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See also Grounding, Being

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices (much like the term sports) that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.

"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone." ― Blaise Pascal, Pensées

"In this article, we expand our original framework to accommodate a broader range of traditional and contemporary meditation practices, grouping them into attentional, constructive, and deconstructive families. According to this model, the primary cognitive mechanisms in these three families are: (i) attention regulation and meta-awareness; (ii) perspective taking and reappraisal; and (iii) self-inquiry, respectively. To illustrate the role of these processes in different forms of meditation, we discuss how experiential fusion, maladaptive self-schema, and cognitive reification are differentially targeted by these processes in the context of Buddhist meditation, integrating the perspectives of other contemplative, philosophical, and clinical perspectives when relevant. The mechanisms and targets we propose are drawn from cognitive science and clinical psychology. Although these psychological processes are theoretically complex, as are the meditation practices that target them, we propose this novel framework as a first step in identifying specific cognitive mechanisms to aid in the scientific study of different families of meditation and the impact of these practices on well-being."


  • - or meditation seats are the body positions or asanas, usually sitting but also sometimes standing or reclining, used to facilitate meditation. Best known in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions are the lotus and kneeling positions; other options include sitting on a chair, with the spine upright.Meditation is sometimes practiced while walking, such as kinhin, or doing simple repetitive tasks, as in Zen samu, or work which encourages mindfulness.

  • - or Padmasana (Sanskrit: पद्मासन, padmāsana)[1] is a cross-legged sitting meditation pose from ancient India, in which each foot is placed on the opposite thigh. It is an ancient asana in yoga, predating hatha yoga, and is widely used for meditation in Hindu, Tantra, Jain, and Buddhist traditions.Variations include half lotus, bound lotus, and psychic union pose. Advanced variations of several other asanas including yoga headstand have the legs in lotus or half lotus. The pose can be uncomfortable for people unused to sitting on the floor, and attempts to force the legs into position can injure the knees.

Preliminary exercises;

  • Butterfly
  • Rocking child
  • Sitting triangle

  • - (literally "seated meditation"; Japanese: 座禅; simplified Chinese: 坐禅; traditional Chinese: 坐禪; pinyin: zuò chán; Wade–Giles: tso4-ch'an2, pronounced [tswô ʈʂʰǎn]) is a meditative discipline that is typically the primary practice of the Zen Buddhist tradition.[1][2] The precise meaning and method of zazen varies from school to school, but in general it can be regarded as a means of insight into the nature of existence. In the Japanese Rinzai school, zazen is usually associated with the study of koans. The Sōtō School of Japan, on the other hand, only rarely incorporates koans into zazen, preferring an approach where the mind has no object at all, known as shikantaza.


See also Buddhism, Satipaṭṭhāna Mūla

  • - one of three overlapping terms used in the nikayas to refer to the mind, the others being manas and viññāṇa. Each is sometimes used in the generic and non-technical sense of "mind" in general, and the three are sometimes used in sequence to refer to one's mental processes as a whole. Their primary uses are, however, distinct.

In the Pāli Canon's Sutta Pitaka's first four nikāyas, viññāṇa is one of three overlapping Pali terms used to refer to the mind, the others being manas and citta. Each is used in the generic and non-technical sense of "mind" in general, but the three are sometimes used in sequence to refer to one's mental processes as a whole. Their primary uses are, however, distinct

  • - (Sanskrit: caitasika; Pali: cetasika; Tibetan Wylie: sems byung), in Buddhism, are identified within the teachings of the Abhidharma (Buddhist psychology). They are defined as aspects of the mind that apprehend the quality of an object, and that have the ability to color the mind. Within the Abhidharma, the mental factors are categorized as formations (Sanskrit: saṅkhāra) concurrent with mind (Sanskrit: citta). Alternate translations for mental factors include "mental states", "mental events", and "concomitants of consciousness". Mental factors are aspects of the mind that apprehend the quality of an object and have the ability to color the mind.
  • Cetasikas - Cetasika means belonging to the mind. It is a mental factor which accompanies consciousness (citta) and experiences an object. There are 52 cetasikas. This book gives an outline of each of these 52 cetasikas and shows the relationship they have with each other. It will help the student have more understanding of the intricate operations of the mind enabling the development of good qualities and the eventual eradication of all defilements. It will help to understand that citta and cetasika act according to their own conditions and that an abiding agent (soul or self) is not to be found. The book assumes some previous knowledge of Buddhism.

"Friends, whoever — monk or nun — declares the attainment of arahantship in my presence, they all do it by means of one or another of four paths. Which four? "There is the case where a monk has developed insight preceded by tranquillity. [...] "Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity preceded by insight. [...] "Then there is the case where a monk has developed tranquillity in tandem with insight. [...] "Then there is the case where a monk's mind has its restlessness concerning the Dhamma [Comm: the corruptions of insight] well under control."

-- AN 4.170: Yuganaddha Sutta

"These two qualities have a share in clear knowing. Which two? Tranquillity (samatha) & insight (vipassana).

"When tranquillity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Passion is abandoned.

"When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Discernment is developed. And when discernment is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned.

"Defiled by passion, the mind is not released. Defiled by ignorance, discernment does not develop. Thus from the fading of passion is there awareness-release. From the fading of ignorance is there discernment-release."

-- AN 2.30: Vijja-bhagiya Sutta: A Share in Clear Knowing

Sukkhavipassaka - dry insight

Since the early 20th century the sukkhavipassaka doctrine and its practice have been reemphasized by eminent meditation monks in Burma, and later they spread to other Buddhist countries in Asia and beyond. Some scholars, nevertheless, have cast doubts on the authenticity of the sukkhavipassaka doctrine. They argue that it is a later development, not recorded in the Pāli Nikāyas since the form-sphere jhāna (Skt. dhyāna) is always necessary for the realization of arahantship, or even for stream-entry, the first stage of enlightenment.The first part of this thesis investigates the concept of the sukkhavipassaka in the four Nikāyas. Many suttas in the Pāli Nikāyas imply an acknowledgement of noble beings who lack form-sphere jhānas; also many meditative techniques described in the suttas can be practised in the so-called dry-insight way. However, it is in the Pāli commentarial literature, which is discussed in the second part of this thesis that the ukkhavipassaka doctrine appears in a full-fledged form. The Pāli commentaries not only specify the concentration that dry-insight practitioners use to develop insight knowledge, but also reveal the advantages and disadvantages of the dry-insight meditative approach. In the third part of this thesis, the canonical and commentarial materials related to the Susīma Suttawhich are preserved in schools other than the Theravāda are investigated. This thesis reveals that the concept of arahants who lack the first form-sphere jhāna is accepted not only by the Theravāda but also by the Sarvāstivāda, the *Satyasiddhisāstra, and the Yogacārabhūmiśāstra. Since various Buddhist schools in India unanimously advocate the idea that there are arahants who have not achieved the form-sphere jhāna,this research concludes that the dry-insight meditative approach and dry-insight arahants are not an invention by Theravādin commentators, but a common heritage which was most probably handed down from the time of the Buddha and then shared by various Buddhist schools.

Meditation sickness

But while studying with the poet-monk Bao, he had an experience that put him back on course. Struck by piles of books put out in the temple courtyard, books from many differing schools of Buddhism, he prayed to the gods of the Dharma to help him choose a path. Then he picked a book at random. It was a collection of Zen stories, and he dedicated himself to the practice of Zen for the rest of his life.Hakuin’s early exertions affected his health, and while he was still relatively young, he had a nervous breakdown. He called it Zen sickness and sought the advice of a Taoist cave dwelling hermit, who prescribed a visualisation and breathing practices. These eventually relieved his symptoms and from then on, Hakuin emphasised physical strength and health in his Zen practice. He often spoke of strengthening the body by concentrating the spirit. In his seventies, he claimed to have more physical strength than in his thirties and was able to sit in zazen meditation or chant sutras for an entire day without fatigue. ‘At the bottom of great doubt lies great awakening. If you doubt fully, you will awaken fully’

Zen students came from all over the country to study with him. His teaching (like his own practice) focused on zazen (sitting meditation) and koan study. A koan is a condundrum that you can’t solve with logic. However, the mind still tries to solve it, and the ensuing psychological pressure is meant to create a tension that leads to awakening. Hakuin called this ‘great doubt.’ ‘At the bottom of great doubt lies great awakening. If you doubt fully, you will awaken fully.’

Bhavana (cultivation)

  • - literally means "development" or "cultivating" or "producing" in the sense of "calling into existence." It is an important concept in Buddhist praxis (Patipatti). The word bhavana normally appears in conjunction with another word forming a compound phrase such as citta-bhavana (the development or cultivation of the heart/mind) or metta-bhavana (the development/cultivation of lovingkindness). When used on its own bhavana signifies 'spiritual cultivation' generally.

Single point


  • - translated as "one-pointedness", "concentration", "unification". Ekaggatā is defined as a mental factor that has the function to focus on an object.

  •āyana - a Sanskrit word that can mean "one path", "one vehicle", "convergence". It is used both in the Upanishads[citation needed] and the Mahāyāna sūtras.


  •āṭaka - the practice of staring at some external object. This fixed gazing is a method of meditation which involves concentrating on a single point such as a small object, black dot or candle flame. It is used in yoga as a way of developing concentration, strengthening the eyes, and stimulating the ājňā chakra.


  • - In Buddhism, kasiṇa (Pali; Sanskrit: kṛtsna) refers to a class of basic visual objects of meditation. The kasiṇa are typically described as a colored disk, with the particular color, properties, dimensions and medium often specified according to the type of kasiṇa. The earth kasiṇa, for instance, is a disk in a red-brown color formed by spreading earth or clay (or another medium producing similar color and texture) on a screen of canvas or another backing material. Kasiṇa meditation is a concentration meditation (variously known in different traditions as samatha, dhyana, or jhana meditations), intended to settle the mind of the practitioner and create a foundation for further practices of meditation. In the early stages of kasiṇa meditation, a physical object is used as the object of meditation, being focused upon by the practitioner until an eidetic image of the object forms in the practitioners mind. In more advanced levels of kasiṇa meditation, only a mental image of the kasiṇa is used as an object of meditation. Unlike the breath, Buddhist tradition indicates that some kasiṇa are not appropriate objects for certain higher levels of meditation, nor for meditation of the vipassana (insight) type.

There are ten kasiṇa mentioned in the Pali Tipitaka:

  • earth (paṭhavī kasiṇa)
  • water (āpo kasiṇa)
  • fire (tejo kasiṇa)
  • air, wind (vāyo kasiṇa)
  • blue, green (nīla kasiṇa)
  • yellow (pīta kasiṇa)
  • red (lohita kasiṇa)
  • white (odāta kasiṇa)
  • enclosed space, hole, aperture (ākāsa kasiṇa)
  • bright light (āloka kasiṇa)

Sati (mindfulness)

  • - translated as mindfulness or awareness, is a spiritual or psychological faculty (indriya) that forms an essential part of Buddhist practice. It is one of the seven factors of enlightenment. "Correct" or "right" mindfulness (Pali: sammā-sati, Sanskrit samyak-smṛti) is the seventh element of the noble eightfold path.

"And what is right mindfulness?

Here the monk remains contemplating the body as body, resolute, aware and mindful, having put aside worldly desire and sadness;

he remains contemplating feelings as feelings;

he remains contemplating mental states as mental states;

he remains contemplating mental objects as mental objects, resolute, aware and mindful, having put aside worldly desire and sadness;

This is called right mindfulness."

-- Sacca-vibhanga Sutta

"Refine and purify the mind of the last fine defilements that are present before you can attain deep meditation." -- Ajahn Brahmali

  • - Sanskrit: Anusmriti, means "recollection," "contemplation," "remembrance," "meditation" and "mindfulness." In Buddhism, anussati refers to either: specific meditative or devotional practices, such as recollecting the sublime qualities of the Buddha, which lead to mental tranquillity and abiding joy; or, meditative attainment, such as the ability to recollect past lives.


  • - (The Discourse on the Focus of Mindfulness) and the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta (The Great Discourse on the Focus of Mindfulness) are two of the most important and widely studied discourses in the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. The former is also found in the Āgamas of other early schools, and has been embraced by contemporary Mahayana practitioners such as Thich Nhat Hanh. These discourses (Pāli: sutta) provide a means for practicing mindfulness in a variety of contexts and potentially continuously.
    • body, feelings, mind, and dhammas


  • - meaning 'mindfulness of breathing' ("sati" means mindfulness; "ānāpāna" refers to inhalation and exhalation), is a form of Buddhist meditation now common to the Tibetan, Zen, Tiantai, and Theravada schools of Buddhism, as well as western-based mindfulness programs. Anapanasati means to feel the sensations caused by the movements of the breath in the body, as is practiced in the context of mindfulness. According to tradition, Anapanasati was originally taught by the Buddha in several sutras including the Ānāpānasati Sutta


  • - a Pāli term that is generally translated as "reflections on repulsiveness". It refers to a traditional Buddhist meditation whereby thirty-one parts of the body are contemplated in a variety of ways. In addition to developing sati (mindfulness) and samādhi (concentration), this form of meditation is considered conducive to overcoming desire and lust. Along with cemetery contemplations, this type of meditation is one of the two meditations on "the foul"/unattractiveness (Pāli: asubha).

The name for this type of meditation is found in the sectional titles used in the Mahasatipatthana Sutta (DN 22) and the Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10), where the contemplation of the 32 body parts is entitled, Paṭikkūla-manasikāra-pabbaṃ (which, word-for-word, can be translated as "repulsiveness-reflection-section"). Subsequently, in the post-canonical Visuddhimagga and other atthakatha works, paṭikkūlamanasikāra is explicitly used when referring to this technique. This form of meditation is mentioned in various suttas in the Pāli Canon.


  •ñña (Pāli; Skt.: saṃprajanya) means "clear comprehension", "clear knowing," "constant thorough understanding of impermanence", "fully alert" or "full awareness", as well as "attention, consideration, discrimination, comprehension, circumspection". Sampajañña is a Pali term used in the suttas; the equivalent Sanskrit term samprajaña is found in Sanskrit texts employed (in translation) by a variety of meditation teachers such as Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and in the Tibetan tradition.

"Herein (in this teaching) a monk lives contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief;

"he lives contemplating feelings in feelings, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief;

"he lives contemplating consciousness in consciousness, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief;

"he lives contemplating mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief."

"And how, meditators, does a meditator understand thoroughly? Herein, meditators, a meditator knows sensations arising in him, knows their persisting, and knows their vanishing; he knows perceptions arising in him, knows their persisting and knows their vanishing; he knows each initial application (of the mind on an object) arising in him, knows its persisting and knows its vanishing. This, meditators, is how a meditator understands thoroughly."

"In the above statement, it becomes clear that one is sampajana only when one realizes the characteristic of impermanence, and that too on the basis of experience of sensation (vidita vedana). If it is not realized through vedana, then it is merely an intellectualisation, because our fundamental contact with the world is based on sensation. It is directly through sensation that experience occurs. The statement further indicates that sampajana lies in experiencing the impermanence of vedana, vitakkavedana, vitakka (the initial application of the mind on an object) and sanna (perception). Here we should note that impermanence of vedana is to be realized first because according to the Buddha-"

"And how, meditators does a meditator understand thoroughly how does a meditator understand thoroughly?? Again, meditators, a meditator in going forwards and backwards understands impermanence thoroughly, in looking straight ahead and sideways understands impermanence thoroughly, in bending and stretching understands impermanence thoroughly, in chewing and drinking, eating and savouring understands impermanence thoroughly, in wearing the double fold robe, alms bowl and single fold robe (in the case of a monk), understands impermanence thoroughly, in attending to the calls of nature understands impermanence thoroughly, in walking, standing, sitting, sleeping and waking, speaking and remaining silent understands impermanence thoroughly. The same passage has been repeated in other suttas, including the section on sampajanna under kayanupassana in the Mahasatipatthana Suttamahasatipatthana sutta.

"The emphasis on continuity of sampajanna is very clear. One should develop constant thorough understanding of impermanence, in whatever one does, walking forward and backward, in looking straight and sideways, in bending and stretching, in wearing robes and so on. So much so, that in sitting, in standing and even in sleeping, one has to experience constant thorough understanding of impermanence. This is sampajanna. With proper understanding of the teaching of Buddha, it becomes clear that if this continuous sampajanna consists only of the thorough understanding of the processes of walking, eating and other activities of the body, then it is merely sati. If, however, the constant thorough understanding includes the characteristic of arising and passing away of vedana while the meditator is performing these activities, then this is panna. This is what the Buddha wanted people to practise."

A Brief History of Mindfulness

Satipaṭṭhāna and Samādhi

"One of the most common unquestioned assumptions among Buddhist meditators is that satipaṭṭhāna is synonymous with vipassanā. This assumption, it seems, often is a result of reading the Satipaṭṭhāna Suttas in isolation without carefully considering the context in which satipaṭṭhāna is used throughout the suttas. When the broader view of the entire Sutta Piṭaka is taken into account, it becomes clear that such an assumption is, at best, only partially correct. In this short study I will investigate the various contexts in which satipaṭṭhāna appears and in particular consider its relationship with samādhi."

"From the above it emerges that satipaṭṭhāna normally should be considered as a practice leading to samādhi and under special circumstances as a practice leading to deep insight. Furthermore, it appears that these two aspects of satipaṭṭhāna can be divided into two quite distinct stages. In accordance with the natural progression of meditation practice, (30) the first stage of satipaṭṭhāna is about attaining samādhi. Once samādhi has been achieved (i.e. the necessary condition for deep insight is in place), the mind is equipped to uncover the true nature of the five aspects of personality and realise the successive stages of awakening. This is the second stage of satipaṭṭhāna. Such a two-stage division of satipaṭṭhāna is in fact explicitly described in the suttas:

“… so these four focuses of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna) are the bindings for the mind of the noble disciple in order to subdue his habits from lay life, to subdue his distress, fatigue, and fever from lay life, and in order that he may attain the true way and realise extinguishment (nibbāna). “Then the Tathāgata trains him further: ‘Come, bhikkhu, contemplate an aspect of the body … feelings … mind … phenomena, but do not think thoughts of sense desire.’”

"Here the first stage of satipaṭṭhāna serves the purpose of abandoning refined hindrances. This is part of the path leading to samādhi. The second stage of satipaṭṭhāna is here characterised by sense desire having been abandoned, something suggesting that samādhi has been attained.

Modern / Western

to resort about

  • PDF: Is mindfulness Buddhist? (and why it matters). - Modern exponents of mindfulness meditation promote the therapeutic effects of "bare attention"--a sort of non-judgmental, non-discursive attending to the moment-to-moment flow of consciousness. This approach to Buddhist meditation can be traced to Burmese Buddhist reform movements of the first half of the 20th century, and is arguably at odds with more traditional Theravāda Buddhist doctrine and meditative practices. But the cultivation of present-centered awareness is not without precedent in Buddhist history; similar innovations arose in medieval Chinese Zen (Chan) and Tibetan Dzogchen. These movements have several things in common. In each case the reforms were, in part, attempts to render Buddhist practice and insight accessible to laypersons unfamiliar with Buddhist philosophy and/or unwilling to adopt a renunciatory lifestyle. In addition, these movements all promised astonishingly quick results. And finally, the innovations in practice were met with suspicion and criticism from traditional Buddhist quarters. Those interested in the therapeutic effects of mindfulness and bare attention are often not aware of the existence, much less the content, of the controversies surrounding these practices in Asian Buddhist history.

There are, in addition, philosophical objections to construing sati as bare attention.The popular understanding of bare attention presumes that it is possible to disaggregate pre-reflective sensations (what contemporary philosophers sometimes refer to as “raw feels” orqualia) from perceptual experience writ large. In other words,there is an assumption that our recognition of and response to an object is logicallyand/or temporally preceded by an unconstructed or “pure” impression of said object that can be rendered, at least with mental training, available to conscious experience. Mindfulness practice is then a means to quiet the ongoing chatter of the mind and to keep to the “bare registering of the facts observed.”Superficially, this notion of mindfulness as bare attention would seem tied to a view of the mind as a sort of tabula rasa or clear mirror that passively registers raw sensations prior to any recognition, judgment, or response.

The notion of a conscious state devoid of conceptualization or discrimination is not unknown to Buddhist exegetes; indeed, later Buddhist philosophers associated with praman (logic) andyogacara (mental construction) systems posit a “non-conceptual cognition” (nirvikalpajn ̃ana) that operates by means of “direct perception” (pratyaks_ajn ̃ana), and these authors use the imagery of the mirror to illustrate the relationship between pure mind and defiled object. This state is sometimes understood as preceding (or undergirding) the arising of conceptualization, or as an advanced stage of attainment tantamount to awakening. But while the notion of non-conceptual cognition became important in some yogacara systems (not to mention Tibetan Dzogchen), it remained at odds with the Theravada analysis of mind and perception. In Theravada abhidharma,consciousness and the object of consciousness emerge codependently and are hence phenomenologically inextricable. That is to say, the objects of experience appear not upon a preexistent tabula rasa, but rather within a cognitive matrix that includes affective and discursive dispositions occasioned by one’s past activity (karma).

The elimination of these attendant dispositions does not yield “non-conceptual awareness” so much as the cessation of consciousness itself. Arguing along similar lines, Paul Griffiths suggests that the closest thing to a state of unconstructed or pure experience in classical Indian Buddhist literature is nirodha samapatti — a condition in which both objects and conscious experience cease altogether (Griffiths, 1986, 1990; Sharf, 2014a). In such a framework, it seems misleading to construe any mode of attention or perception as “bare.” The psychological model behind Nyanaponika’s understanding of sati as bare attention may owe more to internalist and empiricist epistemologies than it owes to early Buddhist or traditional Theravada formulations (Sharf, 1998).Given the ambiguities surrounding sati, it is not surprising that the Mahası method quickly came under fire from a number of quarters, including both Theravada traditionalists in Southeast Asia and practitioners and scholars in the West. Critics object to (1) Mahası’s devaluation of concentration techniques leading to absorption (Pali: jhana); (2) claims that practitioners of the Mahası method are able to attain advanced stages of the path, including the four stages of enlightenment (Pali: ariya-magga), in remarkably short periods of time; and (3) the ethics of rendering sati as bare attention, which would seem to devalue or neglect the importance of ethical judgement.

In my own work on the roots of the Zen (Chinese: Chan) tradition in 8th-century China, I found that certain early Zen teachers seem to have turned away from traditional forms of meditation—repentance practices, meditations on corpses and the impurity of the body, and so on — in favor of instructing their disciples to simply set aside all distinctions and conceptualizations, and allow the mind to come to rest in the flow of the here-and-now (Sharf, 2014b). It may not be a coincidence that the teachers who advocated this new style of practice were also those who had garnered a sizable lay audience, an audience that presumably had little interest in monastic renunciation and little background in Buddhist doctrine. So these early Zen techniques, which went under the rubrics of “viewing mind”(kanxin), “discerning mind” (guanxin), “reflecting without an object” (wu suo nian), and so on, were, like “bare attention,” seen as direct approaches that circumvented the need for traditional dhyana attainments, for mastery of scripture and doctrine, and for proficiency in monastic ritual. In brief, the early Zen technique (or techniques — it is difficult to determine whether these terms were referring to one and the same practice) revolved around a seemingly simple figure–ground shift, where inattention is directed away from objects of any kind toward the abiding “luminosity” or “transparency” of mind or awareness itself. The early Zen reformers, like the Burmese reformers in the 20th century, were popularizers: they touted a method that was simple, promised quick results, and could be cultivated by anyone in a short period of time.

"I would draw attention to certain institutional and sociological parallels to the fact that the early Zen patriarchs and Dzogchen masters, like their modern Burmese counterparts, were interested in developing a method simple enough to be accessible to those who were unschooled in Buddhist doctrine and scripture, who were not necessarily wedded to classical Indian cosmology, who may not have had the time or inclination for extended monastic practice, and who were interested in immediate results as opposed to incremental advancement over count-less lifetimes. It is thus not surprising that the early Zen and Dzogchen teachers found themselves in the same position as Mahası: castigated for dumbing down the tradition, for devaluing ethical training, for misconstruing or devaluing the role of wisdom, and for their crassly “instrumental” approach to practice. ...

"To conclude, it is my impression that many of the psychologists, cognitive scientists, and sociologists doing research on Burmese style mindfulness practices seem to assume that the psychological benefits of such practice are born out by centuries of Buddhist experience. Such is not the case. To the extent that the modern approach to mindfulness can be found in premodern Asia, it was a minority position that was met with considerable criticism from traditional quarters. The nature of the criticism warrants our attention, as it parallels criticism directed against Mahası’s technique in modern Southeast Asia. Thus we hear the charge that such practices emphasize momentary states rather than long-term transformation,that they do not yield the benefits that are claimed on their behalf, that they are more Hindu than Buddhist, and that the overriding emphasis on inner stillness, in the absence of critical intellectual engagement with the teachings, can lead to a paralyzing state of self-absorption—what East Asian Buddhists have long identified as “meditation sickness” (Ahn, 2007).

"To be clear, I am not claiming that mindfulness has no therapeutic value. I am aware of the claims, based on a substantial body of empirical (if contested)data, that suggests it does. But my own experience among long-term meditators in Asian monastic settings as well as in American practice centers leads me to be somewhat skeptical, and I sometimes wonder if researchers in this area are asking the right questions of the right people. It is not just that advanced meditation practitioners in more traditional Asian settings may not exhibit the kinds of behavior that we associate with mental health. It is that, as Obeyesekere noted, it is not clear that they aspire to our model of mental health in the first place. And this, I submit, is the real challenge for those interested in the causal relationship between traditional forms of Buddhist meditation and the psychological and behavioral outcomes that such meditation is assumed to produce"

  • Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy (IMP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and training of mental health professionals interested in the integration of mindfulness meditation and psychotherapy, for the purpose of enhancing the therapy relationship, the quality of clinical interventions, and the well-being of the therapist.

  • Mind wandering and attention during focused meditation: a fine-grained temporal analysis of fluctuating cognitive states. - Studies have suggested that the default mode network is active during mind wandering, which is often experienced intermittently during sustained attention tasks. Conversely, an anticorrelated task-positive network is thought to subserve various forms of attentional processing. Understanding how these two systems work together is central for understanding many forms of optimal and sub-optimal task performance. Here we present a basic model of naturalistic cognitive fluctuations between mind wandering and attentional states derived from the practice of focused attention meditation. This model proposes four intervals in a cognitive cycle: mind wandering, awareness of mind wandering, shifting of attention, and sustained attention. People who train in this style of meditation cultivate their abilities to monitor cognitive processes related to attention and distraction, making them well suited to report on these mental events. Fourteen meditation practitioners performed breath-focused meditation while undergoing fMRI scanning. When participants realized their mind had wandered, they pressed a button and returned their focus to the breath. The four intervals above were then constructed around these button presses. We hypothesized that periods of mind wandering would be associated with default mode activity, whereas cognitive processes engaged during awareness of mind wandering, shifting of attention and sustained attention would engage attentional subnetworks. Analyses revealed activity in brain regions associated with the default mode during mind wandering, and in salience network regions during awareness of mind wandering. Elements of the executive network were active during shifting and sustained attention. Furthermore, activations during these cognitive phases were modulated by lifetime meditation experience. These findings support and extend theories about cognitive correlates of distributed brain networks.

  • Self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-transcendence (S-ART): a framework for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of mindfulness - Mindfulness—as a state, trait, process, type of meditation, and intervention has proven to be beneficial across a diverse group of psychological disorders as well as for general stress reduction. Yet, there remains a lack of clarity in the operationalization of this construct, and underlying mechanisms. Here, we provide an integrative theoretical framework and systems-based neurobiological model that explains the mechanisms by which mindfulness reduces biases related to self-processing and creates a sustainable healthy mind. Mindfulness is described through systematic mental training that develops meta-awareness (self-awareness), an ability to effectively modulate one's behavior (self-regulation), and a positive relationship between self and other that transcends self-focused needs and increases prosocial characteristics (self-transcendence). This framework of self-awareness, -regulation, and -transcendence (S-ART) illustrates a method for becoming aware of the conditions that cause (and remove) distortions or biases. The development of S-ART through meditation is proposed to modulate self-specifying and narrative self-networks through an integrative fronto-parietal control network. Relevant perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral neuropsychological processes are highlighted as supporting mechanisms for S-ART, including intention and motivation, attention regulation, emotion regulation, extinction and reconsolidation, prosociality, non-attachment, and decentering. The S-ART framework and neurobiological model is based on our growing understanding of the mechanisms for neurocognition, empirical literature, and through dismantling the specific meditation practices thought to cultivate mindfulness. The proposed framework will inform future research in the contemplative sciences and target specific areas for development in the treatment of psychological disorders.

V"alerie Gawron was one of those researchers, a renowned engineer with a PhD in aviation psychology who first started investigating F-16 crashes on Brooks Air Force Base in the '80s and '90s. Like NASA's early astronaut selection process, the Air Force had tried to choose pilots that might be resistant to certain motion and perception problems based on their body types. When that didn't work—anyone, as it happened, could become spatially disoriented—Gawron and her colleagues started taking a deeper look into what went wrong. ...

"Many of those pilots recounted positive feelings, even as they started making dangerous mistakes. Feelings like awe, reverence, and a sense of calm and "separation from the problems of the world" could all force them to take their aircraft into an unplanned maneuver. Pilots also experienced common illusions. One, called the "left hand of God" illusion, had pilots reporting that they felt a giant hand pressing down on one of the wings of their aircraft."

Samadhi (stillness/immersion)

Samatha (enduring tranquillity)

  • - the Buddhist practice (bhavana) of calming of the mind (citta) and its 'formations' (sankhara). This is done by practicing single-pointed or focused meditation. Samatha is common to all Buddhist traditions.
  • - or 'calm abiding' is also translated as ‘peacefully remaining’ or ‘tranquillity meditation’. Shama means ‘peace’, tha means ‘to dwell’ or ‘stability’. Shyi also means ‘peace’, né is ‘to abide’. There are two central meditation practices on the Buddhist path: calm abiding and clear seeing. The method of calm abiding is to work with the conceptual mind. When you are able to go beyond that and reach the domain of the wisdom of rigpa, it is called clear seeing or vipashyana (Skt.).

Prerequisites of Shamatha, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche says; "Generally for shamatha, we need what are termed the ‘three solitudes’ of body, speech and mind. Solitude of body and speech means to go to a secluded place and remain silent. Solitude of mind means to be free of the mental poisons." Khenpo Ngakchung explains that shamatha is divided into shamatha with an object and shamatha without a conceptual object.

  • - the time that is associated with the events perceived directly and in the first time, not as a recollection (perceived more than once) or a speculation (predicted, hypothesis, uncertain). It is a period of time between the past and the future, and can vary in meaning from being an instant to a day or longer. In radiocarbon dating, the "present" is defined as AD 1950. It is sometimes represented as a hyperplane in space-time, typically called "now", although modern physics demonstrates that such a hyperplane cannot be defined uniquely for observers in relative motion. The present may also be viewed as a duration (see specious present).

Buddhism and many of its associated paradigms emphasize the importance of living in the present moment — being fully aware of what is happening, and not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This does not mean that they encourage hedonism, but merely that constant focus on one's current position in space and time (rather than future considerations, or past reminiscence) will aid one in relieving suffering. They teach that those who live in the present moment are the happiest. A number of meditative techniques aim to help the practiser live in the present moment.

"In a correspondence between Bhikkhu Bodhi and B. Alan Wallace, Bodhi described Ven. Nyanaponika Thera's views on "right mindfulness" and sampajañña as follows,: ... I should add that Ven. Nyanaponika himself did not regard “bare attention” as capturing the complete significance of satipaṭṭhāna, but as representing only one phase, the initial phase, in the meditative development of right mindfulness. He held that in the proper practice of right mindfulness, sati has to be integrated with sampajañña, clear comprehension, and it is only when these two work together that right mindfulness can fulfill its intended purpose."

"The psychological facts underlying those religious experiences are accepted by the Buddhist and are well-known to him; but he carefully distinguishes the experiences themselves from the theological interpretations imposed upon them. After rising from deep meditative absorption (jhāna), the Buddhist meditator is advised to view the physical and mental factors constituting his experience in the light of the three characteristics of all conditioned existence: impermanence, liability to suffering, and absence of an abiding ego or eternal substance. This is done primarily in order to utilize the meditative purity and strength of consciousness for the highest purpose: liberating insight. But this procedure also has a very important side effect which concerns us here: the meditator will not be overwhelmed by any uncontrolled emotions and thoughts evoked by his singular experience, and will thus be able to avoid interpretations of that experience not warranted by the facts.

"Hence a Buddhist meditator, while benefiting from the refinement of consciousness he has achieved, will be able to see these meditative experiences for what they are; and he will further know that they are without any abiding substance that could be attributed to a deity manifesting itself to his mind. "

"True wisdom is always young, and always near to the grasp of an open mind."

"It is a significant fact and worth pondering upon that the Bible commences with the words: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth....", while the Dhammapada … opens with the words "Mind precedes things, dominates them, creates them". (difference of opinion, or mind as god?)

  • - posited in philosophy, psychology, and spirituality to be the state of unpremeditated, complete awareness of the present without preference, effort, or compulsion. the term was popularized in mid-20th-century by Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • Aeon: Inner peace - We yearn for silence, yet the less sound there is, the more our thoughts deafen us. How can we still the noise within? by Tim Parks

  • - a spiritual technique founded by Nirmala Srivastava, more widely known as Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi or as "Mother" by her followers, who are called Sahaja yogis. According to the movement, Sahaja Yoga is the state of self-realization produced by kundalini awakening and is accompanied by the experience of thoughtless awareness or mental silence. Sahaja Yoga is not only the name of the movement, but also the technique the movement teaches and the state of awareness achieved by the technique. The movement teaches the belief that self-realization through kundalini awakening is a transformation which results in a more moral, united, integrated and balanced personality.

  • Stillness and Awareness from Person to Person - By Astrid Schillings, Cologne. "In this paper I would like to clarify how Carl Rogers' "Therapeutic Core Conditions" can assume a meditative character in psychotherapy. I seek to differentiate the concept of 'presence' in so far as it can vary in meaning depending on the very depth from which we are communicating. Then I go on to illustrate how an understanding of self as process or as interaction - particularly after the further conceptual development by the philosopher and psychologist Eugene Gendlin and the resulting practice of Focusing - resonates with certain experiences from meditative contexts."

Jhāna / dhyāna (absorption)

  •āna_in_Buddhism - or Jhāna (झान) (Pāli) means meditation in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Buddhism, it is a series of cultivated states of mind, which lead to "state of perfect equanimity and awareness (upekkhii-sati-piirisuddhl)." Dhyana may have been the core practice of the earliest Buddhism, but became appended with other forms of meditation throughout its development.

For each Jhāna are given a set of qualities which are present in that jhana:

First Jhāna — the five hindrances have completely disappeared and intense unified bliss remains. Only the subtlest of mental movement remains, perceivable in its absence by those who have entered the second jhāna. The ability to form unwholesome intentions ceases. The remaining qualities are: "directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention"

  • - the initial application of attention to a meditational object. It is supplemented with vicara, "sustained thought," deepened attention toward an object.

Second Jhāna — all mental movement utterly ceases. There is only bliss. The ability to form wholesome intentions ceases as well. The remaining qualities are: "internal assurance, rapture, pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention"

Third Jhāna — one-half of bliss (joy) disappears. The remaining qualities are: "equanimity-pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention"

Fourth Jhāna — The other half of bliss (happiness) disappears, leading to a state with neither pleasure nor pain, which the Buddha said is actually a subtle form of happiness (more sublime than pīti and sukha). The breath is said to cease temporarily in this state. The remaining qualities are: "a feeling of equanimity, neither pleasure nor pain; an unconcern due to serenity of awareness; unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention".

  • - (Sanskrit: rūpadhyāna "meditations of form", literally "form meditations") are successive levels of meditation in which the mind is focused on a material or mental object: it is a word frequently used in Pāli scriptures and to a lesser extent in the Mahayana scriptures. Each higher level is harder to reach than the previous one as it relinquishes an attachment to one of the positive experiences of the previous state.

These first four jhānas can be characterized, in the commentaries[tbc], by certain factors called jhānaṅga/dhyānāṅga whose presence or absence in each rūpajhāna is summarized in the following table:

  • prepatory concentration
  • access/neighbourhood concentration (with visual/felt/imagery access/counterpoint sign)
  • fixed concentration
jhāna vitakka
& vicāra

(applied and
sustained thought)
paṭhama-jhāna * * * *  
dutiya-jhāna   * * *  
tatiya-jhāna     * *  
catuttha-jhāna       * *

  •ūpajhāna - or "formless meditations" are four successive levels of meditation on non-material objects. These levels are higher than the rūpajhānas, and harder to attain. In themselves, they are believed to lead to rebirth as gods belonging to the realm of the same name.

In the fourth rupajhana, there is already Upekkha, equanimity and Ekkagata, concentration, but the mind is still focused on a "material" object, as any color.

  • In the fifth jhana, the meditator discovers that there is no object, but only an infinite space, which is empty. This perception motivates the interest of claiming arupajhanas.
  • In the sixth jhana, it becomes obvious that space has no existence. There is only infinite consciousness.
  • In the seventh jhana appears the feeling that there is no consciousness, but nothingness.
  • The eighth jhana consists in the most discrete possible state of mind, which justifies the using of "neither perception nor non-perception".

Vipassanā (insight)

  •ā - or vipaśyanā, experiential insight into the true nature of reality which enables one to see, explore and discern "formations" (conditioned phenomena based on the five aggregates), exploring impermanence, suffering and non-self. "Looking into something with clarity and precision, seeing each component as distinct and separate, and piercing all the way through so as to perceive the most fundamental reality of that thing"

It is sometimes not suitable for some to attempt vipassanā conceptualisation practices without first steadying the mind through samatha. Forgoing progression with jhana is "dry insight".

  •ā-ñāṇa - or insight knowledges are various stages that a practitioner of Buddhist Vipassanā ("insight", "clear-seeing") meditation is said to pass through on the way to nibbana. This "progress of insight" (Visuddhiñana-katha) is outlined in various traditional Theravada Buddhist commentary texts such as the Patisambhidamagga, the Vimuttimagga and the Visuddhimagga. In Sarvastivadin abhidharma texts, the "path of insight" (darśana-mārga) one of the five paths of progress in the dharma and is made up of several jñānas also called "thought moments".

  • Abhidhamma And Vipasanna - Because mind, mental factors and matter are forever bound up with this fathom-long body, the study and learning of this subject, and the concentrated observation of the nature of mind, mental factors and matter are tasks which cannot be distinguished. Since at the very least one would have to say that there can be no Vipassana without an understanding of mind and matter, surely then it is not possible to separate Abhidhamma and Vipassana.

  •ṇasati - mindfulness of death, death awareness, is a Buddhist meditation practice that uses various visualization and contemplation techniques to meditate on the nature of death. The cultivation of Maranassati is said to be conducive to right effort and also helps in developing a sense of spiritual urgency (Saṃvega) and renunciation (Nekkhamma)

“You need to think about death for five minutes every day,” Ura replied. “It will cure you.” “How?” I said, dumbfounded. “It is this thing, this fear of death, this fear of dying before we have accomplished what we want or seen our children grow. This is what is troubling you.” “But why would I want to think about something so depressing?” “Rich people in the West, they have not touched dead bodies, fresh wounds, rotten things. This is a problem. This is the human condition. We have to be ready for the moment we cease to exist.”

Jñāna / ñāṇa (knowledge)

  •ñāna - pali: ñāṇa, a term for "knowledge" in Indian philosophy and religion. The idea of jnana centers on cognitive event which is recognized when experienced. It is knowledge inseparable from the total experience of reality.

In Tibetan Buddhism, it refers to pure awareness that is free of conceptual encumbrances, and is contrasted with vijnana, which is a moment of 'divided knowing'. Entrance to, and progression through the ten stages of Jnana/Bhimis, will lead one to complete enlightenment and nirvana. In the Vipassanā tradition of Buddhism there are the following ñanas according to Mahasi Sayadaw. As a person meditates these ñanas or "knowledges" will be experienced in order. The experience of each may be brief or may last for years and the subjective intensity of each is variable. Each ñana could also be considered a jhāna although many are not stable and the mind has no way to remain embedded in the experience. Experiencing all the ñanas will lead to the first of the Four stages of enlightenment then the cycle will start over at a subtler level.

  1. Analytical Knowledge of Body and Mind (nama-rupa-pariccheda-ñana) (corresponds to 1st jhana)
  2. Knowledge by Discerning Conditionality (paccaya-pariggaha-ñana)
  3. Knowledge by Comprehension (sammasana-ñana)
  4. Knowledge of Arising and Passing Away (udayabbaya-ñana) (corresponds to 2nd jhana)
  5. Knowledge of Dissolution (bhanga-ñana) (corresponds to 3rd jhana)
  6. Awareness of Fearfulness (bhayatupatthana-ñana)
  7. Knowledge of Misery (adinava-ñana)
  8. Knowledge of Disgust (nibbida-ñana)
  9. Knowledge of Desire for Deliverance (muncitu-kamyata-ñana)
  10. Knowledge of Re-observation (patisankhanupassana-ñana)
  11. Knowledge of Equanimity about Formations (sankhar'upekkha-ñana) (corresponds to 4th jhana)
  12. Insight Leading to emergence (vutthanagamini-vipassana-ñana)
  13. Knowledge of Adaptation (anuloma-ñana) (one-time event)
  14. Maturity Knowledge (gotrabhu-ñana) (one-time event)
  15. Path Knowledge (magga-ñana) (one-time event)
  16. Fruition Knowledge (phala-ñana) (corresponds to Nibbāna)
  17. Knowledge of Reviewing (paccavekkhana-ñana)



  • - Pali for "path of discrimination"; sometimes called just Patisambhida for short; abbrevs.: Paṭis, Pṭs) is a Buddhist scripture, part of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. It is included there as the twelfth book of the Sutta Pitaka's Khuddaka Nikaya. Tradition ascribes it to the Buddha's disciple Sariputta. It comprises 30 chapters on different topics, of which the first, on knowledge, makes up about a third of the book.


  • - a Buddhist practice manual, traditionally attributed to the Arahant Upatissa (c. 1st or 2nd century). It was translated into Chinese in the sixth century as the Jietuo dao lun 解脫道論 by Sanghapala. The original text (possibly Pali or Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit) is no longer extant, but the work has survived in Chinese. The book was probably written in India and then later brought to Sri Lanka.[2] According to Bhikkhu Analayo, some doctrines of the Vimuttimagga seem to be associated with those attributed to the Abhayagiri monastery by Dhammapāla.


  • - (Pali; English The Path of Purification), is the 'great treatise' on Theravada Buddhist doctrine written by Buddhaghosa approximately in 430 CE in Sri Lanka. It is a comprehensive manual condensing and systematizing the theoretical and practical teachings of the Buddha as they were understood by the elders of the Mahavihara Monastery in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is described as "the hub of a complete and coherent method of exegesis of the Tipitaka, using the ‘Abhidhamma method' as it is called. And it sets out detailed practical instructions for developing purification of mind." It is considered the most important Theravada text outside of the Tipitaka canon of scriptures.
  •ṭṭhāna - literally means the place of work. Figuratively it means the place within the mind where one goes in order to work on spiritual development. More concretely, it refers to the forty canonical objects of meditation, listed in the third chapter of the Visuddhimagga

"The following make forty subjects of meditation: ten kasinas, ten impurities, ten reflections, four sublime states, four formless states, one perception, and one analysis.

  • Here the ten kasinas are the earth-kasina, the water-kasina, the fire-kasina, the wind-kasina, the dark-blue kasina, the yellow kasina, the blood-red kasina, the white kasina, the light kasina, the limited-aperture kasina.
  • The ten impurities are: a bloated corpse, a purple corpse, a putrid corpse, a hacked-to-pieces corpse, a gnawed-to-pieces corpse, a scattered-in-pieces corpse, a beaten-and-scattered-in-pieces corpse, a bloody corpse, a worm-infested corpse, a skeleton-corpse.
  • The ten reflections are: reflection on The Buddha, reflection on the Doctrine, reflection on the Order, reflection on conduct, reflection on liberality, reflection on the gods, the contemplation of death, the contemplation of the body, the contemplation of breathing, reflection on quiescence.
  • The four sublime states are: friendliness, compassion, joy, and indifference.
  • The four formless states are: the realm of the infinity of space, the realm of the infinity of consciousness, the realm of nothingness, and the realm of neither perception nor yet non-perception.
  • The one perception is the perception of the loathsomeness of nutriment.
  • The one analysis is the analysis into the four elements.
  • Thus are they to be catalogued in respect to their names.

"After an exhaustive account of the various practices and meditative states discussed in the scriptures, Buddhaghosa turns to the ascending “stages of insight” that immediately precede the attainment of liberation. The eight stages of insight include “knowledge of dissolution,” “knowledge of appearance as terror,” and “knowledge of danger,” and Buddhaghosa resorts to vivid similes to capture the affective tone that accompanies these rarefied states. One of the most harrowing is found in the description of “knowledge of appearance as terror”:

"A woman’s three sons had offended against the king, it seems. The king ordered their heads to be cut off. She went with her sons to the place of their execution. When they had cut off the eldest one’s head, they set about cutting off the middle one’s head. Seeing the eldest one’s head already cut off and the middle one’s head being cut off,she gave up hope for the youngest, thinking, “He too will fare like them.” Now, the meditator’s seeing the cessation of past formations is like the woman’s seeing the eldest son’s head cut off. His seeing the cessation of those present is like her seeing the middle one’s head being cut off.

"His seeing the cessation of those in the future thinking, “Formations to be generated in the future will cease too,” is like her giving up hope for the youngest son, thinking, “He too will fare like them.” When he sees in this way, knowledge of appearance as terror arises in him at that stage. (Buddhaghosa,1956/1976, Vol. 2, p. 753) In other words, the emotional valence of this advanced stage of insight is likened to that of a mother being forced to witness the execution of all three of her sons.Could one imagine a more disturbing image of human anguish? Yet, according to Therav�ada teachings, it is necessary to experience such despair — to confront the unmitigated horror of sentient existence — so as to acquire the resolve necessary to abandon the last vestiges of attachment to things of this world. Obeyesekere would seem to have a point: states akin to what we identify as “depression” would seem to be valorized, if only for the insight they engender, on the Buddhist path.

-- Is mindfulness Buddhist? (and why it matters), Robert H. Sharf



  •āya - or body of mutual enjoyment which is a body of bliss or clear light manifestation; a "subtle body of limitless form". Both "celestial" Buddhas such as Bhaisajyaguru and Amitābha, as well as advanced bodhisattvas such as Avalokiteśvara and Manjusri can appear in an "enjoyment-body." A Buddha can appear in an "enjoyment-body" to teach bodhisattvas through visionary experiences. Those Buddhas and Bodhisattvas manifest themselves in their specific pure lands. These worlds are created for the benefits of others. In those lands it is easy to hear and practice the Dharma. A person can be reborn in such a pure land by "the transfer of some of the huge stock of 'merit' of a Land's presiding Buddha, stimulated by devout prayer. One of the places where the Sambhogakāya body appears is the extra-cosmic realm or pure land called Akaniṣṭha. This is one of the highest realms of the Śuddhāvāsa devas. Absolutely seen, only the Dharmakāya is real; the Sambhogakāya and Nirmanakaya are "provisional ways of talking about and apprehending it".
  • Nirmanakaya - created body which manifests in time and space


  •īpa - Buddhist text composed in Sanskrit by the teacher Atisha and widely considered his magnum opus. The text reconciles the doctrines of many various Buddhist schools and philosophies, and is notable for the introduction of the three levels of spiritual aspiration: lesser, middling and superior.


  • - a Japanese translation of a Chinese term for zazen introduced by Rujing, a monk of the Caodong school of Zen Buddhism. In Japan, it is associated with the Soto school.

  • - a technique developed by Zen teacher Dennis Merzel that merges Western psychological techniques (specifically Voice Dialogue therapy) with Buddhist conceptions of self and mind.

  • - a Zen term that means “ghost cave” or “devil’s cave.” It is a figurative reference to the kind of self-delusion that results from clinging to an experience and making a conceptual “nest” out of it for oneself. Makyo is essentially synonymous with illusion, but especially in reference to experiences that can occur within meditation practice.

Vipassana / Insight movement

  • Vipassana - As taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin

Mindfulness is

  • more than observing - beyond automatic thinking
  • free of desire, aversion or delusion
  • remembering to check in and look, to ask the question - what is the attitude in the mind now?
  • etc.
  • - (1728–1816) was a Burmese Theravada Buddhist monk credited with being the first author of extant modern vipassanā manuals and thus may have been the first practitioner in the modern vipassana movement. Medawi’s first manual dates from 1754. Medawi was highly critical of the Burmese attitude at the time, which did not see meditation as important and did not believe in that enlightenment was possible at the time due to the decline of the Buddha's teachings. Most believed that the only option left was to make enough merit to be reborn in the presence of the future Buddha, Metteya.

Metta / loving-kindness

  • Forgiveness Meditation - Created by Venerable Bhante Vimalaramsi. "Forgiveness meditation is a way of opening oneself up to the possibilities of true healing and love for oneself and others. The forgiveness meditation is a soft, gentle way of learning how to lovingly-accept whatever arises and to leave it be, without trying to control it with thoughts.

"Sometimes in our lives, there can be a feeling of letting someone down by not doing enough to help them. Of course this is just mind saying I should be better, I should have done better, I failed and I am not worthy and because of that I should suffer even more. There are memories of painful experiences from our past that follow us around and cause suffering. There are continuing disturbing situations that arise virtually every day in our daily lives.

"The forgiveness meditation is never to be used as a club to beat away a feeling of sadness, or anger, or frustration or any other kind of feeling. The forgiveness meditation is a soft, gentle way of learning how to lovingly accept whatever arises and to leave it be, without trying to control it with your thoughts.

"Of course, these blaming kinds of unwholesome thoughts and feelings don't have anything to do with reality nor does anyone need to blame themselves for their friends or family members decision to take their own life, or dive into depression or other feelings which cause difficulties. Forgiveness is applicable to a wide variety of attachments and the loss of loved one is only one of them. It leads to true compassion."

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Dhamma Wheel Forum: Bhante Vimalaramsi

  • – The home of the evolving Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha - This book assumes that its readers are interested in practicing deeply and realizing for themselves the teachings of the Buddha, in this body, in this life. It explains the Three Trainings of Morality, Concentration, and Wisdom, helping to clarify what each is designed to accomplish and explain how that is done in straightforward, empowering terms. It stands in contrast to many contemporary dharma books in that it explicitly assumes that mastery of the traditional states and stages of the path is attainable, as well as providing explicit warnings of the complexities that can arise on the path of attainment.





  • - mainly Neo-Confucian meditation practice, literal: "quiet sitting" / "sitting in silence", does not require the stopping of rational thought, but instead relies upon disciplined attention to one's current situation and mental phenomena





  • - form of meditation whose primary aim is the permanent and pleasurable resolution of suppressed negative emotions. The word "Vivation" comes from the Latin word vivé (to fully embrace life). Vivation integrates the core principles found in yoga, tantra, breathwork, and meditation into a unified process of healing and personal empowerment. Created by Jim Leonard in 1979, emphasis on maintaining awareness of the strongest feeling in the body on an ongoing basis.


Transcendental Meditation


  • - (Japanese: 内観, lit. “inside looking” or “introspection”) is a structured method of self-reflection developed by Yoshimoto Ishin (1916-1988) a businessman and devout Jodo Shinshu Buddhist who, as a young man, had engaged in an ascetic 'contrition' (mishirabe) practice involving sensory deprivation through dwelling in a dark cave without food, water or sleep. Wishing to make such introspection available to others he developed Naikan as a less difficult method which he first introduced to young people who had been incarcerated for committing crime and social disturbances. Later the practice was introduced to the general public. Naikan practitioners claim that Naikan helps people understand themselves and their relationships.

Naikan practice is based on three questions:

  • What have I received from (person x)?
  • What have I given to (person x)?
  • What troubles and difficulties have I caused to (person x)?

A related fourth question, "What troubles and difficulties has (person x) caused me", is purposely ignored in Naikan. (Naikan) presupposes that we're all naturally good at seeing answers to this fourth question, and that too much focus on this question is responsible for much of one's misery in day-to-day life.



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Dynamic meditation

  • - a form of meditation in which physical actions are involved. The term appears in the early 1970s when Osho's descriptions of his "Rajneesh Dhyan Yoga," developed at meditation camps in the Indian mountains, were translated into English. His prototypical method is still named "Dynamic Meditation."

The term has come into more general use to describe any approach to meditation that includes movement: examples are Sama and Haḍra among the Sufi mystics, the Gurdjieff movements, in the Dynamic Body Awareness (Conscience corporelle dynamique or Consapevolezza corporea dinamica) created in France by artist and anthropologist Martino Nicoletti and other sacred dances, Qigong and the many exercises developed in Buddhism and Taoism, in India those found in Yoga and Tantra, and the Latihan of Subud.




  • Mindfulness Research Guide is a comprehensive electronic resource and publication database that provides information to researchers, practitioners, and the general public on the scientific study of mindfulness.


  • The Dharma Overground is a resource for the support of hardcore meditation practice. It is a place where everything related to the support of practice may flourish, including where to go on retreats, what techniques may lead to what, an in depth look at the maps of possible states and stages, discussions about how to determine what experience was what, and in general anything that has to do with actually practicing rather than what typically occurs in standard meditation circles. Here you will find a robust and variable community of people with a wide range of experience levels, perspectives and interests, though all loosely bound by the same basic principles of empowering, helpful, engaged dharma and exploration of the possibilities of the mind.
  • Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha - An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book] - Arahat Daniel M. Ingram, MD MSPH. A practical and technically detailed manuals for high-level insight and concentration practice available, and its maps of spiritual terrain and advice for navigating in unusual territory are world-class. The book is about 392 pages. In 2007 and 2008 I rewrote a substantial portion of the chapter on the Models of the Stages of Enlightenment. The current version is also available at the Dharma Overground Wiki in wiki form, and compiled in Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, Adobe/.pdf version, Revised 2007 version: Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha

Five faults

  1. Laziness (Tib. ལེ་ལོ་, Wyl. le lo) – there are three kinds: (i) lethargy, (ii) attachment to negative behaviour, and (iii) despondency
  2. Forgetting the instructions (Skt. upadeśa saṃpramoṣa; Tib. བརྗེད་པ་, Wyl. brjed pa). These first two faults are obstacles in the beginning.
  3. Dullness and Agitation (Tib. བྱིང་རྒོད་, Wyl. bying rgod) – there are subtle and gross forms to both dullness (Tib. བྱིང་པ་, Wyl. bying pa) and agitation (Tib. རྒོད་པ་, Wyl. rgod pa). These are obstacles during the actual practice of meditation.
  4. Under-application (Skt. anābhisaṃskārapratipakṣa; Tib. འདུ་མི་བྱེད་པ་, Wyl. ‘du mi byed pa) – this occurs when one recognizes the presence of dullness or agitation but fails to apply the antidote
  5. Over-application (Skt. abhisaṃskārapratipakṣa; Tib. ཧ་ཅང་འདུ་བྱེད་པ་, Wyl. ha cang ‘du byed pa) – this occurs when one recognizes the presence of dullness or agitation, applies the antidote, and then continues to apply it even when dullness or agitation are no longer present. These last two faults are obstacles to the further development of one’s meditation.
  1. Aspiration, or interest (Tib. མོས་པ་, möpa)
  2. Exertion (Tib. རྩོལ་བ་, tsolwa)
  3. Faith (Tib. དད་པ་, dépa)
  4. Pliancy, or flexibility (Tib. ཤིན་སྦྱངས་, shinjang)
  5. The fifth antidote, which is the antidote to the second fault, forgetting the instructions or the object of focus, is mindfulness (Tib. དྲན་པ་, drenpa).
  6. The sixth antidote, which is the antidote to dullness and agitation, is awareness (Tib. ཤེས་བཞིན་, shé shyin).
  7. The seventh antidote, which is the antidote to the fourth fault, under-application, is attention (Tib. སེམས་པ་, sempa).
  8. The eighth antidote, which is the antidote to the fifth fault, over-application, is equanimity (Tib. བཏང་སྙོམས་, tang nyom).

  • - one-pointed, intentness in the pursuit of one object, close and undisturbed attention. Tapas and Brahmacharya are part of the Vedic exercises meant for attaining self-control. The Upanishads emphasise on the practice of austere virtues; tapas destroys sins, weakens indriyas, purifies citta and leads to ekagrata. The Yoga school also lays equal emphasis on self-control and gain of Abhyasa through regular practice of meditation, through self-imposed discipline to prevent detraction of thought and to acquire Ekagrata.

"All these approaches have the common elements of CBT (recognizing and challenging maladaptive thoughts) and a version of meditation that goes under the moniker “mindfulness meditation” or sometimes just “mindfulness.” A review of the treatment manuals for DBT, ACT, MBSR and MBCBT suggest that “mindfulness meditation” is something close to a “soft-vipassana.” The person doing meditation in these treatment protocols is instructed to watch thoughts and feelings come and go on their own without judgment. This leads to the insight that one does not need to believe in, or act on, thoughts or feelings. This is perfect for CBT, which emphasizes the importance of thoughts and beliefs as the drivers of mood disorders. I call mindfulness meditation a “soft” version of vipassana because it stops short of instructing the person to see that everything in awareness is coming and going and is not owned. It also does not emphasize the kind of intense or rapid momentary concentration that marks some vipassana techniques. Instead, clinical mindfulness focuses on relaxation and gentleness (but not samadhi) and points the person to watch thinking and emotional reactions. I would argue that these differences are a very good thing because, despite popular opinion, traditional vipassana would be terrible medicine for a person who is emotionally distraught, unstable, and unable to cope."

  • - technique for learning to monitor and control the state of muscular tension. It was developed by American physician Edmund Jacobson in the early 1920s. Dr Jacobson wrote several books on the subject of Progressive Relaxation. The technique involves learning to monitor tension in each specific muscle group in the body by deliberately inducing tension in each group. This tension is then released, with attention paid to the contrast between tension and relaxation. These learning sessions are not exercises or self-hypnotism.

Autogenic training

Wake Up Movement




  • - unconscious phenomena include repressed feelings, automatic skills, subliminal perceptions, thoughts, habits, and automatic reactions, and possibly also complexes, hidden phobias and desires. It has been argued that consciousness is influenced by other parts of the mind. These include unconsciousness as a personal habit, being unaware, and intuition. Terms related to semi-consciousness include: awakening, implicit memory, subliminal messages, trances, hypnagogia, and hypnosis. Some critics have doubted the existence of the unconscious. In psychoanalytic terms, the unconscious does not include all that is not conscious, but rather what is actively repressed from conscious thought or what a person is averse to knowing consciously.

Erich Fromm contends that, "The term 'the unconscious' is actually a mystification (even though one might use it for reasons of convenience, as I am guilty of doing in these pages). There is no such thing as the unconscious; there are only experiences of which we are aware, and others of which we are not aware, that is, of which we are unconscious. If I hate a man because I am afraid of him, and if I am aware of my hate but not of my fear, we may say that my hate is conscious and that my fear is unconscious; still my fear does not lie in that mysterious place: 'the' unconscious."

  • Psychology of the unconscious : a study of the transformations and symbolisms of the libido : a contribution to the history of the evolution of thought (1916) - Jung, Hinkle
  • - a set of mental processes influencing judgement and decision making, in a way that is inaccessible to introspective awareness. This conception of the unconscious mind has emerged in cognitive psychology. It was influenced by, but different from, other views on the unconscious mind such as Sigmund Freud's.



To sort

  • - a psychological test commonly used to investigate selective attention within the auditory system and is a subtopic of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Specifically, it is "used as a behavioral test for hemispheric lateralization of speech sound perception." During a standard dichotic listening test, a participant is presented with two different auditory stimuli simultaneously (usually speech). The different stimuli are directed into different ears over headphones.[2] Research Participants were instructed to repeat aloud the words they heard in one ear while a different message was presented to the other ear. As a result of focusing to repeat the words, participants noticed little of the message to the other ear, often not even realizing that at some point it changed from English to German. At the same time, participants did notice when the voice in the unattended ear changed from a male’s to a female’s, suggesting that the selectivity of consciousness can work to tune in some information."

Sensory deprivation goes from CIA torture manuals to a yoga studio near you.

  • - also known as Todd's syndrome or lilliputian hallucinations, is a disorienting neurological condition that affects human perception. Sufferers experience dysmetropsia (micropsia, macropsia, pelopsia, teleopsia) or size distortion of other sensory modalities.