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Dharma Talks & Meditation

Meditation can help you see the sources of your suffering, help you overcome them, and help you find happiness & peace of mind.

Try listening to a dharma talk each day. Use the “Play random talk” at the top of the page this link takes you to, 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.

The @StarbucksSangha Twitter feed posts new talks each day.

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.

BTW… one of the things I’ve heard Thanissaro Bhikkhu recommend in his dharma talks is, and what I get from the environment in which they are recorded, is that they are done in front of a group of meditators, and are done to help the meditator, perhaps ease them into a meditation? But he also indicated that this group after listening to the dharma talk continues to meditate for the remainder of an hour. And, he has mentioned that the meditator should listen to the dharma talk in the background, and only partially focus on the talk, but concentrate mainly on the breath. Keep this in mind, and perhaps use the talks at the top of the page in combination with your meditation, as instructed in the how to book.

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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.

Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace) (2012), by Chade-Meng Tan, Daniel Goleman, Jon Kabat-Zinn. Chade-Meng Tan, Google engineer and employee 107, brought mindfulness meditation to Google, and now is doing the same to the wider world. He compares his goals of spreading mindfulness meditation to the spread of the understanding of the value of exercise. This book can teach you about meditation with no supernaturalistic ideas.

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 to you as well.

audiodharma.org talks archive

dharmaseed.org talks archive

Other 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

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation, by Gil Fronsdal - 9 lecture series

Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn // YouTube

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 reading a random sutta.