner. More »
  • 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 »
  • Tricycle Community 12 comments

    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