Meditation is training / exercise for the mind. Theravada Buddhist meditation’s ultimate goal is to help you retrain how your mind thinks so that you can become free of suffering. You will be able to train yourself to change the type of thoughts you have. And will be able to reduce and eventually stop having thoughts that cause you to suffer. As you become more and more free of the suffering, caused by your mind, you will find yourself becoming more and more happy, joyful, peaceful, and kind… both to yourself, and to those around you.
You don’t have to shave your head, sell your possessions, and wear robes for meditation to help you. Listening to short “dhamma talks” (from the right teachers), and meditating for even 10 minutes a day can completely change your life.
Below you will find various links to extensive talk collections, and even some meditation manuals from the two teachers who helped me learn to meditate. But, be aware… the page below has been complex for many. It’s goal is to simply give you different ways to listen to…
These to links are all you need in my humble opinion. So, if scrolling down the page confuses you as to what to do… come back up here and listen to the talks on the two pages above.
Ok… so, I’m now going to contradict myself, and say… you might want to start by listening to the first chapter of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s meditation guide. It’s a good big picture overview of what’s happening.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu (also known as Ajahn Geoff) is an American Theravada Buddhist monk. Belonging to the Thai Forest Tradition, for 10 years he studied under the forest master Ajahn Fuang Jotiko (himself a student of Ajahn Lee). Since 1993 he has served as abbot of the Metta Forest Monastery in San Diego County, California - the first monastery in the Thai Forest Tradition in the US - which he cofounded with Ajahn Suwat Suvaco.
The way his site is setup appealed to me when I first started listening to dharma talks.
Get started by listening to “The Basics”, A graduated series of 50 dhamma talks for meditators, starting with breath meditation and leading through issues of discernment. Don’t be overwhelmed, start by listening to just one of these talks each day (the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step), and you’ll have completed the series before you know it. An expanded version of this series (64 talks) is also available on YouTube.
Then, continue to listen to a dharma talk each day. Use the “Play random talk” at the top of the Evening Dhamma Talks Full Archive, to make doing this easy. Let the topic and the sound of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s voice wash over you. Make it a daily ritual, and I think that within a month you will begin to see some definite results. You can also find a page where the talks are collected by theme and this can be useful at times as well.
Try meditating yourself. Thanissaro’s meditation manual / instruction book; With Each And Every Breath will give you detailed instructions on the meditation process. The book is available free to read online, download as a PDF, and other formats. Here is a link to the introduction, and here is a link directly to the basic instructions.
You can eventually start reading texts. The random sutta page displays different sutta each time the page loads
Gil Fronsdal is the senior guiding co-teacher at the Insight Meditation Center (IMC) in Redwood City, California and the Insight Retreat Center in Santa Cruz, California. He started Buddhist practice in 1975, and has been teaching for IMC since 1990. Gil is an authorized teacher in two traditions: the Insight Meditation lineage of Theravada Buddhism of Southeast Asia, and Japanese Soto Zen. He holds a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford. He is a husband and the father of two sons.