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Dwelling in the Mettā-Verse

By | 1/19/2024
While it is likely that humankind will continue to pursue alternative or altered forms of reality through virtual or imposed means as a form of escape from their mundane existence and providers of such services will feed off of the dissatisfaction we experience in a real world, a different universe of positive energy is available to use if we can tune our inner antennas to the forces of Mettā.

Clarification of Mindfulness in the Context of Vipassana Meditation

By | 12/12/2023
For a person who chooses to practice Vipassana meditation in the tradition of S. N. Goenka and teachers of his lineage, mindfulness is a central component of an integrated, well-rounded practice. Mindfulness is not utilized as an isolated entity, but as a guiding feature of a full meditation that leads to wisdom and growth on the path to liberation.

Mountain Palace

By | 11/19/2023

Amor Saṅkhāras

By | 11/19/2023
I’m grateful for my saṅkhāras, especially the profound ones that occasionally disrupt my equanimity. These mental formations motivate me to sustain my meditation practice, helping me manage and ultimately dissolve my suffering.

Residing at Nan Oo Taik Monastery

By | 10/24/2023
[8] Back after an overnight break at Shwebo, the pagoda spire shines clearly from a kilometre away, a citadel. A burgeoning of the heart:

Transmitting the Dhamma in Word and in Deed: An Interview with Bhikkhu Bodhi

By | 9/17/2023
Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi is one of the most prolific translators and interpreters of the Pāli Canon. The American Buddhist monk’s translations include the Majjhima Nikāya (with Bhikkhu Ñaṇamoli), the Saṃyutta Nikāya, the Aṅguttara Nikāya, and the Suttanipāta. His influential anthologies such as In the Words of the Buddha and The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony, as well as his collections of essays such as Investigating the Dhamma and Dhamma Reflections have guided seekers and scholars alike in their explorations of the Buddha’s teachings.

Four Noble Truths

By | 9/9/2023

The Non-Linearity of Life

By | 9/9/2023
Wouldn’t things be so much simpler if life progressed in a straight line and predictable manner? As everyone can attest, nothing could be further from that expectation. And yet despite these lived experiences, we continue hoping, praying, and wishing that things turn out the way we want them to (and when we want them to) manifest in a certain expected manner. How much fret and struggle when that turns out, often enough, to not be the case.

A Stupa Over India: The Renaissance of the Dhamma

By | 8/12/2023
A Stupa Over India: The Renaissance of the Dhamma

Fig.1 Rashtrapati Bhavan

Some 900 years ago, the Dhamma, the teachings of the Buddha, faced a profound challenge after being uprooted from India. But history has a penchant for surprises, and so it was that the Dhamma would rise again in the land of its origin.


Spoiler Alert: Serving a Vipassana Course Can Be Fun

By | 8/6/2023
Nobody told me that serving a Vipassana course could be fun. Or maybe they did, and I didn’t listen. I had faith that it would be fulfilling and deepen my practice but didn’t realize that I could have a good time along the way. So, if you don’t know, or someone told you and you didn’t listen, I’m here to tell you something. Serving a Vipassana course can be fun!

Discovering Dhamma: Helping My Son take Small Steps on His Own Path

By | 7/6/2023

Introducing children to the teachings of the Buddha and the practice of meditation is a topic that has increasingly occupied my thoughts, particularly as I consider my eight-year-old son.

Reflecting upon my own actions and their impact on him, I realize that being a positive role model is of utmost importance. Observing how he sees me as a person and perceives me during times of conflict, understanding the role that I play within our family, witnessing his reactions when I interact with strangers, discussing life's situations with him, all are crucial factors in shaping his understanding of the world.

Transmission of Gratitude

By | 6/20/2023
Transmission of Gratitude
Andrée François

True Heritage

By | 6/20/2023

Like an old friend,
a friend you may have forgotten momentarily,
but whom you remember with joy,
whom you greet with an expressive hug,
like this is one’s own purification
when a word of Dhamma is heard,
when a Blessed One’s image is seen.

The Importance of Friendship, Harmony, and Right Speech, Part 2 of 2

By | 6/20/2023
Many years ago, in the 1980s, when Goenkaji was first appointing Assistant Teachers, he was asked about the qualities needed for this position. His answer surprised me. He could have said, “The person must have deep meditation, must have a good understanding of Dhamma…”– all those kinds of things. But he didn’t. He said the single most important thing was for an AT to not develop or nurture a group of students around him who would admire him, support him whatever he does, and follow him everywhere. In other words, no groupism. If an AT is trying to do that, they are not practicing Dhamma.

Dhamma Willing

By | 6/8/2023
Dhamma willing as a notion is naturally a play on the more well-known and frequently used phrases like “God willing” or “Inshallah.” These and countless other similar legislates imply that instead of tossing and turning in times of great difficulty or dilemma, it’s optimal to surrender to some higher power that we trust or respect as a general maximum to living a stress-free life.

Meditation Atmosphere

By | 6/8/2023
Meditation Atmosphere
David Aron

I Know a Place

By | 6/8/2023
I know a place
Where the land is pure
And eagle soar,
Where the mountains surround you
And the silence astounds you,
Its like no place you’ve ever been before.

An Individual Uses Words for Expression. A Civilization Expresses Itself in Architecture.

By | 5/4/2023
The crowning architecture of the pagodas found at various centers in our tradition is the Burmese stūpa with its unique rising, tapering shape. These stūpas provide a vivid reminder to meditators of the debt of gratitude we owe to Burma for preserving the technique of Vipassana over the millennia. With a deepening sense of appreciation, the right kind of devotion is fostered and the practice enhanced.

My Garden in Spring

By | 5/4/2023

My garden in spring is a wonderful place to meditate

and brood

and meditate

and wonder

 

I trudge by beds of visiting dandelion, clover, and deer tracks.

Soaked by intermittent rain;

Bodhi Touch

By | 4/29/2023

The Importance of Friendship, Harmony and Right Speech, Part 1 of 2

By | 4/29/2023
There is a famous anecdote by the Buddha about friendship. One day he was sitting quietly with Ānanda, his personal secretary, and with great enthusiasm, Ānanda said to him, “Lord, this is half of the holy Path! Dhamma friendship, Dhamma comrades, and Dhamma companions.” The Buddha corrected him by saying, “No Ānanda, don’t say that. Don’t say that. Good friendship, good companions, and good comrades are the whole of the holy path. Because if someone has good friends, good companions, and good comrades, then it can be fully expected that they will develop and come to fruition on the Eightfold Noble path.” The word the Buddha used was kalyāṇa – meaning good, beautiful, morally wholesome – that kind of a friend. Goenkaji himself sometimes used to describe his own role as a kalyāṇa-mitta, a good friend to us. Friendship leads to harmony, which leads to unity.

Uncovering Realities: An Interview with Yuval Noah Harari

By | 4/23/2023

Preparing to interview Yuval Noah Harari is no small task. The historian-philosopher-meditator is the author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, which have been translated into more than 65 languages and have sold more than 35 million copies. Yuval earned a PhD in history from Oxford University and lectures at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in the history of human evolution, global political history, and artificial intelligence. He is one of the most influential public intellectuals in the world. His ability to weave together grand narratives that cover every facet of human life has been a major source of inspiration to me for the last five years, so having the opportunity to speak with this charismatic and compassionate person was a real honour.

In this interview, I asked Yuval, over Zoom, about his spiritual journey and the role meditation played in his life as a public intellectual. We also discussed how meditation and self-reflection might help cut through the illusion of free will, better understand our personal biases, navigate through post-truth society, and shed light on our unwitting complicity in institutional oppression. Our conversation also explored the territories of artificial intelligence, big-data algorithms, and the function of storytelling, all from a contemplative perspective.

Such As It Is

By | 3/19/2023

No more yearning equanimity
such as it is

Thinking is a
sense, a reaction?
While it seems
like a journey
it seems like progress
it seems like
a developing self

The First Year: Reflections of a Getting-Older-Every-Day Student

By | 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 is over.

Yatra Monks

By | 2/12/2023
Yatra Monks
Andrée François
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