Category Archives: Meditation

Information, resources concerning meditation

Peacetree Meditation Circle now meets 11 a.m. each Saturday

Places to Meditate

The PeaceTree Meditation Circle takes place 11 a.m. Saturdays

Starting this week, the PeaceTree Center in Huntington, W.Va., has teamed up with the Meditation Circle of Charleston WV to offer weekly meditation gatherings form 11 a.m. to noon every Saturday, at the center at 5930 Mahood Dr. The center is about 5 to 10 minutes west of the Huntington Mall just off East Pea Ridge Drive.

We meet starting 11 a.m., every Saturday with sitting and standing meditation, followed by a metta (loving-friendliness) meditation , Dhamma quotes and brief discussion. Beginners are welcome and basic instruction is offered in breath-centered Buddhist meditation inspired by the Theravada Buddhist tradition. All are welcome and you need not be a Buddhist to enjoy the benefits of Buddhist mindfulness and meditation practice.

Come join the PeaceTree Meditation Circle.

Steps along the way

Quote/Unquote

“When we have the opportunity to sit quietly and watch ourselves, new insights about ourselves may arise. We are the prototype of impermanence. But when our mind veers toward the past and starts rehashing old movies, it’s time to turn it off. The past cannot be changed. The person who experienced the past, no longer exists, is only a fantasy now. When the mind strolls to the future, imagining how we would like it to be, we can let go by remembering the future has no reality either. When it happens, it can only be the present, and the person planning the future is not the same one, who will experience it. If we stay in this moment, here and now, during meditation, we can use that same skill in daily life.

“When we handle each moment with mindfulness and clear comprehension, everything functions well, nothing goes amiss, our mind is content and inner peace can arise. Keeping our attention focused on each step on the way will eventually bring us to the summit.”

~Ayya Khema

from “Steps On the Way”

 

 

Instructions on Walking Meditation

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WALKING MEDITATION: Walking a Path
By Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Walking meditation is a good transition between maintaining a still mind when the body is still, and maintaining a still mind in the midst of all your activities. As you walk in a meditative way, you gain practice in protecting the stillness of the mind in the midst of the motion of the body, while at the same time dealing with the fewest possible outside distractions.
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An ideal time to practice walking meditation is right after you’ve been doing sitting meditation, so that you can bring a mind already stilled, to at least some extent, to the practice.
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Some people, though, find that the mind settles down more quickly while sitting if they’ve done a session of walking meditation first. This is a matter of personal temperament.
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If you’re meditating right after a meal, it’s wise to do walking meditation rather than sitting meditation, for the motion of the body helps both to digest your food and to ward off drowsiness.
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There are two ways of practicing walking meditation: walking back and forth on a set path, and going for a stroll. The first way is more conducive for helping the mind to settle down; the second is more convenient when you don’t have access to an undisturbed path where you can walk back and forth without rousing curiosity or concerns from other people. Continue reading Instructions on Walking Meditation

A few tips on standing meditation

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Image from this page

When people think of meditation, many immediately conjure an image of someone sitting cross-legged on the floor. But traditional Buddhist teachings list four meditation postures: sitting, walking, standing and lying down. As Buddhist teacher Gil Fronsdall has noted; “All four are valid means of cultivating a calm and clear mindfulness of the present moment.”

Today’s topic is on standing meditation, one of the lesser discussed meditation postures. When on a formal retreat, where hour-long sittings are often the norm, you may notice fellow retreatants arising into a standing posture to do this kind of meditation, to change up their posture or because they feel they need a break from long sittings. We invite members of The Meditation Circle to do likewise during our meditation sessions if they feel so inclined.

In standing meditation, the basic practice is to stand comfortably, feeling the sensations in your feet and the points of contact with the ground beneath you.  One can also continue to pay attention to the breath, but the perception of the body standing becomes the primary object of meditation. Continue reading A few tips on standing meditation

PART 3 | Q-A with Bhante Rahula

Here is a recording of a Q-and-A session with Bhante Yogavacara Rahula during his visit to Charleston and Huntington, WV, in early October 2016. This session took place after a guided meditation at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Charleston on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. Below is an excerpt from the Q-and-A.

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QUESTION: Sometimes when I meditate I just space off and then forget what I’m doing and then I just pop back in. Is that a good practice or a bad practice?

BHANTE RAHULA: That’s what happens . The idea is we want to prevent the mind from spacing out or t least to shorten those periods of time when were either lost in our thoughts or spaced out. And to keep bringing it back to state of more concentrated awareness.

Training the mind takes a long time. If a person’s really interested in developing the meditation it has to be practiced a lot.  Even during the day not allowing your mind to get aimlessly lost in things

You see, we always have the body with us and that’s the wonderful thing about using the body as our anchor in the present moment, It’s always there, anytime, during the day. We just pause and just bring the attention back to the body and take a deep slow breath and bring the attention back to the body and relax.

This is part of a series of recordings from Bhante Rahula’s visit to Charleston and Huntington, WV, from Oct. 12-15, 2016:

PART 2: Bhante Rahula Dhamma Talk on Meditation
PART 1: Bhante Rahula Leads a Guided Meditation
Visit Bhante Rahula’s blog at: bhanterahula.blogspot.com

PART 2 | Bhante Rahula Talk on Meditation

https://soundcloud.com/douglaseye/bhante-rahula-talk-on-meditation-10-14-16

Here is a Dhamma talk on meditation given by Bhante Yogavacara Rahula at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Oct. 14, 2016, during his visit to Charleston and Huntington, W.Va. Bhante’s talk concerns the practice of mindfulness meditation. Below are the opening minutes of the talk.

This is part of a series of recordings from Bhante Rahula’s visit:
PART 1: Bhante Rahula Leads a Guided Meditation
Visit Bhante Rahula’s blog at: bhanterahula.blogspot.com

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BHANTE RAHULA: In general. the practice of meditation helps a person to kind of cool their hot-tempered mind down a bit and helps their mind deal with the stresses of fast-paced living and also the general ups and downs of life. How to handle the crises and other surprising events and situations  that throw people’s mind a little bit off balance and cause them to do some unskillful types of actions of body speech and thought. And then they have to suffer the consequences. Or just generally, learning to help free the mind of its repetitive habits, whether its unskillful speech or just the habits of useless thinking, especially thoughts about weakening one’s over-dependence on sensory stimulation, and learning how to develop more inner calmness and balance of mind that’s not  so dependent on sensory overload.

So, there are many kinds of benefits that can be acquired from the practice of meditation. Although, of course, mindfulness meditation  a  lot of times it’s taught in a very secular way, it does come from the tradition of Buddhist meditation as taught by the Buddha for also helping to overcome suffering. One of the main aspects of the Buddha’s teachings is about the nature of suffering and happiness. And how we create it in our own minds and how we can use meditation and the whole practice and teachings of the Eighfold Path and so on as a way to help sort of bring more order and calmness and understanding and wisdom and also love into our mind and to help to deal and live with our fellow beings in a more skillful way.

The word mindfulness — or sati — it means to remember. But specifically to remember the present moment. So, it’s a way of helping to train the mind and allowing the mind to kind of rest a little bit more in the present moment, without so much this neurotic rushing to the future and remembering the past. Most of people’s problems come from obsessing about the past — either guilt, worry or remorse or fear. Or pining about the past  to bring it back, which you can’t. Also, then, fearing about the future. What’s going to happen to me in the future, whether it’s health-wise, job-wise, or other things, obsessing about the future that also you cannot control. The future hasn’t come but yet most of the time people’s minds are caught back and forth between the past and future. Rarely does a person ever actually rest in the present moment….

 

Bhante Rahula Guided Meditation

The Meditation Circle was honored to host Bhante Yogavacara Rahula at events in Huntington and Charleston, W.Va., from Oct. 13-15, 2016. Below, is a 25-minute guided  meditation he led at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Charleston on Friday,  Oct. 14, 2016. The audio is downloadable to your computer by clicking the white arrow in the upper right corner or you may share it to social media, as well. Stay tuned for more audio files from his visit. Visit Bhante Rahula’s blog at: bhanterahula.blogspot.com

 

A Q-and-A with Bhante Rahula

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Bhante Yogavacara Rahula, former vice abbot of the Bhavana Society Buddhist Forest Monastery and retreat center in High View, has an intriguing back story, told in his book, “One Night’s Shelter: Autobiography of an American Monk.”

Born Joseph Scott DuPrez in California, he served in Vietnam, then took off across the hippie trail in Europe and India, was jailed for smuggling hashish in Afghanistan and then — after attending a meditation retreat in Nepal — abandoned the stoner life and became a globe-trotting monk.

Rahula, 68, will visit Charleston and Huntington Thursday through Saturday, making several public appearances. I interviewed him via email in advance of his visit

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Q: What was your early life growing up?
RAHULA: I was born and grew up in Southern California. I had a typical middle-class upbringing — went to activities with the local Methodist Church youth group, wasn’t particularly religious-minded.

We lived in Riverside, about 50 miles away from the coast. My brother and I started surfing in 1962 when the Beach Boys songs were getting popular. We never did get particularly good at surfing.

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Q: How did you wind up in Vietnam?
RAHULA: I graduated from high school in 1966 and enlisted in the Army in 1967. I did not really have any pros or cons about the war, but all my friends were either getting drafted or enlisting.

I thought, what the heck. I would have eventually gotten drafted anyway. Continue reading A Q-and-A with Bhante Rahula

Bhante Rahula on meditation

Bhante Yogavacara Rahula will visit Charleston and Huntington, W.Va., in the week ahead. Click on this previous post for details on his visit (Thursday evening and Saturday morning in Huntington and Friday evening and Saturday night in Charleston). Here is a 16-minute video of Bhante Rahula, a globe-trotting American-born Buddhist monk, giving a Dhamma talk on the nature and function of vipassana or insight meditation in the Buddhist tradition.

The Meditation Circle is moving: From Tuesday to Monday nights

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We’re moving! Starting, Monday, Sept. 12, the Meditation Circle of Charleston (WV) will be moving from its long-time Tuesday evening session to a weekly Monday evening session. We are staying in the exact same place, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on the West Side of Charleston, W.Va. But we are slightly expanding our gathering time, in order to include more instruction in Qigong, the ancient Chinese moving meditation practice,  as well as time to talk about your sitting practice and instruction for beginners to meditation. (We’d also like to now and then share tea and discussion, too, and get to know one another better).

HERE IS OUR NEW SCHEDULE: Please note that the new 5:30 to 6 p.m. additional time is optional. If all you wish is to sit quietly, as we have been doing, then please arrive for the 6 to 7 p.m. time frame. And as ever, if you are physically leery of undertaking Qigong or walking or standing meditation, we invite you to sit and enjoy the peacefulness afforded us by the Unitarian’s use of their lovely space.

5:30 – 6 p.m., every Monday:

This period is designed to be flexible. It is primarily used for Qigong practice and instruction, although if the need arises it can be used as either a question-and-answer period to address issues that arise from practice or for instruction in basic meditation techniques for newcomers.

6 to 7 p.m.:

This time is set aside for meditation. The format consists of two rounds of meditation, each lasting 20 to 25 minutes, with a short 5 to 10 minute period of standing or walking meditation between rounds. The sitting period ends with a Metta or loving-friendliness meditation.

We welcome your feedback on the changes and look forward to everyone getting to know one another better as we create the space for a supportive group of folks interested in deepening their meditation practice.

Thad and Doug

P.S.: Please also note details about the upcoming visit to Charleston and Huntington of the globe-trotting, American-born Buddhist monk Bhante Rahula from Thursday, Oct. 13 through Saturday, Oct. 15. He has a fascinating personal history and is a wonderful meditation and yoga instructor who has taught worldwide for decades. See more details here.

Bhante Rahula to visit Charleston and Huntington, W.Va. Oct. 13-14-15, 2016

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The Meditation Circle of Charleston (WV) is pleased to host a visit to Charleston and Huntington, W.Va., by the globe-trotting American-born Buddhist monk Bhante Yogavacara Rahula. (‘Bhante’ — BON-tay — is an honorific akin to ‘Reverand.’) Below is our tentative schedule for his visit, subject to modifications as we get closer. But we wanted to put the dates out there for people to reserve the time, if interested in attending. All events are free but we encourage people to show up before the starting time.

Bhante Rahula has a fascinating personal history, told in his autobiography, “One Night’s Shelter.” As described on one site:
“This candid and highly readable autobiography of the well-known American Buddhist monk describes his transformation from a GI and drug-dealing hippie to becoming an ascetic contemplative in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The unvarnished accounts caused some stir, as Bhante Rahula describes dealing drugs and getting arrested for smuggling a kilo of hashish from Afghanistan prior to his becoming a monk. He is now most well-known for integrating Hatha Yoga with Vipassana meditation.” He is also author of “The Way to Peace and Happiness,” “Meditation: The Mind and Body Connection” and “Breaking Through the Self-Delusion.”

DOWNLOAD: Read or download  pdf’s of Bhante Rahula’s books here.
BLOG: Visit Bhante Rahula’s blog here.
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THURSDAY, Oct. 13:  6 to 8 p.m.
WHERE: PeaceTree Center, 5930 Mahood Dr., Barboursville, W.Va., (located about ten minutes from the Huntington Mall).
WHAT: Bhante Rahula will speak on “An Introduction to Meditation,” followed by meditation and Q-and-A.
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FRIDAY, Oct. 14:  7 to 8 p.m.
WHERE: Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 520 Kanawha Blvd W, Charleston, W.Va.
WHAT: Meditation, Talk and Q-and-A.
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3/ SATURDAY, Oct. 15:

11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
WHERE: PeaceTree Center, 5930 Mahood Dr, Barboursville, W.Va., (located about ten minutes from the Huntington Mall).
WHAT: Yoga session followed by meditation and then Q-and-A.

5 to 7 p.m.:
WHERE: Unity of Kanawha Valley, 804 Myrtle Rd., Charleston, W.Va.
WHAT: Yoga session followed by talk on “Mindfulness in Daily Life”,  short meditation and Q-and-A.

A discourse on Anapanasati Meditation

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Ven. Buddhadàsa Bhikkhu

In 2016, The Meditation Circle has been focusing on the Buddhist meditation known as Anàpànasati (the development of mindfulness of breathing)  To learn more about this meditation technique, we encourage you to download this .pdf of a teaching on Anàpànasati by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.

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As the introduction to this document notes:

Originally published in Thai, this manual is one of the major works of the Ven. Buddhadàsa Bhikkhu and delivered in 1959 in the form of a series of lectures to monks of Suanmokkha Monastery, Chaiya, Thailand.

Ven. Buddhadàsa Bhikkhu, a major voice in the Buddhist world, is an accepted master of Buddhist meditation. In constructive positive language, the manual guides the meditator through the 16 steps of ânàpànasati. Every difficulty that the meditator is liable to face as well as the benefits of practice is examined at length. All that remains is for the aspirant to the noble path to get on with the job.

Spring 2016 Bhavana Society Newsletter

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If you have never checked out the newsletter of the Bhavana Society Therevadan Buddhist Forest Monastery in High View, W.Va., the Spring 2016 quarterly newsletter of “The Forest Path” would be a good place to start. It has a long excerpt by Bhavana abbot Bhante Gunaratana on “Meditation: Why Bother?” It’s drawn from his international bestselling guide to meditation, “Mindfulness in Plain English,” which has been translated into more than 20 languages. You can download a .pdf of the Spring issue and past issues of The Forest Path at: bhavanasociety.org/newsletters/issue/spring_newsletter_2016

(NOTE: The Meditation Circle has a limited number of copies of “Mindfulness in Plain English” for your use for free, or you may order your own copy at this link.) Below is an excerpt from the Spring newsletter.

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meditationMeditation is not easy. It takes time and it takes energy. It also takes grit, determination, and discipline. It requires a host of personal qualities that we normally regard as unpleasant and like to avoid whenever possible. We can sum up all of these qualities in the American word gumption. Meditation takes gumption. It is certainly a great deal easier just to sit back and watch television. So why bother? Why waste all that time and energy when you could be out enjoying yourself?

Continue reading Spring 2016 Bhavana Society Newsletter

Gradual training

“The gradual training essentially involves learning how to quiet down and observe your thoughts and behavior and then to change them into something more conductive to meditation and awareness. It is a slow process, not to be hurried.”   p16-17

~ Bhante Gunaratana
(from “Eight mindful steps to happiness: Walking the path of the Buddha.” Boston, MA: Wisdom Publications.)

Quote courtesy of the Bhavana Society Facebook page

2016 Bhavana Retreat Schedule Posted

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Bhavana Society Meditation Hall (courtesy this page)

The Bhavana Society Theravada Buddhist Monastery near High View, W.Va., in Hampshire County, has announced its retreat schedule for 2016 on the monastery’s website. Retreat sign-ups begin 30 days before a retreat begins and you are encouraged to sign up quickly as Bhavana retreats are attended by people from around the country and world and fill up fast. There is no charge for retreats,  in the spirit of Buddhist traditions that sees teachings as given freely because they are considered priceless. But dana — generosity — is always welcome as Bhavana survives entirely upon the generosity of its supporters and visitors.

The Introduction to Meditation retreat, Thursday, March 24 to Sunday, March 27 is open for registrations, but only for women, as all the spots for men have been filled. Here is the schedule for the year:

March 24-27, 2016 Introduction to Meditation 3 nights Monastic Community Beginner Yes
April 19-23, 2016 Introduction to Samatha & Vipassana Meditation Retreat 4 nights Monastic Community Any Yes
May 10-15, 2016 Noble Eightfold Path Retreat 5 nights Bhante Seelananda Intermediate Yes
May 22, 2016 Vesak Celebration Day This is not a retreat. Yes
June 6-11, 2016 Monastic Retreat (Buddhist Monastics Only) 5 nights Bhante Gunaratana Intermediate Yes
June 20-25, 2016 Awareness of Death Retreat 5 nights Bhante Seelananda Intermediate Yes
July 8-10, 2016 Youth Retreat 2 nights Monastic Community Youth Only Yes
July 24-30, 2016 Jhana Retreat 6 nights Bhante Gunaratana Intermediate Yes
August 18-21, 2016 Introduction to Meditation 3 nights Bhante Seelananda Beginner Yes
Sept. 2-5, 2016 Fall Family Work Weekend Retreat 3 nights Monastic Community Any Yes
Sept. 18-24, 2016 Seven Factors of Enlightenment 6 nights Bhante Gunaratana Intermediate Yes
October 3-9, 2016 Metta Retreat 6 nights Bhante Seelananda Any Yes
October 23, 2016 Kathina Celebration This is not a retreat. Yes
Nov. 10-13, 2016 Three Characteristics of Existence 3 nights Bhante Gunaratana Any Yes
Nov. 23-27, 2016 Thanksgiving Retreat 4 nights Bhante Seelananda Any Yes
Dec 15-22, 2016 Year End Retreat Part I 7 nights Bhante Gunaratana Intermediate Yes
Dec 24-Jan 1, 2017 Year End Retreat Part II 8 nights Bhante Seelananda Intermediate Yes