By Jonathan Mirin | 3/19/2023
“Those who maintain their practice for the first year maintain it easily for their whole lives.”
~ S.N. Goenka
But what's so hard about the first year? Why does it take a strong act of willpower (adhiṭṭhāna) to meditate for two hours a day for a year, after which it becomes easy? The
majority of students leave their first ten-day course of Vipassana
meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka (in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba
Khin) feeling somewhere along a spectrum between inspiration and
transformation. These new “old students” feel energized by their ten-day
glimpse into a changed way of being in the world. They often see the
possibility of a happier life that is less reactive, and less at the
mercy of the twists and tugs of their mind, of their "inner monologue."
However, Goenkaji, as he was commonly known by his students, was
explicit that the first course is merely an introduction. He spent ten
days teaching you how to walk on this path, “but the actual benefit you
get will be from daily sittings, morning and evening," after the course
By Andrée François | 2/12/2023
By Manish Chopra | 2/12/2023
The most counter-intuitive and yet brilliantly simple gem emerged in
the form of the realization that what’s inside my mind is what manifests
in my life outside.
Thus, if my mind is filled with impurities,
defilements, worries, anxieties, enmities, fears, superstitions,
insecurities, foreboding, that is precisely how my external environment
organizes itself and provide me validation for these mentations through
my lived experiences. And on the contrary, if my mind is filled with
peace, harmony, joy, friendly vibes, equanimity, compassion, empathy, I
am gifted in turn with these conditions in the real world.
By Christine Joly | 2/12/2023
The heart is filled with joy and celebration, cradled in the
tranquility of equanimity. Nothing is too intense, nor even too happy.
The sweetness calms our hearts and lets respect, gratitude and beauty
blossom, a beauty straight from the heart of the Dhamma.
gate, each building, each stone reminds us that Dhamma has prevailed
here for many hundreds of years, and that hearts remember it.
This is the heart of Myanmar, the heart of Dhamma, the heart of the Buddha that beats in each of us.
By Samir Malhotra | 12/31/2022
but, still left of self
By Andrée François | 12/31/2022
By Paul R Fleischman | 12/31/2022
famous American Nineteenth Century writer, Henry David Thoreau, said:
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Thoreau described an
exemplary alternative, by filling his moments and days with a sense of
purpose. For several years he lived by himself in a small, hand-built
cabin in the woods on the shore of Walden Pond, where he contemplated
nature, read classic texts, and communed with local poets, writers, and
woodsmen, and in general tried to elevate his thoughts, expand his
feelings, and live the philosopher’s life.
By Sara Winick-Herrington | 12/31/2022
No Fear of Missing Out,
be aware of what’s happening within,
a constant flow of changing cells,
and morphing of the skin.
By Bruce Stewart | 12/7/2022
The following is an edited transcript of a talk
given at the Annual Old Student Meeting at Dhamma Patapa, Georgia by
Center Teacher, Bruce Stewart on November 12, 2022.
morning all…it's a joy and pleasure to be sharing this precious space
with you. As we look around, we can see and feel that we are in “good
company.” Dhamma friends walking on a path together!My intent is
not to talk “at you,” and load you with information. Rather, I look at
it like a sharing among friends. And like any good conversation, my
motivation here is to stimulate thought and reflection.
By Paul R Fleischman | 11/23/2022
All people feel fear.
Even the Buddha, before his enlightenment, had to struggle.
By Christine Joly | 11/23/2022
By Manish Chopra | 11/23/2022
Through years and years of near incessant effort in progressing my
life journey on the basis of academic and professional achievement, I
had come to the simple-minded conclusion that my ability and focused
effort were the sole determinants enabling my life’s outcomes. Applying a
Newtonian approach to the life journey, I believed that the force and
energy I apply directly and proportionally propel me forward and thus
the greater my effort, so shall the output be.
By Luz Donis | 11/23/2022
All arises and passes away
nothing stays the same way,
with this you don’t play
there’s no way to stay.
By Jeppe Strandskov | 11/23/2022
I have once again returned home after serving on a 10-day Vipassana
meditation course. I arrived at the course a few days after it had
begun. On this course I was washing dishes. Doing the dishes for 80
students whom you don’t know, without being paid, probably doesn’t sound
very appealing. The task also included waking up at 5:30 am to make
their breakfast, working closely with other servers whom I likewise
didn’t know, cleaning toilets, and a list of other chores that most
people wouldn’t ordinarily find very motivating.
By David Cohen | 11/7/2022
reading about the extensive damage from hurricane Ian on the southwest
coast of Florida, I admire the compassionate people selflessly helping
the residents recover. I also can’t help remembering an incident in 2020
when wisdom gained from Dhamma helped me while on vacation on the very pleasant
By Patrick Given-Wilson | 11/7/2022
By Manish Chopra | 11/6/2022
Let me add a fourth phase to the frequently cited – learning,
earning, returning – cycle amongst the entrepreneurial world and also
thus connect this analog to a concept popular in defining the optimal
lifespan in the traditional context of living a life that comes full
By Luz Donis | 11/6/2022
I breathe in I breath out It’s what I have left With all my effort purpose of my stay I surpass obstacles like that of self-importance Lastly I renounce All the pleasures of my existence They never managed to give me a step with
By Andrée François | 10/8/2022
By Manish Chopra | 10/8/2022
Whether one has the kernel of future development on the inner
spiritual path of not, let alone future liberation or self-realization, I
have become convinced that the journey towards the final goal simply
cannot begin until the “student is ready”. What do I mean by that
By Patrick Given-Wilson | 10/8/2022
Viriya, effort, is an essential quality for anyone who
sincerely seeks liberation. It is one of the Five Friends, one of the
seven Factors of Enlightenment, and one of the Ten Paramis
which have to be developed by every meditator. However, it must be right
effort, otherwise, we may work very hard but without any benefits.
By Andrée François | 9/17/2022
By Stuart Nicholls | 9/17/2022
With the fire eyes of samādhi,
I feel my body on every part.
With the warm glow of anicca,
I melt the darkness from my heart.
By Paul R Fleischman | 9/17/2022
Today there is a burgeoning
field of research called positive psychology, defining an optimal life.
The most popular course ever taught at Yale University was given by the
psychologist, Dr. Laurie Santos, “Psychology and the Good Life.” Half
the university signed up for this one course, which had to be given by
video transmission into numerous overflow halls. Its online edition has
had one hundred seventy thousand people from one hundred and seventy
countries enrolled. It is interesting for a Vipassana meditator to
notice how much of positive psychology was already available 2500 years
ago in the teaching of the Buddha. Let’s look at a few features of the
Buddha’s dispensation which have now been trumpeted as important
discoveries of positive psychology, and which might help us as we
meditate in troubled times.
By Andrée François | 9/3/2022