Three approaches to mindful attention, on and off the cushion

December 11, 2011

There are many forms of meditation. In this article you will find a list of ways to meditate in order to develop the ability to fully attend, to mindfully do whatever you do with your family, your friends, your colleagues, your children and yourself.

I.  Zazen

Zazen is the study of the self. Master Dogen said, “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened. Upon his own enlightenment, the Buddha was in seated meditation.

Zen practice returns to the same seated meditation again and again. For two thousand five hundred years that meditation has continued, … Read more »

Sitting without a sitter

October 21, 2011

When I was on my first ever meditation retreat — two weeks of intensive meditation in the Scottish Highlands — I’d sometimes hear the instruction, “And now we’ll just sit.” No further instruction was given! And we’d sit there for a period of time — maybe ten minutes, maybe thirty minutes.

It was at first deeply confusing. I was sitting there waiting for further instruction. I wanted to be told what to do. Then I’d get bored and restless. Thoughts would come and go and I’d get caught up in them.

As the retreat went on sometimes those thoughts would begin to clear, and the mind would become alive and yet alive and vibrant. I … Read more »

With no effort or practice whatsoever, Enlightenment is here

March 12, 2011

In all sects of Buddhism, meditation is a prevalent practice,  but Buddhist teachers from different sects use different language to teach meditation.

There are meditations that focus on awareness and insight; meditations that focus on our breath, our body, our feelings, our minds and our mental qualities; and meditations for developing loving kindness within our minds and hearts.

It is easy, when learning a form of meditation, to just focus on the form and then judge whether or not we are doing it “right”.

There is freedom from this judging and striving in Dzogchen practice. Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche (1910-1991), one of the great luminaries of Tibetan Buddhism in the twentieth century,  was a … Read more »

“Never Turn Away: The Buddhist Path Beyond Hope and Fear” by Rigdzin Shikpo

February 27, 2009

Never Turn Away, by Rigdzin Shikpo

Title: “Never Turn Away – The Buddhist Path Beyond Hope and Fear.”
Author: Rigdzin Shikpo
Publisher: Wisdom Publications, Boston (2007).
ISBN: 0-86171-488-1
Available from:

Tejananda, Buddhist practitioner, meditation teacher, and author of The Buddhist Path to Awakening, gives an overview of a new, fresh approach to translating the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism into a western idiom.

Rigdzin Shikpo (Michael Hookham) was one of the earliest Western students of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Trungpa, who died in 1987, was a brilliant yet controversial figure. But whatever his flaws, he was undoubtedly one of the key figures in transmitting and translating Tibetan Buddhism for the western world: not so much … Read more »