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Manual The Meditative Way: Readings in the Theory and Practice of Buddhist Meditation

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It is a step-by-step manual on the practice of meditation. This book contains two sections: Invitation to Vipassana and 2. In the first part, I have endeavoured to explain: Vipassana meditation requires long-term commitment.

The Meditative Way: Readings in the Theory and Practice of Buddhist Meditation

While it can be done to some extent in everyday life, realistically for the practice to deepen it needs to be done intensively in a supportive retreat situation. Vipassana meditation is developmental, so to realise its ultimate benefit it has to be sustained with appropriate intensity under supportive conditions. Pannyavaro, a practitioner of over 30 years, guides you through the vipassana experience in a retreat situation, in a systematic and practical way.

Meditation is the intelligent heart of the Buddha's way; the only criterion is that you should apply it to daily life. The purpose of this meditation course is not to create a system of beliefs, but rather to give guidance on how to see clearly into the nature of the mind. In this way, you can have firsthand understanding of the way things are, without reliance on opinions or theories - a direct experience, which has its own vitality.

This course has been prepared with both beginners and experienced practitioners in mind. This is a handbook on the art of meditative attention or meditating for insight. It deals with the basics of awareness meditation. There is practical instruction on how to do sitting and walking meditation and how to apply awareness in daily activities based on the Insight Meditation Vipassana tradition. The purpose of this handbook is to give the beginner to awareness meditation a guide to the basics of the practice, with the emphasis on its practical application to daily life.

Insight Meditation as explained by Ven. But we have got to start somewhere. After some years of introducing this type of meditation, I still find that there is a lack of introductory material for those without knowledge of Buddhism. What is available is often extremely technical and loaded with ancient Indian terminology. There are some words in the English vocabulary which we can never hope to substitute perfectly. Sujiva is a clear and comprehensive step-by-step explanation of the systematic practice. The texts describe metta as characterised by promoting the aspect of welfare.

Amity, goodwill, friendliness and loving-kindness are some words used to describe this mental state. There is no better way to know it than to study it as it occurs in one's own and others' minds. It is a totally unselfish and pure state of mind that brings profit to oneself and others now and hereafter. It is, indeed, the mark of a genius to perceive and to harness the power of the seemingly small. Here, truly, it happens that, what is little becomes much. A revaluation of values takes place. The standards of greatness and smallness change.

Through the master mind of the Buddha, mindfulness is finally revealed as the point where the vast revolving mass of world suffering is levered out of its twofold anchorage in ignorance and craving". Four sublime states of mind have been taught by the Buddha: Loving-kindness metta , Compassion karuna , Sympathetic Joy mudita , Equanimity upekkha These four attitudes are said to be excellent or sublime because they are the right or ideal way of conduct towards living beings They provide, in fact, the answer to all situations arising from social contact.

They are the great removers of tension, the great peacemakers in social conflict, and the great healers of wounds suffered in the struggle of existence. They level social barriers, build harmonious communities, awaken slumbering magnanimity long forgotten, revive joy and hope long abandoned, and promote human brotherhood against the forces of egotism. This "Brahmavihara Dhamma" Divine Abidings expounded by the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, reveals the systematic method of developing Metta, loving-kindness towards all beings and the way to lead a life of holiness.

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The style of presentation and the informative materials contained therein stand witness to the depth and wealth of spiritual and scriptural knowledge of the eminent author. A careful reading of this Dhamma or teachings, followed by an unfailing practice of meditation that has been clearly presented in this text will, I believe, amount to storing a fortune in the shape of happiness in the present lifetime as well as higher spiritual attainment. The three most important things in life are love, kindness and wisdom. If we have made these three values the priorities of our life, then our life will have been well-lived.

When we die we can only have happiness when we look back and not regrets. If we spend our life cultivating this trio, our birth and life will have been worthwhile; it will not have been in vain. In this booklet, Ven. Pannyavaro Buddhist Studies for Schools. This is a series of guided meditations with instruction for teachers for primary students.

It has seven guided meditations for students, with detailed instructions for teachers. Loving-kindness Meditation with Children. The practice of loving-kindness, or metta , can be done in one of two ways: To learn about the radiating of metta to all beings with children, we have to tap into the store of knowledge accumulated by lay people and parents.

It must be knowledge which has grown out of years of living and loving with children and young adults. Gregory Kramer, father of three boys, shows us here with what subtle but precise adjustments in the standard practice of loving-kindness he was able to anchor it in the lives of his children. A selection of verses from the book 'Experience of Insight' , by Joseph Goldstein. This book belongs to a different genre, not a book in the sense of having a beginning and an end. It is a compilation of excerpts that stand alone in meaning whichever way your finger may flip open the page.

Buddhist Meditation Music for Positive Energy: "Inner Self", Buddhist music, healing music 42501B

This book details two approaches to insight meditation, namely, "tranquility and insight" and "bare-insight" meditation. These two methods are essentially identical, starting from four-elements meditation and continuing into insight meditation. In this book the reader has an explanation of the classic instructions for both methods. Translated by Greg Kleiman.

It is based on the explanation of meditation found in the Visuddhimagga commentary. Because of that the method involves several stages of practice which are complex, and involved.


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These stages include a detailed analysis of both mentality and matter, according to all the categories enumerated in the Abhidhamma, and the further use of this understanding to discern the process of Dependent Origination as it occurs in the Past, Present, and Future. Therefore people who are unfamiliar with the Visuddhimagga and the Abhidhamma will have difficulty in understanding and developing a clear picture of the practice of meditation at Pa Auk Tawya.

For foreigners who cannot speak Burmese this problem is made even more difficult. This introduction has been written to help alleviate these difficulties by presenting a simplified example of a successful meditator's path of progress as he develops his meditation at Pa Auk Tawya. This book contains the instructions for mindfulness-of-breathing meditation, the four-elements meditation, and the subsequent detailed discernment of materiality.

The last section of this book covers some of the relevant theory. There is better evidence of meditative thinking in contemporary anthropology; more penetrating academic meditations Adams , Becher , Bourdieu and Passeron and , Bourdieu , Boyer and , Clifford and Marcus , Siegel , Strathern , Taussig are far more elusive, yet far more useful as potential tools of disciplinary regeneration. However, even these penetrating moments are generally relegated to the margins, and considered side-tracks to the real business of being an anthropologist; they thus represent slight dips of the toe inside waters I would have us fully submerged in.

Far from having us abandon our work with collaborators elsewhere, I would only suggest that we can continue apace elsewhere, and also begin to institutionally, integrally, intentionally work with and upon ourselves. Citing Foucault, Giddens , and others who have pointed towards the meta-reflexive, Hall rightly points out that with theoretical tools already firmly in hand, social scientists are uniquely situated to examine our own social norms.

I agree with these perspectives, insofar as they demonstrate that scholars have the tools for meditative thinking at our fingertips. We ought to push ourselves to employ our many theoretical tools more whole-heartedly, and more systematically.

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I would like to argue that it is not our analytical tools that are necessarily flawed, but rather, it is our reticence in applying them to ourselves at the university, department and individual levels that has led us to remain poor practitioners of our own ideals. Faure describes in great detail the ways in which philosophers and scholars of the Western academy almost obsessively and repetitively fall into the same philosophical traps of Western thinking especially notions of Aristotelian logic like the rule of the excluded middle: To what extent are the minutiae of scholarly pursuits just another set of rituals, another practice of a certain kind of magic?

If indeed this is the case, then one would do best to dispose of the conceit that ours are unconditioned truths and that our incantations are somehow anything other that cultural constructions in and of themselves. While Faure does not advocate that scholars turn their backs on their academic lineages and rituals, he would have us recognize that ours are no more or less valid than those of Buddhism or other traditions. His own embrace of Buddhist philosophy is therefore not meant to undercut the Western history of philosophy, but rather to complicate it, and to expose some barred doors and hidden passageways in our notions of logic and rationality that we have forgotten, ignored or repressed.

Dominic Boyer has also recently demonstrated in his book Spirit and System that our knowledge making practices can be examined alongside theirs.

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As Boyer contrasts the theories of systems theorists with the epistemologies evinced within a drinking group stammtisch of journalists in East Berlin, Boyer notes that the system theorists necessarily posit themselves as outside the system looking in from without. At the very least we could at least try to more mindfully acknowledge and transform the conditions of our knowledge-making and reflexivity.

Over the past twenty or thirty years depending on who you ask , in anthropology especially, scholars have evinced new dedication to the notion of reflexivity. Since our own cultural mores play a role in both the research process and the eventual framing of the ethnographic text, scholars now challenge each other to be cognizant and honest regarding the impossibility of the precise objectivity aspired to once upon a time.

The reflexive turn that was ushered in by Jay Ruby , Clifford and Marcus , and others, was indubitably a turn in the right direction, but it is just that, a turn towards a path that we have yet to walk down. We have stopped cold—dead in our tracks—as afraid to face ourselves in the mirror as the garden variety eisoptrophobic. Why not be reflexive all the way down? We spar in conferences and seminars, and some of us even tentatively publish a review or article here and there, but few students would have the audacity to try to publish a book just as few monks at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics would have the gumption to practice the meditations they have been memorizing and debating.

Graduate students returning from the field have passed through a crucial rite of passage, and our options expand before us. My subject position as an ABD graduate student makes this an interesting moment for observation. I have both everything my future? Furthermore, conventions and etiquettes are always already fluid, so while one ought to be sensitive of where we stand at present, that knowledge should never foreclose movement towards another horizon.

It is possible that upon further reflection upon further reflection some scholars would feel that the anthropology of anthropology is as untenable and problematic as Sangren would have us believe. If the Buddha and Freud and oh so many others were right, then as humans we are all quite attached to our attachments and illusions, and putting them under scrutiny might be exceedingly painful.

At the very least, I believe the question is worth further exploration. Whatever others may decide for themselves, I fully intend to keep playing with the idea. The conversation itself is evidence of meditative thinking. Sangren may find that he has been guilty of it himself. But what could we learn by writing ethnographies of anthropological knowledge production practices?

What about using our theories of the subject to confront some of our own desires to publish, to teach, to reproduce ourselves and our ideas? Why not deploy our own theories on society on our own departments, conferences, and academic micro-cultures? Why not use our kinship theories to penetrate our own intellectual lineages?

Where is the ethnography of the AAAs? What about using our theories of the subject to destabilize some of the bloated egos that sometimes haunt our disciplines? Would this be obscenely extreme omphaloskepsis?

Meditations by Gelukpa Tibetan Monastics

On the contrary, I believe that it could mean meditating our way deeper towards something healthier, more honest, and more complete. Can a discipline self-actualize? I find myself wondering—what might meditative ethnography actually look like? I imagine an institution not paralyzed with the fear of self-analysis, and departments plagued by less neurosis, less drama, less suffering. I desire an experiment in the classroom of Myth and Ritual that would have students read our wide canon on theories of ritual, and then be invited to discuss the rituals of the university, and within the class itself, and to have them experience the power of some of our theories as tools for meditation on the moment: I imagine a field of anthropology in which more, not less, is on the table for critique, analysis and reflection.

I hope for a moment when the act of turning the tables helps us to recognize both the strengths and limitations of our theories past and present, so that with less attachment we continue to work towards the even better. I know that these moments happen, but I would urge us to push them forward out of the margins. I believe that thinking meditatively about our institutions in print, in class, in meetings, and in private would allow us greater confidence in our work, our discipline, in ourselves and in one another.

Why do we pack away our concentration and mindfulness along our notebooks, pens and tape-recorders when we return home from the field? In the quest for the truest truths possible, Tibetan Gelukpa monastics would arguably stand to gain from some of the methods and insights of ethnographic inquiry I have a feeling Derrida would have been very popular at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in Dharamsala , and we anthropologists may be able to learn something from our Tibetan comrades in reflective thinking.

My prescription for a more hopeful anthropological future does not hinge on this sort of appropriation, but it never hurts to explore our alternatives to Weber, Levi-Strauss, Bourdieu, Foucault and the next big thing. You are at the university; in the office, or in the library, or in the hallway of your department. Take a moment; stop; sit; concentrate.

Close your eyes, and breathe deeply—just for a few seconds. Once your mind is calm, you can begin. Open your eyes and observe single-pointedly. Watch the university swirl around you, and watch your mind swirl around the university. Do not judge, just observe quietly. Take it all in, but do not get swept away. Did you notice anything new about the university? What if we did this often, daily - how might it change our relationship to our academic habitus? The second type of Tibetan Buddhist meditation requires analytical concentration, so we anthropologists should be naturals at this.

We do this all day every day, of course, but generally, as I have already argued, we analyze them, not us. Choose a theory, any theory. What did Marx mean? Now think about the university—the students, the faculty, the staff, the grounds. Fix that theory upon us, analyze what we are doing, what we do, and what we say we do. Meditate on this for a while—fixate, concentrate, analyze.

Can you do it for twenty minutes, ten minutes? Come on, even five minutes. Does the theory you meditated on speak to your experience of the university in any way? What if we were committed to doing this sort of analysis on ourselves with any and all of our chosen theories? Try to focus on the qualities of this person that you respect, and establish a motivation to develop these qualities in yourself. I am curious whether meditative visualizations of our favorite theorists would further encourage a culture of guru devotion that already seems too prevalent in our institutions of higher learning.

Please do not misunderstand me — I am not suggesting that Tibetan Buddhist meditation techniques, Marx, or your once and future dissertation chair actually hold some sort of elusive key to life, the universe and everything. This interlude was not meant to be prescriptive, except in the sense that I would like us to shake things up a bit. This interlude was meant to show that meditative thinking can be fluid, fun even, and that there are dusty corners that we have left unexamined. Mirrors only serve as mirrors if we look into them. Looking into a mirror can be a deeply troubling, but powerfully formulative experience, and it can also give us a new, fresh perspective on what we never knew we never knew.

This essay has in and of itself served as a meditation for me about the horizons and limits of the theories and practices of my two chosen traditions: I had to look deeply into these very mirrors myself while trying to examine the potential benefits of doing so, and while I did reflect upon some of my spiritual and academic norms and assumptions, I have perhaps only managed the tip of an iceberg. So, perhaps you are wondering about the effects I have experienced through this meditation that we are just now concluding together.

Do I actually feel so much better off for having taken meditative thinking seriously? What was lost along the way? These, I think, are very, very useful questions, and quite a fine way to begin. In this paper, I will primarily refer to American anthropologists, but with the understanding that many of the patterns observed here are more widely though not universally relevant in university contexts.

My point is not that there is no difference between departments, and disciplines within the US, but I maintain that there is enough similarity to make some general statements about academic patterns of social behavior. Tibetan Buddhist clergy are in fact quite different across time, region, school, gender, etc.

Tibetan in exile monasteries are modeled on extant Tibetan monasteries which continue to function, albeit under different socio-historical contexts. I will focus here on monastic Gelukpas in exile in India. The paradox of Buddhist sociality within Buddhist monastic institutions are not entirely un-reflected upon in Buddhism writ large, as there are some who withdraw from the institutional duties of the monastery for meditation and deep study, like the Thai, Burmese or Ceylonese forest-dwellers Mendelson , Tambiah or the rare ascetic Tibetan monk Lopez Obeyesekere notes that the forest dwellers are caught in a Catch of sorts, since the more withdrawn and pious a forest dwelling community, the more lay people will gravitate to it, often forcing institutionalization: My work with Tibetan Gelukpa monks and nuns on meditation was not a primary, funded field project, but was rather a secondary question that I pursued while doing three other research projects with these communities and others on engaged Buddhism, holy objects, and transnational Tibetan Buddhism.

Meditation and Reflexivity Amongst American Anthropologists

Despite the fact that my research on this particular topic was secondary, I pursued it through formal and informal interviews, and took fieldnotes throughout. My interest was personal as well as academic; I desired to understand to what extent meditation and reflection were being practiced by sangha in various monasteries and nunneries, so that I might better contextualize my own Buddhist values and practices.

Other sects, such as Nyingmas and Kagyus, may have more institutionalized opportunities for meditation. Kagyu monasteries often offer three year meditation retreats, sometimes inside the monastic compounds. Outside of the Geluk context, Tibetan monasteries emphasize two types of engagement: Certain Tantrayana philosophy does suggest that with diligence in Tantric practice one could achieve enlightenment in a single lifetime, but in practice Tibetan Gelukpa monastics see this as a path for the very exceptional few, like Milarepa. This is, of course, excluding Tibetans who are running or teaching at transnational Tibetan Buddhist centers, such as the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition.

Western practitioners and their Tibetan gurus tend to foreground meditation much more than their counterparts in ethnically-Tibetan Buddhist institutions.


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  8. It is taken for granted that all conditioned phenomena are empty of inherent existence, but while one is encouraged to meditate on the emptiness of many things, people, places and even the self , the fact that one is not encouraged to meditate on the institutions and trappings of Buddhism is a conspicuous omission. Exceptions exist, but most are not well-known, mainstream or in wide circulation in Geluk monasteries.

    For example, Saraha, an Indian scholar overlooked by the Gelukpas, but popular in the Kagyu tradition, discusses how institutions, rituals, and so forth are empty of inherent existence. Arguably, although these moments of deep meditative thinking exist in a handful of texts, they are generally overlooked in monastic practice. It would be worth a longer exegesis on some of these textual exceptions, such as the social critique of monastics that could be imputed from the Virmalakirti Nirdesa Sutra Thurman and other works, but that task is beyond the purview of this essay.

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