Hi, I’m Bodhipaksa, and I set up Wildmind in 2001 with the help of several friends who offered me their time and technical support when I was a grad student with no financial resources at all. I’m a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, I’ve been a practicing Buddhist since 1982, and I’ve been teaching meditation since the late 1980’s.
I’m the author of Wildmind: A Step-by-Step Guide to Meditation, a book called Living as a River, which explores the Buddhist teaching of not-self though a traditional reflection on interconnectedness called the Six Element Practice, and Vegetarianism: A Buddhist View, which is a book on Buddhism and the practice of vegetarianism. Additionally, I’ve written I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buddha! (a book on fake Buddha quotes), This Difficult Thing of Being Human (on self compassion), and A Year of Buddha’s Wisdom (which is a collection of daily readings, reflections, and meditation suggestions). I’m also the author of ten audiobooks of guided meditations.
In Oct 2012 gave a TEDx talk on compassion.
I was given the name Bodhipakṣa when I joined the Triratna Buddhist Order in 1993 (although at that time it was called the “Western Buddhist Order”). “Bodhi” means enlightenment and “paksha” (there’s a dot under the “s” which gives it a “sh” sound) means “wings.” So my name means “Wings of Enlightenment.”
I was born and brought up in Scotland, although I now live in the US. For three years, I was the director of Dhanakosa retreat center, in the Highlands of Scotland, and after that I ran the Edinburgh Buddhist center. For three years, I taught Buddhist meditation in the Religious Studies department at the University of Montana, before moving to New Hampshire.
I love teaching meditation. It’s had a tremendously positive effect on my own life, and I’ve seen it have an equally large effect on the lives of my students. Over and over again, students have told me how learning to meditate has changed their lives.
For many years I’ve been excited by the potential for bringing the benefits of meditation to millions of people over the Internet. That enthusiasm is what led to me setting up Wildmind.
Wildmind started as a project while I was completing a Masters degree in Montana. Supported by a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies, I worked with Dr. Alan Sponberg to develop an innovative Internet based meditation course for the University of Montana, and that experiment formed the basis of Wildmind.
I hope you find these materials useful, and I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to drop me a line using the comment form below. If you want to write more privately use the “contact” link above — the message will get to me.
I also have a personal website where you’ll find links to all my publications, YouTube videos, etc., as well as information about the meditation coaching that I do. It’s at Bodhipaksa.com.
Thanks for the kind comments, Eddie. Also, thanks for mentioning the missing “contact us” link. It turns out there was a bug on the page causing the entire footer to go AWOL. You should now find the link at the foot of every page.
I recently started listening to your Guided Meditations recordings and want to say thanks for making them available. As a self-employed designer and artist, practicing mindfulness has made my life much more enjoyable given the uncertainties of the economy. I just found your blog online and will check back to keep up. I also didn’t see the “contact” link Eddie mentioned?
PS: I was not expecting to see comments on current events (ie the David Brooks item). How do you reconcile observing the insanity in today’s news cycle with the principles of mindfulness?
First the contact form link: I’m not sure whether you’re talking about my personal blog (bodhipaksa.com), which didn’t have a contact form (although I’ve just added one — thanks for the reminder!), or Wildmind. It it’s the latter, then the bottom of this page, under the contact form, should look like this:
The first link in the left column in the blue area is the contact link. Please let me know if that’s not what you’re seeing on the page, because it’s possible there’s some bug in the code.
Now for politics! The news cycle is crazy, and in fact TV as a whole is crazy. I don’t have a TV, and so I get most of my news by reading the NYT and BBC online. I like to read certain Op Ed articles and a few of the main stories (or at least enough of those stories to give me the gist). Many people think that having a TV makes you better informed, but I bet that the most ignorant people you meet all spend hours glued to the box. I also used to listen to NPR in the car, but I don’t drive so much these days and when I do I have the kids in the back seat and I’m acutely aware of how much I do not want them exposed to stories about wars, people being stoned to death, etc (they’re three and two years old).
I think it’s important for Buddhists to be informed, but at the same time when I go on retreat I’m relieved to unplug from the limited amount of news I do expose myself to.
Sorry for not being more clear. Yes, I was referring to your blog, but no worries, now that I’ve found Wildmind I can see this is the way to go.
As a mid-century modern-era person, I still get info from print, broadcast and online as well but with the noise level in the news cycle becoming louder and increasingly inane, NPR is about the only source I trust any more.
But the question remains: for anyone with a conscience, how to co-exist with it? The more aware I am, the more upset I get. I don’t want to be completely out of the loop on current affairs but I’m on the verge of simply tuning out altogether, especially with the elections coming up.
Now that I’ve said that, can you suggest a meditation that would be good to nurture insight?
I can only speak for myself.
It (the “news”) can all be maddening. There’s a lot of hatred, ignorance, and deliberate distortion involved in politics — and that’s the news we’re talking about, mostly. I find a little Jon Stewart can be good for laughing the frustration out of my system.
But I think we should be worried. There are dangerous forces of hatred and ignorance being tapped into and made mainstream. Maybe the best thing to do is to befriend a tea-partier! I remember a superb video of Al Franken talking to health-care reform opponents. He was respectful and empathetic and reasonable, and he ended up with them wrapped around his little finger. Unfortunately I’m the parent of two young children and rarely get out of the house!
But mostly (as I said) I limit access and stay away from TV. It keeps me sane, which is the most valuable thing I have time to do right now.
For nurturing insight, I’d suggest the Six Element Practice (this is assuming you already have a good basis of shamatha practice). I have a book out about the practice, called “Living as a River,” and you might want to check it out. There’s also some information about it on this site, in the “meditation guides” section.
OK, thanks. Maybe I’ll make this site my home page!
Hello Bodhipaksa – I’m trying to establish a personal meditation practice, using your CD “Guided Meditations for Busy People”. I like the 8-9 minute lengths. Would you suggest doing Meditation #1 daily for some period of days/weeks/months, then moving to #2, etc, or would you suggest cycling through all the meditations, one each day, over and over in a kind of circuit? Or maybe you have an altogether better suggestion? I would appreciate your guidance. I like the CD a lot. I also have your “Calmness, Awareness and Love” CD but those meditations are a bit long for me to be consistent with as a beginner, especially during the workweek.
– – Happy Thanksgiving, Phil H.
I hadn’t really thought that through, to be honest. I’d put that collection of meditations together to provide a variety of approaches, but not with the idea of it being a system. I’d suggest just doing whatever seems to make sense for you. It could be that you stick with just two or three that seem to work particularly well for you, but the other suggestions could work too (although that might end up being a bit regimented).
One thing you should definitely throw into the mix, though, is some unguided meditation — just you, drawing on your own resources. It’s useful to have guidance at first — perhaps a lot of guidance at first — but ultimaely we want to internalize the skills involved in meditating, and the way to check how that is going is to “fly solo.”
Anyway, thanks for the appreciative comments. I love hearing from people who’ve used my CDs.
Been a frequent visitor to your amazing and informative site. Your is simple straight forward and contain simple to follow information on meditation. Living and working in shanghai and have contribute to some comments on your incense site. I am a great fan of incense, meditation and tea and I hope someday your site could also create a issue on tea drinking as many westerners does not really know that tea drinking can support meditation in many positive ways. zEn masters in japan have often wrote about tea & the benefits of tea in helping meditation.
Thanks again for this wonderful site
Sebastian, shanghai, china
Thanks for your kind words about Wildmind.
If I knew anything about tea I’d certain write about it! Unfortunately, its relation to meditation is something I know nothing about. If you could point me to some resources on the topic I could perhaps write a blog post on the topic.
All the best,
I am a Buddhist by birth from Asia. I am really happy that Westerners find peace of mind through meditation. I am amazed to browse through your site, to realize what I was learning about Buddhism in my childhood is there in the web site! You have done a good job! May you be well and happy!
I’m a yoga and meditation teacher and sometime ago I discovered Bodhipaksa’s gudied meditation cds. They are just wonderful!!!
I was wondering if I could do a meditation course with Wildmind sometime later in the year. I know it would further enhance my meditation teaching and help me to understand Buddhism a little more. I am not a Buddhist, but have been interested in Buddhism for a long time and I have a lot of friends who are Buddhists.
Looking forward to your reply,
This is Sunada, the person who teaches the meditation classes. You’re more than welcome to take my courses anytime. You don’t have to be a Buddhist, or even be interested in becoming one (though it sounds like you are). I’ve had people take the course purely out of a secular interest in the health effects. And if you’re interested in learning more about Buddhism, I can accommodate you as well. I tend to be very flexible and let the discussions flow to wherever the students want to go. So please, by all means, join me whenever you’d like.
I am a complete newcomer to meditation I am not religious but Buddhism seems the right direction. I can’t explain why, but feel it is the right thing for me to calm my hectic work/family/sleep juggling act. I would like to be in control, not of others but of my own mind. Your feedback on Amazon is excellent, and I value your opinion. If possible could you please recommend a meditation cd to begin to calm my mind.
I think you’re headed in a fruitful direction. The Buddhist tradition has a lot of wisdom and useful practices to offer, even for people who can’t go as far as applying the label “Buddhist” to themselves
If you’re asking about my own CDs, I’d suggest the first, Guided Meditations for Calmness, Awareness, and Love. To be honest I’m not that familiar with the other CDs that are out there, but anything by Joseph Goldstein would be highly recommended.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your time and advice, I have ordered your title Meditations for busy people and I shall add your other recommended title to My list. Warm thanks and best wishes, Reece.
You’re welcome, Reece. And thanks for buying one of my CDs. Doing that directly helps us to maintain and expand our website.
Hi, I am a beginner learning Buddhism and meditation. Things have been going well, however, recently I have been reading on the 5 hindrances and find that I am feeling increased anxiety during meditations and throughout the normal day than I was previously. I have taken up Buddhism to help with my anxiety condition and have found it has helped until now. In fact, at my class I had to leave the Metta Bhavana because I was overcome with anxiety. I understand that we have to accept all of ourselves but I find anxiety is strong and difficult to deal with. I would like to know what buddhism would advise me to do and also if this is the right path for me with this hinderance. Many Thanks, Catherine
Some people are predisposed to anxiety for various reasons, and can even get into feeling anxious about feeling anxious. It may be that something like this is going on with you.
My advice is that when anxiety is present, you locate where it is primarily located in the body. It may, for example, manifest most strongly as butterflies in the tummy. You can then treat your anxiety as if it were a suffering being, and direct your lovingkindness towards it: “May you be well; may you be happy; may you be free from suffering.” You could regard the anxiety as being like a frightened child or small animal that you are giving unconditional love and reassurance to.
Hello, Mr. Bodhipaksa, First, I like what your name means – Wings of Enlightenment. I heard you and about your work for the first time this morning on National Public Radio’s New Dimensions programme. It was most interesting – need I say enlightening – and I listened through all the approximate 55 minutes of it. As one originally from North East India, not very far from where the Great Buddha was born and is held in much reverence, I am familiar with some aspects of the Buddhist belief system. I can fully appreciate the benefits one can derive from the practice of meditation that you were explaining during your talk this morning since meditation is also an integral part of the belief system I was born into and practise viz. Islam. By the way, I love Scotland, have friends there I worked with in India, and try not to miss Fiona Ritchie’s Celtic music programme on the NPR of a Sunday evening !! All best wishes for continuing progress of your good work, Sincerely, Habib Quader
So happy to see that Wildmind is continuing to help people find their Way. I took a meditation class (online) from you about 12 years ago, shortly after my dad’s suicide. I credit that class and your help with being able to get through that very difficult time and the next that followed–breast cancer.
I downloaded one of your mp3s and tried to put it on my mp3 player, but it was disallowed. Money is short right now, but I hope to download it again.
I just wanted to drop a line and let you know that I will always be grateful for the gift you gave me. Many, many thanks and may you be well and happy.
Yes, I remember you! I’m very pleased to hear that you’ve continued to find the meditation useful. I’ll be in touch to sort out the problem with the MP3s. They should work just fine on any MP3 player.
All the best,
Do you happen to know where the following loving-kindness meditation is from:
May all beings find a resting place within themselves,
May all beings find peace within their hearts,
May all beings find peace with each other.
Thank you! Cindy
Have you tried using Google?
Do you feel like meditation is making you ‘outside the world’. not caring about everyday ‘nothings?
Quite the contrary. I care very much about the outside world. There are some things I don’t care very much about — status, cars, money, just about anything that’s on television — but there are many things I care about very deeply.
[…] course. So I am currently reading Living As A River: Finding Fearlessness In The Face Of Change by Bodhipaksa. I am also catching up on reading blogs and twitter […]
Hi Bodhipaksa, I am a therapist in northern Virginia and I wanted you to know how helpful I have found your cd’s in my work with clients. I routinely try to introduce aspects of mindfulness meditation in my private practice and talk to clients about what the research says on its effects on the brain, body, and sense of well-being. For my clients with anxiety and depression in particular I prescribe your cds–even the most diehard “I don’t have time to meditate” people can do your 10 minute practices. Usually what I do is loan them one of my personal copies so they can try it out at home, and invariably they bring it back saying how much they love your voice and gentle way of instruction and that they have bought a copy of their own! I just got back my copy of your cd for stress reduction from a client who is now incredibly enthusiastic about the idea of practicing your meditations and learning about “this whole new world” she never knew existed!
Thank you for what you do!
I am very much impressed with your noble agenda to promote peace and calmness in the minds of people. According to the Buddha’s doctrine people become ill and unhealthy because of mental reasons 80%. Meditation can reverse this condition for them. I must therefore fully commend the noble effort you have taken with your web site.
Looking at the areas that you have gone in to address the beneficial effects of meditation is amazing! Congratulations sir!
I practice meditation everyday and it so nourishes my life. So thank you for your guidance. My question…I find myself living in the past much as of late with my ex boyfriend. The…if I were younger, prettier, better, maybe he would have been different and we would still be together. Even though I know in my heart it’s better we are not together, I still miss him and a part of me obviously wishes we things could be different. How can I come into acceptance and let this go…it really affects my days…I’m ready to let this go…my mind thinks otherwise.
You didn’t mention what you do when you meditate, so I’ll just throw a few things out there. It sounds like a lot of lovingkindness practice would be useful — especially the first stage of self metta. In particular I think it would be helpful for you to bring to mind the pain you experience with regard to this past relationship, and to wish your pain well. (Really this is compassion meditation, rather than metta, but that’s OK.)
Also, you might want to say to yourself, when this relationship or these ideas (“if I were younger, prettier, better”) pop into your mind, the words “My happiness does not depend on this.” And read the article that phrase comes from.
It would also be helpful — but only if you have a good basis of lovingkindness practice — to reflect on impermanence. All things come into being, age, and pass away. That applies to people, things, and relationships. Pick anything, and visualize it coming into being, aging, and passing away. Apply this to other people, to objects, to relationships, to yourself. Really, don’t do this unless you have an established lovingkindness practice, because otherwise you’ll run the risk of depressing yourself.
I started using your Guided meditation cd about 8 years ago during a long period of illness. I used your cd almost daily for quite a while until I could sit in silence for 30- 45 mins or so. I have just finished studying the Anapanasati Sutra and that is where my meditation is heading. I love the affect meditation has had on my life and consequently on those around me. Your cds provided a very stable foundation to my personal vipassana journey and I just wanted to say thank you. I regularly read your posts.
I have severe problems getting to sleep and spend 80% of my time on sleeping pills. i have long thought that meditation may help me relax my brain so that i can sleep. what cd would you recommend for someone starting out on this journey.
I’ve found that meditation definitely helps me sleep. It’s very rare these days that I can’t fall asleep very quickly. I make some specific suggestions in this article on Meditation and Insomnia, but any kind of body scanning or mindful breathing will be helpful.
thanks Bodhipaksa, i have heard of the stomach breathing before. i have tried it and it sometimes helps. i also do progressive relaxation exercises most nights. I find if i do them slowly and relax for a long time between each exercise that i quite often dont finish the exercise and sleep. this happend last night. My biggest problem now is that i become stressed over nothing. i mean levels well below normal and then my head locks up and i cant sleep at all. not even five minutes and i can remain like this for weeks. the only answer has been to take sleeping pills. unfortunately the effectiveness of them is wearing off and i fear when one day i cant sleep and sleeping pills dont work. eventually you wi8ll die if yu dont sleep a all. thats why doing these exercises are very important to me. im thinking that next time i cant sleep at all i might get out of bed and listen to some relaxation cds untill iam sleepy again. it might work, and maybe i will be able to live a normal life again. I am doing alot of positive things at the moment and am booked in for a mindfullness and a dificulty sleepig psychological courses. i notice you have alot of cds for sale on your site. do you have any that you can recommend for relaxation and sleep. ive definitely taken note of what you have already said ad will put all the techniques to practice. i have just bought a personal cd player that i can play in bed. i have a mindfullness cd to start with. thanks for your help.
Hi, Mike. Sorry i don’t have much time this morning, so just a quick note. We have a CD that sounds good, called the The Yoga of Sleep. It uses a variety of approaches with helping people to sleep, including mindfulness, which would be useful for you. All the best, Bodhipaksa.
i have been following mindfulness in everyday life but i want to know how to release the past ( a traumatic event ) , is it the right approach that is letting the release happen without judging it or do i need to solve it ,( which i cant as it creates more problems ) thanks a ton
There’s a lot of material on this site that can help you, Sean. Mindfulness and lovingkindness are practices that would be helpful, and I’d highly recommend reading the articles we publish by Tara Brach and Rick Hanson.
I wanted to thank you for being there when I was distraught – 8 years ago – lived in California at the time. I found your website and did all the courses you offered Breathing Meditation, Metta, Vipassana and Identifying anger.
It was wonderful and has been life changing. I have now moved to Mass and belong to the New Kadampa Tradition and have a wonderful Sangha and participate in 2 weekly sessions with them along with my personal practice. Wildmind was the best gift for me.
thank you and keep on doing the wonderful work
I’m glad to hear that we were able to help you on your path, Kum Kum, and wish you well in the future.
While meditating I usually concentrate on the sensation of air going in and out of the tip of my nostril, but I’m not sure where to concentrate during the times in between breaths?
Should I continue focusing on the tip of my nostril even during the in between breaths when there is no sensation of air moving past?
Love the website!
Sure, keep your focus on the same area. There’s never no sensation — the sensations just become subtler. And you can also notice the growing physiological need to inhale or exhale. It’s quite fascinating to see those desires come into existence.
[…] other news, I’m reading Living as a River: Finding Fearlessness in the Face of Change by Bodhipaksa, the founder of Wildwind.org. Here is what I think about so […]
i have been meditating regularly for 21 days. I have been running across some things on the internet that say, meditation is bad….and a lot of other gibberish. it make me feel a little uncomfortable reading those things, what is your viewpoint on this?
Bear in mind that “information on the internet isn’t always reliable; that’s the first thing I’d suggest. There are hundreds of scientific studies being done every year now, investigating the effects of meditation on pain perception, stress, memory, etc. I can’t say I keep up with them all, but I read about all those that appear in the press, and they’re all showing the benefits of meditation without suggesting any downside. And from my personal experience I’ve taught thousands of people, and been in contact with thousands more meditators. I see only good. Of course sometimes meditation brings people face-to-face with their problems in a very direct way, but it also gives them an opportunity to work with those problems. I’ve never, however, seen it cause any problems.
I understand what you mean, maybe its an insecurity of mine to not be confident within myself which is why i keep looking for reassurance for meditation.
A obstacle i have run into while meditating is that i cannot relax at all. In my 20+ days of meditating its very hard for me to reach a good “concentration” and calmness. I start to feel frustrated shortly. My breathing still seems unnatural or even if it does start to become “smooth” my mind comments ten things on it. i have stopped for a few days to re-evaluate and will start fresh next month.
My mind wanders even during the body awareness stage. By the time i reach my thighs i have started to think about something.
Any advice about the letting go of the breath. My chest tightens up after a while.
Everyone’s mind wanders, Vrajesh. Once you start to realize that your mind is just like that of everyone else, you can feel less anxious that you’re a “bad meditator.” Bear in mind as well that 20 days is not very long to have been meditating. There’s a lot to learn. You wouldn’t expect to be fluent in a new language after 20 days, even if you practiced a couple of hours each day.
When you feel this frustration arising, just notice it. Notice exactly where the frustration is in your body. Recognize that it’s a painful feeling. And be as kind as possible with it. Give it your love, like you would reassure a frightened child.
I came here once again to ask you a question because maybe you could help me out once again. I have done the meditations that you have given on this website or the wild mind book. Shortly after i switched to vipassana where i would focus my attention on the stomach and note using a ‘mantra’ like rising falling, feeling, thinking etc etc. I just recently finished a 10 day intensive meditation retreat and they also practice vipassana but they focus their attention by starting from the top of the head and keep moving your attention from part to part and remaining equanimous and aware without craving or aversion to any sensations.
Now here is the deal. I cannot pick one. its so frustrating. when i meditate theres constant inner chatter about why i am doing this one and why i should do the other one etc etc. theres also questions like does this meditation suit my logic better or does that one…and then i only feel discouraged to meditate because i just cannot make a decision on which one to do. I still somehow just sit and manage to observe breath and keep coming back to it. I sometimes do the top of the head to the bottom by moving my attention from part to part.
What do you suggest? Why is this so frustrating? Did you ever experience anything like this? I need to decide because i cannot dig different wells in 10 different locations expecting water from each one. I have to focus on one but i really have trouble deciding. Maybe its because of my anxiety and restlessness and not being able to see clearly. Maybe because each teacher i listened to, i like different things about all of them and things that i did not like about their teaching?
Any advice could be helpful.
I’ve had experiences that are similar in some ways to this. I once went on a retreat run by teachers who have a different approach to me in order to learn more about their techniques and perspectives, and I found that some of the things they said plunged me into doubt and confusion — and aversion. I found myself continually arguing about things that they had said and about how they made no sense. There was one statement in particular that I thought was completely contrary to the Buddha’s teaching, and it threw me into turmoil for two days, until I had a chance to talk to the teacher who had said this thing. When I asked her about what she’d said, she replied, “Oh, I didn’t really mean that — it’s just something I say to the beginners.” So sometimes these confusions are apparent, and if you did deeper you find that two seemingly different approaches aren’t as different as they might seem.
The Buddha taught many different meditations: anapanasati leading to jhana, meditations leading to the formless spheres, metta bhavana and the other brahmaviharas, six element reflection (and four- and five-element reflections), etc. They’re all valid and complementary, and the practice of one enhances the experience of the others. If you hear anyone saying that there’s only one way to meditate, they’re either misinformed or selling something.
The metaphor of digging many wells isn’t, I think, very appropriate. Let’s change the metaphor, and say that you’re trying to clean rock-hard mud off of a jewel. You’ll probably want to use many tools — soaking it in water, chipping away touch parts, rubbing it, scrubbing it. You’re taking many different approaches — but to one end. There’s really only one task.
That task, in Buddhist practice, is what I call “unselfing.” Any practice you’re doing is reducing your sense of having a fixed and separate self. Some of the approaches are “samatha” and some are “vipassana,” but they’re all unselfing. So it may be that you need to have this kind of coherent sense of what it is that you’re actually doing. Deep down, there’s no conflict between these practices. And in fact because they’re all doing the same thing, but in different ways, they’re all complementing each other.
You may find it’s useful to have a schedule, and to plan out what practice you’re going to do on any given day: body scan on Monday, Mindfulness of Breathing on Tuesday, Metta Bhavana on Wednesday, etc. That might give your mind permission to be content with what you’re doing on any particular day.
Hopefully this is helpful. If it isn’t, please let me know.
Wow, Thank you SO much! This helped greatly! Instinctively i did do exactly what you have advised. The cleaning of the jewel does make things easier for me to understand and how all practices help each other and lead to the same goal as to say.. Since meditation is to be done on a momentary basis rather than to attain a goal or a state. (i learned this the hard way).
I did the body scan yesterday and today i did another type of technique (also vipassana). I will certainly make a schedule and stick to it thoroughly, because then i can also know that i am not just doing one meditation because its easier or i like it more than the other.
Sometimes i like using a word along with the awareness of the sensation because it calms my mind a little and some other time when my mind is calm i can easily do the body scan and just observe the sensations without the conflict and chatter.
I have also developed a habit to just listen to meditation teachers who talk about benefits of meditation, insights etc because it almost seems like an entertainment rather than practicing.
Right now temporarily i can try this little experiment for a while so i continue to meditate, but don’t you think that one has to learn one technique properly and progress in that?
“…don’t you think that one has to learn one technique properly and progress in that?”
Well, yes and no :) There’s a benefit to practicing different styles of meditation. I would never advise someone to take up mindfulness of breathing only, or metta bhavana only. These practices are complementary and they feed each other. I would advise people to take up a samatha approach to meditation without much vipassana — at first. But then both vipassana and samatha are complementary as well. The Buddha said that jhana helps us to practice vipassana, and that vipassana helps us to practice jhana. A bird needs two wings to fly.
So I think the thing is to get good at practicing a suite of meditation practices, not just one. Otherwise you’re like a carpenter who is skilled with a chisel, but doesn’t know how to use a saw…
But I think each person will discover for him or sehr-self that they have a “lead” practice — one that they find more rewarding and that produces more benefits. And in a way could be doing the other practices as a support for that practice. So to learn one technique properly and progress in it you will almost certainly find it useful to do other practices as well.
Thank you very much. You have helped me a lot and let me continue my meditation with more peace and calm. Hopefully i can sustain it.
I’m very glad to hear this, Vrajesh.
[…] Bodhipaksa, a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, talks about the power of appreciation on a website called wildmind. “Rejoicing in merits,” or punya-anumodana, is a traditional Buddhist practice of celebrating someone’s good qualities. One of the benefits of expressing appreciation is that it allows us to see others more fully. “When we are prepared to really be mindful of another person, without self-blinding judgment, then we start to notice things about them that we were previously only dimly aware of.” […]
hi, i’m an university in South Korea, and i’m studying about buddhism. Everytime we have class, we try meditation to calm down our mind and find inner peace. To study more, i found this website . and i want to know more about this site but unfortunately, my English is not really good, so there are some parts that i can’t fully understand. So can you please introduce me about this website? i mean i want to know more about what meditation really is.
I’m afraid it’s not really practical for me to give you individual instruction in meditation in these comments. There are online translation tools such as https://translate.google.com that will translate my writings into Korean, or if you have specific questions about any of the articles you can ask a question in the comments field that you’ll find on every page.
I am writing to you because, i feel really frustrated about meditation. I have been meditating for quite a while now. Have tried many different techniques and stuck with them for a certain period of time, and to sum it up, i just feel more frustrated. I want to be able to “succeed” at meditation, however thats possible. I have done a 10 day intensive retreat had a hard time through it. I am going through depression but i want to not be in this place, and see a way out. I thought meditation could be that thing which could help me but it has only brought me disappointment. Everytime i think about meditation the next thought is frustration. I want to have positive experiences, and increase my awareness and live a better life. Seems it has just been the opposite. I know there are no magical words that you can type to help me understand meditation better or help me meditate, but since you are a meditator who has stuck with his practice can maybe say why i keep failing. I know its up to me to figure out why i keep failing but maybe you can help me.
I know its as simple as silently repeating a mantra, or just focusing on breath but i always make it complicated, and also get frustrated very easily when i don’t relax or feel better.
When i mediate i usually lay down, because sitting feels very uncomfortable to me. I also do it sometimes sitting up when i have the energy and feel fresh. I do it lying down when i feel more depressed and stressed than usual.
Maybe it’ll help if I tell you there’s no such thing as “meditation.” There’s only “meditating.”
If we think in terms of “meditation” then we thing there’s this thing that’s going to helps us. It’s going to do something for us and make us happier, just like a pill might make us happier. But really there’s just “meditating,” which is an activity that we do. And how we feel after doing it depends on how we do it. So if you do it while grasping after results, then you’ll probably feel disappointed. If you do it with aversion toward your experience you’ll probably feel frustrated. If you do it with no effort then you’ll probably be bored. If you do it without expectation, just accepting where you are, and with a gentle effort to pay attention to your experience, then you’ll tend to feel more relaxed, calm, and happier.
Anyway, I’d suggest that you just relax with your unhappiness. Let go of any stories you’re telling yourself. Let the thoughts go as soon as you realize you’ve been caught up in them. Notice that you’re in discomfort, and be OK with that. Just allow the discomfort to be there. Relax with it. And breathe, without any expectations. Just breathe with your discomfort. Don’t try and do anything else; just see what happens.
We must have just missed each other in Montana. I was a student there from 1994-1998 and studied under Saramati eventually moving into the community there with a few other wild minded young men a couple of whom I’m sure you know. At the time the meditation class was taught by Saramati as a lab with the Intro to Buddhism course. I’ve recently reconnected with Buddhapalita and Varada and they told me about your website. I’ve only begun to peruse the scope of what’s here but I love the ice balls and the article about Do Buddhists Pray?
I’m quite interested in finding a sangha again and Buddhapalita and Varada suggested the online sangha offered by you. I now live in the mountains of North Carolina, near Boone, and have only recently connected with a few other Buddhists who also lament the lack of Buddhist Community here. Anyway, thank you for all you offer here and I will certainly become more acquainted with the resources here with time.
Help! Have subscribed to 100 day challenges before. Would really like to get the emails for sit,breathe, love. Have tried to join three times but am not getting the confirmation email. I have checked junk mail and blocked senders. I am not part of google+
The email address you used in your comment isn’t subscribed to Sit Breathe Love. Send me an email at bodhi at wildmind.org and we’ll get you added, Sally.
I enjoy the Scottish accent when I use your guided meditations.I spent a very happy year of my life in Scotland and the accent adds to my ease as I meditate. I am fairly new to meditation and have attended 2 day long workshops with Diana Winston at UCLA.
Good morning…just a quick note to thank you so much for your loving kindness meditation that I found on my Insight Timer app…what a gift it is! I have a dual practice as a Kashmir Shaavite and Tibetan Buddhist (it does weave together beautifully Ã¢ËœÂºÃ¯Â¸Â) and I generally don’t utilize guided meditations…more shamata with tonglin or mantra or chakra opening with the breath…but I will enjoy sitting with you through this meditation often going forward. May you abide in joy today! Kath
I did meditation for 1:30 – 2 hours regularly for 1.5 year, sometimes more than 2 hrs perday
because I was suffering from anxiety so to reduce the symptoms, thoughts , feelings and emotions
I used to reach a stage when there was no thought in my head blank stage.
now I have left the meditation and I m feeling depressed, disguested by people who do petty work,
my ego is gone, self esteem gone, i feel i am broen.
I used to be very energetic and had very good self image and esteem.
I feel I cannot go study in the liberary of my colege because I feel small and disguesting to go there.
I want my old self back where I was confident, had self esteem and ego
and I used to look at future with brightness, i was happily pursuing my goals.
now I feel directionless.
First of all, apologies for the delayed reply, but I had a very busy summer and didn’t have time to keep up with the volume of comments on the blog.
I’m sorry to hear about what’s happened to you. You don’t say what kind of meditation you did, who taught it to you or how you learned it, whether you had guidance whether you were learning, whether you’ve talked to your teacher, and what advice they night have given you. So I’m guessing you didn’t have a teacher, but I’ve still no idea what you were doing.
The state of blankness you were getting to certainly isn’t what we’re aiming for in meditation. While thoughts might quiet down substantially, our experience should be full of sensations from the body, feelings, emotions, etc. In other words the mind should be full, rather than blank.
So again, I’ve no idea what you were doing, but it sounds like you were getting yourself into a strange state of alienation by cutting yourself off from the body and by repressing your thinking (and probably the emotion that went along with that thinking). Please do feel free to tell me more about what your practice involved…
Anyway, I suppose the question is what to do now. I’d suggest that you try paying attention to the body. Do exercise. Swim. Run. Walk. Keep your attention focused as much as possible on the sensations that are arising in the body. Change your routine. Shake things up.
I don’t suggest you try any meditation without guidance. In theory, I think lovingkindness meditation might help you, but I’d be worried that whatever habits you’d picked up in your previous practice would cause you to do the meditation in an unhelpful way. So I suggest staying away from any sitting meditation for now. Perhaps that’s something you could go back to, with proper guidance.
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