These meditations are the culmination of a five year daily meditation dieta – a personal internal resolving of dharma and experience – wisdom (Paññā) & mental discipline (Samādhi) — following the path to the best of my ability, laid out by the Buddha in the Ānāpānasati Sutta, the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta and including Buddhist and Vedic concepts and practices from a variety of traditions.
One of my many, and definitely most costly mistakes, was to ignore Sīla (ethical conduct). Cosmology and philosophy can be seductive, even – or especially – seen through the lens of clinging to impermanence, not self and the truth of suffering without the practical and altruistic grounding of basic ethical conduct. So be warned – in my experience, right speech, right action and right livelihood are not “concepts” to be explored – Sīla is a daily practice as practical and deep as mindfulness and studying the dharma.
This exploration is not presented as singular or correct and whether it has worked for me or not in the long run remains to be seen. If it works for you, great. But all traditions are clear: we have to find out for ourselves — we have to make our own way on the path – not alone, but for ourselves.
My primary insight to date with regard to practice is this: there is one dharma. All mystic and meditative traditions are describing the same basic experience of fundamental reality using references and language that make sense within their specific cultural landscapes and, more frequently than we admit, guru ego.
Is Mu different from emptiness, from Buddha nature, from Brahmin and Atman, from deathlessness, not self and non-duality? My experience lead me to believe no — they are all part of a continuum of experience – wave and form – that is in the end ill-served by language, dogma and concept.
That said, form is real and required. Skillful means and provisional truths are not only part of the path, they are the path. The trick in the end is to not attach – to let go.
My inquiry relied heavily on the work and dharma of, in no particular order:
Joseph Goldstein; Thanissaro Bhikkhu; Robert Thurman; Bhikkhu Bodhi; Reginald Rey; Tsultrim Allione; Christopher Wallis; Daniel Ingram; Samaneri Jayasara; Sri Swami Tadatmananda Saraswati; Lama Surya Das; Ram Das; Sharon Salzberg; Krishna Das; Bhagavan Das; Dan Harris...
His Holiness the Dalai Lama; Mahasi Sayadaw; Chogyam Trumpa; Shunryu Susuki; Osho; Thich Nhat Hahn; Lama Thubten Yeshe; Nisargadatta Maharaj; Padmasambava; Tilopa; Naropa; Machig Labdron; Ramana Maharshi; Santideva; Milarepa; Kyozan Joshu Sasaki; Nargajuna; Patanjali; Rangjung Dorje; Ajan Chah; Neem Karoli Baba and more...
We are so lucky to be alive in a time when dharma and practitioners from every lineage and practice style are available to us in an instant. Not to be too cliche, but we have such a wealth of knowledge at our finger tips. We are no longer locked into a particular practice or sectarian system based on where we take birth.
I hope you find these meditations useful.
Meditation is the beating heart of Buddhism.
Daily practice brings the dharma alive and frees it up to land in our body and permeate our householder life.