Vipassana or insight meditation is a clear awareness of exactly what is happening as it happens. The practice fosters development of clarity and non-judgmental mindfulnessWe suggest following this material in order, beginning with Getting Started With Meditation, then the basic Buddhist teachings of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.
Getting Started with Meditation
Gil introduces you to the practice of mindfulness. This practice has value not only for meditation times but also for daily life. Mindfulness uses our capacity to be aware, which leads to clear seeing. Developing this awareness becomes a constant part of our lives.
Gil builds on your experience from Part 1. He explores the capacity to reflect and what it means to monitor the mind – the ability to be present for our experience without needing to judge the experience. We learn to watch and to develop our capacity to be calm.
The lovingkindness, or metta practice allows us to shape our minds and to create the conditions for happiness. We can learn to cultivate the quality of good-heartedness by developing the intention for someone else’s happiness.
Overview and Metta to Self
Metta to Benefactor and Friend
Metta to Neutral Person
Metta to Difficult Person
Guided Meditation on Forgiveness
Basic Buddhist Teaching
The Four Noble Truths
In this core buddhist teaching we learn that there is suffering in the world, there are causes for this suffering, there is the cessation of suffering, and there is a path to the cessation of suffering. These three teachers each offer their perspective and understanding of this core teaching.
Particular attention is paid to the impermanence of all conditioned phenomena, the unsatisfactory nature of sense pleasure, attachment to feelings, views, and self as the cause of suffering. Joseph also introduces the Buddhist concept of annata, selflessness.
Does getting what we want bring up happiness? Sally discusses the four noble truths not as a philosophy, but as a practical approach to freedom.
Carol explores the 4 Noble Truths as a basic context/description of life, suffering and freedom that serves to support and inform all our various methods of practice.
Understanding the four noble truths are an indispensable foundation for freedom. To begin one must fully understand the nature of suffering.
Suffering is driven by craving - for sense pleasure, for existence. We must turn towards our suffering and learn to be present for it.
Cessation comes from the letting go of craving. Liberation is achieved through non-clinging/non-craving. What is it to let go? What is my role in clinging? How can we experience the mind free of craving?
The Buddha understood that we can experience the cessation of suffering. He prescribed a path of letting go, of engaging with the day-to-day work of creating the path.
As expressed in the fourth noble truth, the Buddha provided us with a path to the cessation of suffering. That path is illuminated in the teachings on the Noble Eightfold Path. Each “fold” builds upon the previous one. The first two - Right View and Intention - aim us toward the development of wisdom and understanding. The next three - Right Speech, Action and Livelihood - provide a framework for ethical conduct, a means to build harmonious relationships with others and the world. The final three - Right Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration - instruct us on our mental development and meditation practices.