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Where to start? - Dhamma Wheel

Where to start?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Coyote
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Where to start?

Postby Coyote » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:01 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm sure there are many of these threads and they are probably made often, but I think that each one is tailored to the individual poster, so I made a new one for me.

The introductory material and resources linked in the sticky threads of this forum are very helpful and I have gathered a lot of links which are very helpful to me. The problem is that I feel very overwhelmed because there is so much and it is all very unfamiliar to me. It is not that there is not enough or the right information out there, but I don't know where to start. I don't really understand the differences between or aims of vipassana, samatha and metta meditations.
So any points in the right direction for information on meditation types, aims and instructions would be very helpful. I have read that different teachers advocate different things - so, is there any particular teachers that have audio talks that are particularly aimed at people who know next to nothing about meditation in the Theravada tradition? Over the last few days I have been listening to the "Basic" set of 50 talks by Thanissaro Bhikku, but he doesn't go much into the theory, which would probably be more helpful for me.


Regards,

Coyote
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

Nicro
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:48 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Re: Where to start?

Postby Nicro » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:19 pm

Vipassana is aimed at insight, Samatha at Jhana, and Metta is loving kindness.

Meditation instruction:

http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Pra ... tical.html

Also these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLvU7ppM ... B03E12F5A1


Any other specific things you are interested in?

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Where to start?

Postby daverupa » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:49 pm

Have a look , for starters. Included is:

Beginning meditation

A Guided Meditation, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Buddho, by Ajaan Thate
Starting Out Small: A Collection of Talks for Beginning Meditators, by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo

Reading the Suttas

Befriending the Suttas:
Why should I read the suttas?
Which suttas should I read?
How should I read a sutta?
The Buddha's first sermon
Read a random sutta

Coyote
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Where to start?

Postby Coyote » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:12 pm

My thanks to both of you. I was also looking for an introduction to the suttas, so thanks for that DaveRupa
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

chownah
Posts: 6161
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Where to start?

Postby chownah » Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:03 am

Coyote,
No need to get stressed and confused. If you are still befuddled by all the options then you can try something very simple that is free and not habbit forming. Just sit down and try to just feel the breath going in and out of your body and try to not think about anything else....where you feel the breath doesn't matter so much...at the nose...at the stomach...in the chest is not so good but if that is where you feel it the best then maybe starting there is ok because chest breathing is not so relaxed.....

I bet you can't do it for long...you will almost assuredly start thing about other things!!!!! Don't worry!!!! This is what always happens at first....just keep trying....don't get upset when your mind wanders..don't get angry or chastise yourself.....it doesn't matter and is normal...just keep trying......stay calm.....you are doing the right thing everytime you see your mind is wandering....and you are doing the right thing when your mind is not wandering.....just keep trying......stay calm......

This is a good place to start....do this twice a day for 20 minutes at a time and increase the time to a half hour if you can.....even more is better but half an hour twice a day should give some kind of results in a couple of months...maybe less....

Doing this will help you to be calm enought to keep reading and learning about meditation in more detail and will help you to try some of the new things you will learn about.

If for some reason you are not able to do this then there are even easier ways to get started but for most people what I have described is possible and a good place to start.
chownah

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rowboat
Posts: 700
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:31 am
Location: Brentwood Bay

Re: Where to start?

Postby rowboat » Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:39 am

Coyote, some terrific meditation resources have already been suggested so I'd just offer you what I consider to be the best concise introduction to the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Noble Eightfold Path: The Way to the End of Suffering by Bhikkhu Bodhi. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html

:buddha2:
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

Coyote
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Where to start?

Postby Coyote » Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:14 pm

"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Where to start?

Postby daverupa » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:08 pm


Coyote
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Where to start?

Postby Coyote » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:39 pm

"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

chownah
Posts: 6161
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Where to start?

Postby chownah » Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:43 am

Coyote,
It has become common for people to label a meditation technique by giving it the name of what state of mind it is supposed to bring about.....so in this way anytime someone meditates with the purpose of bringing about vipassana they might call this vipassana meditation.....this is just common language usage and as daverupa has pointed out this is not really the original way these words were used.
The simple instructions I gave you are a very simplified form of breath meditation which when done in a more well defined way is called anapanasati which is the kind of meditation which daverupa suggest you try......I gave you those simplified instruction precisely because it is an introduction to anapanasati which is a very powerful and versatile type of meditation which comes highly recommended by the Buddha.
I guess now that you know about anapanasati I would advise that you immediately start your twice daily 20 min sessions of seated breathing exercise as I described and start to read every day a bit about anapanasati.....if you do that I think that you can very quickly find more detailed instructions for anapanasati and then changing your meditation over to anapanasati should be very easy in that what I've suggested is sort of going in the right direction in the beginning.
chownah
P.S. Just remember to stay calm...if you notice your mind wandering you might think that this is failure but seeing that it has wandered is actually a success!!! The wandering mind is normal and should be expected....noticing that it is wandering is the first step in understanding the mind and how to get it focused and concentrated...it will take awhile...it is worth the effort so stay calm and don't give up.....
chownah

PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Where to start?

Postby PeterB » Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:19 am

Coyote I see that you live in Wales...which is packed with Buddhist centres, many of them dating back to the long gone era when property in Wales was less expensive than in England...and dozens of Buddhist groups purchased old Rectories and hotels and country houses..there might be more places in Wales to learn meditation than in London !
My advice would be ...forget books....at least for the time being. Ignore would- be online pundits. including me.
Find your nearest centre attached to a recognised Buddhist organisation ( which would include all of the centres on the list that Bhikkhu Pesala gave you ) and go there...they will almost certainly teach Samatha and/or Vipassana meditation....become known to them personally.

Best wishes.

:anjali:

Coyote
Posts: 845
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Where to start?

Postby Coyote » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:18 pm

"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Where to start?

Postby PeterB » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:29 pm

I am glad that you are finding support.

When i was a student I used to hitchhike and/or bus to East Sheen near Putney from Reading where I was living to attend Sunday Vipassana lessons. It was about 30 miles.

:anjali:


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