Meditation on the Breath, or The Mindfulness of Breathing is a main stay of Buddhist meditation. It can be used in so many ways. Your mind calms, your body relaxes and you come to know peace in a way that is not usual in the West.
Breath meditation can be used anywhere, while sitting watching the T.V., whilst walking to the shops, even whilst standing in the queue in the shop. Whenever you have a chance to pause and take time out, breath meditation can come to your aid, and calm you down. It really isn’t complicated at all, as the following instructions will show. Just 15 minutes or half an hour a day, when you can grab it, can make an enormous impact on you day-to-day wellbeing. Continue reading →
There are days of dryness in the Buddhist tradition. These are the days where no matter what you do, mindfulness will not manifest, your mind worries about things that really do not matter, and you seem to dry up as far as progress goes. In the worst situations this dryness can last for weeks on end. Thankfully, for me, that rarely happens.
Illness, Medication & Meditation
I come from a place of dealing with severe depression and stress anxiety, so maybe I suffer ‘days of dryness’ more than others, but I believe that we all experience this condition on occasion. It can be incredibly frustrating, but that frustration is yet another opportunity for practice. Dryness is not a sign of failure, it is just a sign of Samsara getting the better of you for a while. Samsara has a habit of doing that when you are not alert or ‘on top form’. It will creep up on you when you are distracted and not paying attention. Samsara is waiting there, just behind you, waiting for that moment of distraction, ready to leap forth and drag you down and make you feel despondent. It’s a bit like Darth Vader waiting in the background to make Luke Skywalker’s life a misery just when he doesn’t need it, or Voldemort spoiling a party for Harry Potter! Continue reading →
As I work on this site I keep finding myself worrying. I worry about the content, I worry about the reception that content will receive, I worry about the presentation of the content. In fact, the one thing that is guaranteed to occur when I log in to the administration panel of this website is that I will start to worry. Now I have realised this I have also realised this is a perfect example of where I need to practice. I need to practice mindfulness and breath meditation. I need to realise that, at the end of the day, it does not matter how this website is received, what matters is the practice I do whilst administrating it. What matters is the intent behind the website, and I must keep that in mind rather than worrying if someone is going to see the site and dislike it.
This is a prime example of becoming over-engrossed in something and becoming too attached to the outcome. The website is what it is. Obviously I do hope it will help someone, but I have found myself getting too attached to it; so I need to take a step back, take a few deep breaths, and relax. It is only a website… The world will not end if it goes down or is completely ignored.
Detaching oneself from the projects you have to, or want to, undertake is good, even necessary practice otherwise you will get too engrossed and attached to the outcome. This does not mean you should not care what transpires, but getting too attached can lead to stress, and stress is suffering. Stress is Dukkha. To be concerned yet detached from the project in mind allows one to approach the task with an openness that can lead to far better results than a mind will allow if it is tied up with undue worry and concern for the outcome.
So… I am not going to worry anymore… he says confidently! I will at least try to approach this site from a state of mindfulness in future, rather than buzzing around like a bee in a jar wondering what on earth I am going to put up next. This is a Buddhist blog after all, and it really does not need half a dozen updates each day. I will be, or at least intend to be, mindful of the content rather than worried about it.
For those of a Mahayana leaning, I provide an anthology of texts regarding the Lojong practice, or ‘Mind Training’. This text contains 15 texts regarding the Tibetan Lojong practice. It is not the be-all and end-all of the subject, but having been provided by Lotsawa House, it can be considered authoritative.
Whilst this anthology may not support the Theravadin view of meditative practice, I do believe it to be of value to any Buddhist seeking ultimate peace. Please feel free to add it to you own websites whilst crediting the source and author. I have several other Lotsawa documents to add, and I trust they will benefit your path to Nibbana.
Mindfulness has become a byword for meditation these days; it is everywhere and has even become part of medical treatment for anxiety and depression. It could be said that Mindfulness is the latest Western craze for solving all your mental ills, and yet, according to the Buddha, this is exactly what it will do. The Satipatthana Sutta details exactly how to practice ‘proper’ mindfulness rather than what you might find in an NHS run Anxiety class. I know it does because I have attended NHS Anxiety Mindfulness treatment and their version of Mindfulness is very watered down, but for good reason. They are treating a particular ailment rather than trying to liberate you from Samsara. That is not to detract from the definite benefits of their systems, the CBT training I went through had definite results regarding the Stress Anxiety I suffer from and I still use their techniques today, including breath meditation, but, as I said, they do not train you fully in Mindfulness Meditation. Only the Buddha and his disciples can do that.
With this in mind I have decided to upload the Satipatthana Sutta. This is the Sutta that details, quite explicitly, exactly how to go about Mindfulness Meditation and the various steps you need to go through for your journey toward liberation. The breath is always in mind, but there are numerous other subjects that you progressively move on to during your practice.
I could enumerate them here but I think it best to let the Buddha speak rather than run the possibility of me leading you astray, so I shall stop wittering on and just leave you to read the Sutta in your own time. As usual, there is a PDF version available for download and printing should you so wish.