BASIC BUDDHIST MEDITATION
• Dissatisfaction (suffering, difficulty, discomfort) arises.
• Dissatisfaction is caused by struggling (a.k.a. craving, attachment, reactive emotion).
• Dissatisfaction can be ended.
• The path to end dissatisfaction is bringing attention and skillful response to every aspect of experience:
understanding, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, meditation, attention.
REACTIVE PATTERNS: THREE POISONS
The reactive patterns that create dissatisfaction are due to misperceiving the nature of our experience.
• We ignore how things are.
• We crave experiences we like.
• We reject experiences we don’t like.
Through cultivating attention we come to know how things are, so we can discriminate between actions that lead
to dissatisfaction and actions that relieve dissatisfaction.
ATTENTION: STABILITY & CLARITY
Buddhist meditation is the cultivation of attention. Attention is comprised of stability (shamatha) and clarity
(vipashyana). Attention is a volitional physical and emotional energy mixed with experience as it arises.
• Stability comes from returning to the naturally breathing body, and resting in that experience.
• Clarity is the clear seeing that comes from looking (listening, feeling) deeply into our experience.
FOUR FOUNDATIONS OF AWARENESS
• Experience consists of sensations that evoke
• Feelings of like, dislike, indifference. which evolve into
• Thoughts and emotions and
• Dualistic consciousness that separates awareness (self) from experience (objects).
FIVE HINDRANCES TO STABLE & CLEAR ATTENTION
• Busyness: distraction, obsessive thinking, emotional drama. Relax and rest in the breathing body.
• Dullness: sinking, torpor, laziness. Look deeply into sensations and feelings as they arise.
• Attachment: craving certain experiences. Recognize attachment and return to the breathing body.
• Aversion: rejecting certain experiences. Recognize aversion and return to the breathing body.
• Doubt: circular thoughts and emotions that derail our cultivation of attention. Drop expectations about the
results of practice, and return to the method: rest in sensations, feelings, thoughts and emotions as they arise.
PURPOSE, METHOD, EFFECTS, & RESULT OF PRACTICE
• Purpose: to dismantle the reactive patterns that create suffering for ourselves and others.
• Method: return to the natural breathing of the body, and rest in sensations, feelings, thoughts as they arise.
• Effects: vivid awareness of pleasant and unpleasant sensations, feelings, thoughts, and emotions.
• Result: stable and clear attention that enables us to discriminate what is skillful and what is not.
BRINGING ATTENTION TO EVERY ASPECT OF EXPERIENCE
We can end our suffering by knowing the nature of our experience and choosing between skillful and unskillful
thoughts, words, and deeds. We need to know how to cultivate attention; we need to build
our capacity in attention by practicing consistently; we need to be willing to open to experience as it arises.
With stable and clear attention, we have the possibility to take responsibility for our experience and actions.
May all beings everywhere,
Seen and unseen,
Dwelling far off or nearby,
Being or waiting to become:
May all be filled with lasting joy.