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Meditation & Dharma Talks

“I teach only [about the causes of] suffering, and the [way to the] end of suffering” is a reported saying of Siddhartha Gautama. Meditation can help you see the sources of your suffering, overcome them, and find peace of mind & happiness.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu is currently my favorite resource for instructions on meditation. He offers almost 20 years of dharma talks.

Try listening to a dharma talk each day. Let the topic and 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.

Later, you might try meditating. Thanissaro’s meditation “how to” introduction book; With Each And Every Breath will give you detailed instructions on the meditation process right online.

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The @StarbucksSangha Twitter feed posts talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, along with talks by folks from the Insight Meditation Society.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu also has a collection of talks by theme (including “the basics”).

His YouTube page also offers both short morning and longer evening talks from his site.

If you know how to use an RSS reader, you can get alerts to monthly packets of talks as they are released (both in English & Pali), plus alerts to new essays via his RSS feed. Because this feed delivers audio packets as .zip files, and the essays are text, this feed is not for use with iTunes, but needs a true RSS reader. Not familiar with RSS readers? Try… feedly.com.

Meditation & the supernatural

One can meditate without any supernaturalistic beliefs. Gil Fronsdal describes what he calls Natural Buddhism in which he describes a view of meditation without supernaturalism.

Talks by others

Here are two additional sites that really helped me to begin you meditate. They publish new talks almost daily by a variety of people. Hearing the dharma explained in a variety of ways by a variety of people really helped me begin to grasp meditation in a way I had not when exposed to meditation in some of the general religious introductory books I read years ago. Perhaps they will be of help you as well.

dharmaseed.org talks archive

audiodharma.org talks archive

Useful sites / pages

accesstoinsight.org

The Buddha’s Teachings: An Introduction by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

The Four Noble Truths: A Study Guide, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

The Wings to Awakening - An Anthology from the Pali Canon, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)

Sutta Central

Suttas / The “Canon”

The Pāli Canon falls into three general categories, called pitaka (from Pali piṭaka, meaning “basket”, referring to the receptacles in which the palm-leaf manuscripts were kept). Because of this, the canon is traditionally known as the Tipiṭaka (“three baskets”). The three pitakas are as follows:

Vinaya Pitaka (“Discipline Basket”), dealing with rules or discipline of the sangha (the community).

Sutta Pitaka (Sutra/Sayings Basket), discourses and sermons of Buddha, some religious poetry and is the largest basket.

Abhidhamma Pitaka, treatises that elaborate Buddhist doctrines, particularly about mind, also called the “systematic philosophy” basket, likely composed starting about and after 300 BCE.

You won’t be able to walk into a book store and buy the Pali canon as a single book, like the Christian Bible, so don’t drive yourself crazy looking for it. Instead, you’ll have to find and acquire the suttas (texts) in pieces in various places. You should ease into the canon. Perhaps starting with… The Dhammapada, One of the most popular / beloved of Buddhist writing collections.

The Dhammapada - A translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu - table of contents

PDF version - a printed copy is also available for free by writing the Metta Forest Monastary, PO Box 1409, Valley Center, CA 92082

You might visit this Suttas page for a list of some of the more important texts.

Or… enjoy a random sutta.