Exciting News!

Exciting News! For those of you in the Vancouver / Camas area we will be starting to meet again in-person this week at the Breathe Wellness Company. If you are comfortable meeting with us in-person at this time then please join us at 7pm on Sundays starting 20th June 2021. Plan on arriving ten minutes before to get settled. We will be following all current WA State guidelines and I ask that you are mindful and respectful of other people's comfort levels. I will be wearing a mask but will remove it once we are settled and distanced to lead the meditation. For now we will not be having after-meditation tea but hopefully soon. I will be updating our website with the latest details so check back here if you are unsure.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Meditation on The Four Foundations of Mindfulness [AUDIO]

Mindfulness as a concept has become very trendy, with self-help gurus proclaiming it as the next big thing in Management Training. Certainly mindfulness as a technique is highly valuable and can have many benefits. I do worry, however, that thinking that mindfulness is all about personal material gain is completely missing the point.

What mindfulness really does for us is open our eyes (and hearts) to the way the world really is, to see beyond the delusions of our ego and to see things as they actually are.

In this meditation we get a brief taster of what it means to practice the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. The Four Foundations were taught by the Buddha as a sure way to attain enlightenment. I would highly recommend before listening to the meditation reading the excerpt from the original teachings in our previous post.

 The full audio, including a 30 minute guided meditation is below.



If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Reading: The Four Foundations of Mindfulness (The Satipatthana Sutta)

Over the next few weeks we are going to look at The Four Foundations of Mindfulness. This evening we meditated on Mindfulness of the Body*.

In introducing it I read the following passages from The Satipatthana Sutta. The full sutta can be found here. I highly recommend reading through it all.

“Bhikkhus, this is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the surmounting of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and grief, for the attainment of the true way, for the realisation of Nibbāna—namely, the four foundations of mindfulness.  
“What are the four? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. He abides contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. He abides contemplating mind as mind, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. He abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world.
[...] 
“Again, bhikkhus, when walking, a bhikkhu understands: ‘I am walking’; when standing, he understands: ‘I am standing’; when sitting, [57] he understands: ‘I am sitting’; when lying down, he understands: ‘I am lying down’; or he understands accordingly however his body is disposed. 7. “In this way he abides contemplating the body as a body internally, externally, and both internally and externally … And he abides independent, not clinging to anything in the world. That too is how a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body.

Passages © Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2009)

(*) Unfortunately the audio for the meditation for that evening is not available.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Metta Letter: Happiness

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Generating Metta (Lovingkindness) for a Benefactor [AUDIO]

In this meditation we focus on generating lovingkindness (Metta) for a 'benefactor' - someone who we feel deep gratitude towards.

When we do the full Metta Bhavana (Cultivation of Lovingkindness) practice we usually just use four specific people to practice with:

  • Our self
  • A friend
  • A 'neutral' person
  • An 'enemy', or difficult person
We have covered these all in detail in previous posts. However, traditionally there was an extra person introduced. This person was the 'benefactor' - someone who you had a deep feeling of gratitude towards. When the meditation was originally taught it was within a monastic tradition, and the monks would have taken a brave step of depending on the kindness of others to live. Thus the importance of the benefactor.

For us we still have many people who we owe gratitude towards. Whether it be our parents who gave us life, our teachers along the path or even those who did things to us we disliked but we learned from. Whoever they are, we introduce them in this meditation and practice both gratitude and deep, unconditional love.


The full audio, including a 30 minute guided meditation is below.



If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Generating Lovingkindness for an Enemy [AUDIO]

In this meditation we focus on generating lovingkindness (Metta) for an 'Enemy' or difficult person.

As you may have seen from my previous post, I was unable to use the audio from our meditation session in the studio, so instead I chose to re-record the introduction based on my notes. So this isn't exactly what I said in class, but it is close!

The full audio, including a 30 minute guided meditation is below.



If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Yangsi: Movie Recommendation


I today watched the beautiful documentary "Yangsi", and would like to recommend it to all of you who are interested in other meditation cultures. It is a 'fly on the wall' movie about the life of Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche, a young boy who at the age of four was recognized as the rebirth of the great teacher Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. The film follows him from the age of four through to his first teaching at seventeen.

For me I found this at first fascinating, and then incredibly moving as you saw him blossom into his life as a teacher. The film is very honest about his humanity, and I came away with a profound feeling of devotion to the young master.

If (like me) you enjoyed the movie "Boyhood," which showed an ordinary boy in America growing up you won't fail to find interesting parallels in this movie about a very different boyhood.

Tibetan beliefs and rituals can seem very foreign to us in the West, and it is fascinating when the movie covers his first teaching tour of the US. The cultural difference is palpable, and yet at the same time you can see how we are all seeking the same happiness.

This is a short documentary of about 80 minutes, and I highly recommend it if you would like a glimpse into the inner workings of Tibetan practices.

You can read more about the movie here. The movie is available on Netflix or on DVD or streaming from Amazon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Audio Experiment So Far...



Unfortunately there won't be audio from last week's meditation, where we covered "Generating Metta for an Enemy." There were technical problems - long story short the microphone wasn't plugged in correctly. My apologies.

Anyway, this is a good opportunity to ask how you feel the experiment in recording the sessions has been. Do you have any suggestions or comments? Thanks to those of you who have already reached out, your encouragement has been much appreciated.

Feel free to comment below, or send a message to me directly. Thanks!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Generating Metta for the 'Neutral' Person [AUDIO]

In this meditation we look a little deeper at cultivating Metta for a neutral person. There is very little written or discussed about this step in the traditional Metta Bhavana (Cultivation of Lovingkindness) practice, and yet for me this is in many ways the critical step. If you can truly say that your deep feelings of love for a person would not change if you learned more about them, then that indicates that your love is unconditional.

The full audio, including a 30 minute guided meditation is below.



If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.