Play or download free MP3 meditation timers

Many people, when starting out learning meditation, are concerned about how they are going to time their practice.

In a class there’s usually someone leading who will ring bells for the start and end of the meditation session, and for any intermediate stages.

We offer some advice elsewhere on how you can time your meditation without “clock-watching” or otherwise becoming distracted by issues of timing.

But we’re also pleased to offer some MP3 files that will do the timing for you. Each of these files is designed for either the five-stage metta bhavana (development of lovingkindness) meditation or the four-stage mindfulness of breathing meditation.

There are bells to mark the start of the meditation, the transition to each stage, and the end.

You can either play the tracks here, or download them to your computer.

Metta bhavana, 20 minutes, bell every 4 minutes

(download mp3)

Metta bhavana, 30 minutes, bell every 6 minutes

(download mp3)

Metta bhavana, 40 minutes, bell every 8 minutes

(download mp3)

Metta bhavana, 60 minutes, bell every 12 minutes

(download mp3)

Mindfulness of breathing, 20 minutes, bell every 5 minutes

(download mp3)

Mindfulness of breathing, 30 minutes, bell every 7.5 minutes

(download mp3)

Mindfulness of breathing, 40 minutes, bell every 10 minutes

(download mp3)

Mindfulness of breathing, 60 minutes, bell every 15 minutes

(download mp3)

I’m grateful to Vajramati of Triratna Buddhist Community NYC for putting these files together.


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  • Hello,
    I am a Buddhist and a software developer. I wrote a very basic meditation timer some time ago and use it daily. I would like to improve its base functionality and make it available to all. The base implementation would include the ability to make a custom meditation and ‘play’ that meditation. I was hoping that I could get some feedback on what other functionality a timer may contain. i.e. meditation diary, multiple users, users meditation history.
    Any ideas would be welcome.


  • That’s a very nice idea!

  • nice

  • I started practising a few weeks ago with this “Metta bhavana, 30 minutes, bell every 5 minutes” timer, and I spent a huge amount of time during my meditations thinking about how is it possible to have only 5 bell sounds (if we do not count the first one which indicates the beginning of the session)? It is only 5×5 = 25 minutes, but the timer on the computer says the recording is 30 minutes long.

    Just to help everybody get over this distraction, I figured it out, using a wave editor: the bells are not punctual, actually there is a bell in every 6 minutes, which at the end makes 6×5 = 30 minutes. :)

  • I don’t know whether it was a typo or poor arithmetic, but it’s fixed now! Sorry for the confusion.

  • These are really useful but I can’t help but think that they could be improved if they took into account the ‘stage zero’ of the meditations and included an extra timed period for relaxation etc. As they are you have to go through your body awareness and relaxation and then come out of the meditation to set the timer running.

    • That’s a good point. We didn’t put these together ourselves, but I could easily edit them to add more time (once I have some time). For now you could use the five stage sessions for the mindfulness of breathing…

  • There is an excellent iphone app called Insight Timer that allows creating your own meditation profiles, including a “delayed” start for bodyscan/body awareness. it also has several tibetan singing bowls sound that are really beautiful. It also keeps a log with stats and you can even add a journal entry. I have been using it for a year now and I am very happy.
    p.s. I have no financial interest whatsoever in the app.

    • I use iSamadhi, which sounds quite similar. I only use it as a timer, however, and have never used the journal function.

  • Hi,
    Great timers, many thanks.
    Thought I should let you know that the mettabhavana-60-minutes.mp3 only lasts for about 3 minutes!

  • For some reason, I can’t download these any more, and I’ve lost the mindfulness 30 minute MP3 which I had put on my phone. It was great – I could take it anywhere…

    • You should still be able to download these. You need first to click on the link that says “Download MP3” and then wait until a smaller download link appears (I’m not sure why it’s been designed as a two-stage process). And then right click and “Save as..” or “Save link as…” (depending on your browser the wording may be different).

  • it worked! Thank you very much indeed.

  • Incidentally, I’d like to say a big thank you for your guided meditations on mindfulness and mettabhavana. I purchased them a couple of months ago and they are really, really helpful. Thank you!

    • You’re very, very welcome, Dill. And thanks in turn for purchasing the meditations. They make it possible for me to keep this site going, and to produce further publications and recordings.

  • Jerry Whiting
    July 25, 2011 1:27 pm

    I have a couple of meditation timers for smartphone users you may be interested in: (best viewed using an Android or iPhone).


    Jerry Whiting
    JetCityOrange / Seattle

  • […] buddhist book editor offers a series of timer MP3 tracks to play or download on its page. Click to play them, right click (crtl+click on a Mac) and “Save Link As” […]

  • Another option, especially if you’re using your cell phone, are these online meditation timers for smartphone users:

  • Thanks a bunch,it helped me a lot!!

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  • […] is through.” So now that I’ve disgorged my advice – I’m going to set the temple bells for 40 mins. Turn off the internet, and see if I can’t get another few pages written. *The […]

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