Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

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Dec 16, 2014

The spiritual power of a smile

Mara's army attacks the BuddhaStudies have found that smiling makes people happier. Normally of course we think of things working the other way around: being happy puts a smile on our face. But the reverse is true as well. Feelings of happiness are triggered even when we don’t realize we’re smiling—for example when we’re clenching a pencil with the teeth, which causes the face to use the same muscles that are used when we smile. So the emotional impact of smiling is obviously not just the power of association, and it seems that it’s the activation of our “smiling muscles” that triggers the happiness response. But maybe it doesn’t matter why it …

Dec 14, 2014

The bells!

quasimodoHere’s a funny story for you.

One of the things we do to fund our activities at Wildmind is selling meditation supplies, which means that our office is also a mini-warehouse, stocked with incense, Buddha statues, meditation cushions — and mindfulness timers.

One day my work kept getting interrupted by a bell that would go off from time to time. The first couple of times it was no big deal. I thought that someone had perhaps jostled a wind chime, which will happen when stock’s being moved around. But as the sounds continued to happen, it became an annoying interruption.

The puzzling thing was that no one seemed to be doing anything that could …

Dec 13, 2014

Perspectives on Satipatthana

analayo_19mm_finalAn interview with Bhikkhu Anālayo, author of Satipaṭṭhāna: The Direct Path to Realization.Bhikkhu Anālayo’s latest book, Perspectives on Satipaṭṭhāna, uses a comparison of three different versions of the Satipatthana Sutta to reveal what the original core teachings are likely to have been.

Hannah Atkinson: Perspectives on Satipaṭṭhāna is a companion volume to your earlier publication, Satipaṭṭhāna: The Direct Path to Realization. How are the two books distinct and how do they work together?
Bhikkhu Anālayo: My first book, Satipaṭṭhāna: The Direct Path to Realization, came out of a PhD I did in Sri Lanka. It was the product of my academic study of the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, the practical experience I …

Dec 13, 2014

(#EthicalChristmas) What kind of society are you creating?

every_time_you_spend_your_moneyRecently I wanted to buy some herbal tea in bulk. I did my research on Amazon, found the brand I wanted, and then promptly headed over to the manufacturer’s website to make my purchase. This cost me a little more, but I was happy to pay the extra expense. Why, you may wonder?

Whether we consider it or not, every penny we spend has some effect on the direction our society takes. We can choose to spend our money at businesses that are exploitative and socially harmful, or at businesses that make a more positive contribution to our world. We collectively create the world we live in.

I’ve stopped shopping at Amazon. In some …

Dec 10, 2014

(#EthicalChristmas) The evolution of donation-supported online teaching

woman hands with flowers outdoorThere’s been a rapid evolution of how Wildmind runs online courses. For years we held online courses with anything from half a dozen to 20 participants. Then we decided to start 2013 with a more public 100 Day Meditation Challenge, followed by another 100 days exploring the four Brahmaviharas. For these events I wrote a daily (or almost daily) article on Wildmind’s blog, accompanied by guided meditations.

When Mark joined the team, we decided to develop that model yet further, in order to create a year-long schedule of meditation events for 2014. This became our first Year of Going Deeper. We offered a program of eight online …

Dec 08, 2014

Three tips for developing the habit of daily meditation

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-two-little-monks-running-outdoors-image30569393

Sometimes I find it hard to set up a good habit. Other times it’s easy. I’ve been wondering if I could look at a habit I’ve found easy to set up, and then apply those principles in other areas. Now I already meditate daily, but perhaps this is something you’ve found difficult and could use some pointers with, or maybe, like me, you’re already a regular meditator but have other areas you need to be working on (and let’s face it, who couldn’t). So I thought I’d share my observations and reflections.

One good habit I’ve been successful in setting up is going out running three times a week, with the aim of …

Dec 06, 2014

Finding the sacred balance

SACRED BALANCE

Fundraising Progress since Dec 6

The short story is that we need to raise $12,000 in donations before the end of the year in order to break even. There are more details below, but if you’ve benefitted from the work we do, or appreciate our efforts to make meditation teachings more widely available, please respond by contributing generously so that we can continue to provide our activities for everyone to enjoy. We really can’t afford to sustain a loss this year.

It would be wonderful if you could donate $1000, or $100, or even just $10 — whatever you can afford.

  • If you want to use a credit

Nov 28, 2014

Join us for our second Year of Going Deeper

yogd2015Join us for a series of thirteen meditation events throughout 2015. We’re calling this our Year of Going Deeper.

There is no fixed charge for these events; they’re all by donation.

  • Practice reminders delivered by email. (Three to seven per week).
  • Meditation guidance and links to guided meditations.
  • Optional meditation events: watch live on video, or catch the archive later.
  • Online community: share your experience, receive support and encouragement.

There is no fixed charge for these events. Participation is by donation.

Our Year of Going Deeper includes events for all levels of practice, whether you’re a beginner interested in learning basic techniques or a more experienced meditator interested in cultivating deep meditative states and insight.

Please share this news …

Nov 22, 2014

Buddhism, vegetarianism, and the ethics of intention

smile pigOne of the most attractive things about Buddhism is that it considers ethics to be based on the intentions behind our actions. This perspective is radical in its simplicity, clarity, and practicality.

When our actions are based on greed, hatred, or delusion, they’re said to be “unskillful” (akusala), which is the term Buddhism prefers over the more judgmental terms “bad” or “evil” — although those terms are used too, albeit mostly in the context of poetry. By contrast, when our intentions are based on mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom, they’re said to be skillful (kusala).

For many people accustomed to systems of morality based on commandments, rewards and punishments, the Buddhist ethical perspective …

Nov 18, 2014

The third arrow

Darts on targetThe first arrow: Think of a time someone said something hurtful to you, and let’s try to break down what happened. A comment was made, and you probably experienced actual physical pain, most likely in the solar plexus or heart. (When the hurt is particularly strong, we sometimes say it feels like we’ve been punched in the gut, don’t we?)

What went on was that some fast-acting part of your brain believed you were being criticized or marginalized, and so identified the comment as a threat to your wellbeing. That part of your brain then attempted to alert the rest of the mind to this threat by sending signals to pain …