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Meditation & Buddhism

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts. If a man speak or act with an evil thought, suffering follows him as the wheel follows the hoof of the beast that draws the wagon.... If a man speak or act with a good thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.

- Guatama Buddha, The Dhammapada

Mindfulness

 

As a meditation instructor, the contemplation of emptiness written about in the Heart Sutra, and the meditative experience of the jhānas, are central to my practice.  I have had training and practice in:

  • Mindfulness meditation (Samatha-vipassana): for developing moment-to-moment awareness, useful for choosing new directions in life. As the Buddha taught in the Anapanasati Sutta, from awareness of the breathing body grows awareness of feelings and emotions. From awareness of feelings, grows awareness of the thinking mind. From awareness of the thinking mind grows wisdom, liberation from suffering, and joyful peace.

  • Shinrin-Yoku: the healing Japanese-inspired practice of forest bathing. A slow walk through the woods, breathing in the forest's aromatic medicinal exhalations, bringing a deep connection to the earth and many health benefits. A walking meditation.

  • The Four Immeasurables meditations (Brahmaviharas): for increasing positive emotion, happiness, kindness, compassion, joy, forgiveness, equanimity, and deep peace. This set of meditations is said to give the practitioner the blessings of being beloved of fellow humans and animals, protection from harm inflicted by others, beauty, pleasant dreams, and a peaceful mind.

  • Tonglen meditation: as taught by Pema Chödrön, this meditation is about exchanging self and other.  The practice uses compassion and unconditional loving-kindness to allow pain, suffering, and stuckness to soften our hearts and open us to our potential for empathy and freedom. Tonglen helps make our unavoidable sufferings meaningful, and offers a vision for transforming the world.

  • Five Wisdom Buddha Mandala: from the teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche through Karuna Training, this wisdom teaching helps transform neurosis into wisdom, and moves the mind from dual to non-dual space awareness. The Five Wisdom Buddha Mandala teaches how to work with the energies in the moment, as something arises into the spaciousness of the mind.

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