Category: Advanced Meditation

What Type of Meditation Did Bodhidharma Practice?

  By Robert Epstein What is the actual practice that Bodhidharma brought to China? Somewhere around 500 AD, Bodhidharma was sent by his teacher—the female sage Prajnatara—to bring the practice of Buddhist Dhyana (Jhana/Ch’an/Zen) to China, thus starting the school of Ch’an Buddhism which became Zen in Japan. Prajnatara and Bodhidharma belonged to the Indian Sarvastivadin school of Mahayana Buddhism. Bodhidharma’s overall practice had two main aspects: study of the Lankavatara Sutra and Dhyana meditation. In both Yoga and past Buddhist traditions, Dhyana was about deep internal absorption on the breath and subtle mental factors such as joy and...

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Why I Meditate

  By Tyson Davis Friends ask me fairly often why I meditate. Sometimes it’s with a derisive tone. “How could you? What a waste of time!” But most of the time it is with general curiosity, if not necessarily with intention to do it themselves. Normally I provide a glib answer that ranges from, “Because I’m a boring person who likes to sit in a dark room alone,” to “Because I’m crazy,” and both of those answers have at least a grain of truth. But I haven’t really thought about why I still meditate in a long time. I...

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What I Have to Show So Far After 42 Years of Meditation

  By Gerald “Strib” Stribling   In April 1975 I was working as a security guard before starting graduate school at the University of Louisville. Toting a gun was no big deal for me, as I was a former serviceman. The fall of Saigon that month affected me deeply. The day the NVA rolled their tanks into the former capital of the Republic of South Vietnam, I was standing guard all by myself in a parking lot of a paint manufacturer, listening to the war news on my car radio. I didn’t cry. Instead, I took five of the...

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Old School Mindfulness {Part I}

  By Gerald “Strib” Stribling   I was told so many times as a child and young man to get my head out of my ass, that it became a kind of a mantra for me. “He’s a good student,” many a 1950’s-era elementary school report card read in the comments section, “but he daydreams.” Well, let me tell you something. Today’s daydreamers are tomorrow’s grumpy old men who never want to leave the house. Which brings us (well, me) to the topic of mindfulness, probably the most misunderstood and overused concept under the Buddho-dome. Mindfulness. The marketing people...

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Yes, Those Weird Experiences During Meditation are Normal (& They’re Called Nyams)

  By Daniel Scharpenburg The Tibetan Master Jamgon Kongtrul described various experiences that can come up during our meditation practice. These are temporary experiences that come up sometimes and we can see them as sort of a roadmap for our awakening. If we’re having experiences that are confusing to us, we can look at his list and see if they coincide. They are called nyams, which means flashes of experience. If we have a regular practice on the cushion and we’re mindful off the cushion, nyams can be experienced both in sitting and in daily life. We want to notice...

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