Category: Advanced Meditation

Without a Teacher: Do I Need a Teacher to Be Buddhist?

  By John Pendall   Like most red-blooded Americans, I am quite stubborn when it comes to what I perceive as subjugation. This stubbornness has led me from Zen teacher to Zen teacher, usually dispersed with periods of lackluster practice and cognitive dissonance in between. But it is entirely possible to practice Buddhism without a formal teacher. Now before anyone reading this starts throwing stones at my ridiculously large head, I respect Dharma teachers. Dharma transmission and monasteries have kept Buddhism alive throughout the millennia. In some cases, formal teachers were heavily persecuted by the governments of the countries...

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We are More Than the Sum of Our Parts.

  By Tammy T. Stone   One morning recently, I got up early, at 5:00 a.m., to meditate. It was the first time in awhile I’ve successfully managed to greet the day in its dark infancy—an empowering feeling once the deep longing to return to sleep subsided. My mind raced the entire hour. I tried to be aware of my breath and found it was actually quite hard to locate. I forgot about mindfulness and self-acceptance and berated myself yet again for these tiny, almost imperceptible breath-bits, and then I swung the other way and reminded myself to observe...

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Being Present: A Monumental Shift in Perception.

By Heidi Bourne   “I want this…I don’t want that.”  How often this goes through our minds and drives our actions. We are masters of perpetually seeking what we like and rejecting what we don’t like. If we could pause long enough to see what’s right in front of us—really check it out, we may discover that things are mostly okay just as they are, and maybe even more than okay. Certainly there are circumstances and habits that don’t support our well-being and need to be changed, but we can’t make those changes unless we take the time to...

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The Buddha, Meditation and the Brain: Mind Changing, Brain Changing Mind {Part 2}.

By Rick Hanson See Part 1 here. Brain and body benefits of meditation The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is a brain region that is ground zero for a lot of very important functions. For one, it’s the part of the brain that manages what’s called “effortful attention,” which is basically paying attention in a deliberate way. That sounds like meditation. The ACC is the part of the brain we use for mindfulness in all four postures, not just seated, but walking, lying, and standing. It’s also the main source of the focused attention we use for talking, and doing...

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Hua Tou: Meditative Inquiry.

By Daniel Scharpenburg Of all the things my teacher transmitted to me, he emphasized Hua Tou Meditation as the most important. It was the favorite meditation style of Master Xu Yun, who was my teacher’s teacher’s teacher. It was a favored practice of a lot of Chinese Zen Masters, but Masters in other countries usually favored different practices. Anyone can teach simple breathing meditation, while it’s true that some people can make it more interesting than others, anyone can teach it. The Hua Tou is a deeper practice. Hua Tou is a term that hasn’t been translated into English...

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