Category Archives: Meditation

Information, resources concerning meditation

Samatha and Vipassana Meditation

Bhante Seelanda gives a Dhamma talk on Day 1 of a retreat on Samatha and Vipassana meditation at the Bhavana Society Therevadan Buddhist Forest Monastery in West Virginia, from April 6-13, 2015. This is an illuminating talk on the relationship and role of these two types of meditation practices, that entail concentration and insight, respectively.

For more video Dhamma talks and instruction by Bhavana Society monks, visit the monastery’s YouTube Page.

The purpose of meditation


“The purpose of meditation is not to concentrate on the breath, without interruption, forever. That by itself would be a useless goal. The purpose of meditation is not to achieve a perfectly still and serene mind. Although a lovely state, it doesn’t lead to liberation by itself. The purpose of meditation is to achieve uninterrupted mindfulness. Mindfulness, and only mindfulness, produces enlightenment.”

~Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, “Mindfulness in Plain English” (page 126).

NOTE: This excerpt and image comes from the Bhavana Society Facebook page, which we highly recommend following, full of daily quotes by the Buddha and teachings on meditation and Buddhist practice by Bhante Gunaratana, abbot of  the Therevadan forest monastery in eastern West Virginia.

Introduction to Meditation Retreat at Bhavana Society


Wanted to pass along this post below from the Bhavana Society Facebook page. Registration for the first retreat of 2015 at the Therevadan Forest Monastery in the woods of eastern West Virginia is now open. It’s a good one if you’re just starting a meditation practice as the theme is an “Introduction to Samatha and Vipassana Meditation.” It takes place March 23-29, 2015, and will be led by Bhante Seelananda. Here’s the link to the Bhavana site for more details on the retreat and to register:
Registration for the Introduction to Samatha and Vipassana Meditation Retreat is now open! This retreat is open to meditators of all levels of experience.

Since this is the first retreat for 2015, here are some reminders concerning the registration process.

First, if you’ve never been on retreat at the Bhavana Society, you’ll need to register for an account. It’s free and pretty simple. Fill in all the information and click “send.” Because of programming issues, it’s a good idea to send an email to the Main Office to make sure that you have an account. Simply email

Second, register for the retreat you wish to attend. Registration begins 30 days prior to the scheduled retreat (you won’t be able to register months in advance).

Third, once you’ve registered, you should receive an email from the Bhavana Society confirming your registration. If you don’t, please contact the Main Office to see if it has been received.

Aspiring to make Dhamma central to one’s life

I recently attended a retreat on Metta or loving-friendliness meditation at the Bhavana Society, led by the Buddhist monastery’s abbot, Bhante Gunaratana. You can experience that retreat for yourself, including all the great Dhamma talks and the very rich and fruitful Q-and-A sessions each evening with Bhante G, through the monastery’s YouTube channel video playlist devoted to the Metta retreat. Bhante G excels at off-the-cuff responses to a wide variety of Dhamma and life questions.

But I also wanted to point readers’ attention to the retreat’s closing talk (see video above) by a young American-born monk named Bhante Suddhaso, now in residence at Bhavana. It is a wonderful and inspiring talk on the importance of devoting oneself to Dhamma practice in one’s life and aspiring to make such practice central to one’s daily routines. In questions after the talk, he also speaks very movingly on working with self-hostility and self-forgiveness — when we don’t live up to the precepts or when we commit unwholesome actions. As he says, the entire ‘tone’ of the Buddha’s many teachings is about developing wholesome mental states and abandoning unwholesome ones. This talk is a great boon of encouragement to all of us in deepening our commitment to practice.

~ Douglas

New Bhavana Society Social Media Resources


Those of you who have visited the Bhavana Society Therevadan Forest Monastery in High View, W.Va., the first Therevadan forest monastery in North America, know what a special place it is. Led by internationally known abbot and Buddhist scholar Bhante Gunaratana, Bhavana is a rich source of Buddhist teachings rooted in the Pali canon and the Buddha’s original teachings. Within the past year, some lay followers have developed some social media sites that feature Dhamma videos of teachings by Bhante G and other Bhavana monks, Dhamma quotes and imagery.





A Meditation on Forgiveness


A Meditation on Forgiveness,
A Guided Meditation by Ven. Ayya Khema

“Please put the attention on the breath.

“Have forgiveness in your heart for anything you think you’ve done wrong . Forgive yourself for all the past omissions and commissions. They are long gone. Understand that you were a different person and this one is forgiving that one that you were. Feel that forgiveness filling you and enveloping you with a sense of warmth and ease.

Think of your parents. Forgive them for anything you have ever blamed them for. Understand that they too are different now. Let this forgiveness fill them, surround them, knowing in your heart that this is your most wonderful way of togetherness.

Think of your nearest and dearest people . Forgive them for anything that you think they have done wrong or are doing wrong at this time. Fill them with your forgiveness. Let them feel that you accept them. Let that forgiveness fill them. Realizing that this is your expression of love.

Now think of your friends. Forgive them for anything you have disliked about them. Let your forgiveness reach out to them, so that they can be filled with it, embraced by it.

Think of the people you know, whoever they might be, and forgive them all for whatever it is that you have blamed them for, that you have judged them for, that you have disliked. Let your forgiveness fill their hearts, surround them, envelope them, be your expression of love for them.

Now think of any special person whom you really need to forgive. Towards whom you still have resentment, rejection, dislike. Forgive him or her fully. Remember that everyone has dukkha. Let this forgiveness come from your heart. Reach out to that person, complete and total.

Think of any one person, or any situation, or any group of people whom you are condemning, blaming, disliking. Forgive them, completely. Let your forgiveness be your expression of unconditional love. They may not do the right things. Human beings have dukkha. And your heart needs the forgiveness in order to have purity of love.

Have a look again and see whether there’s anyone or anything, any where in the world, towards whom you have blame or condemnation. And forgive the people or the person, so that there is no separation your heart.

Now put your attention back on yourself. And recognize the goodness in you. The effort you are making. Feel the warmth and ease that comes from forgiveness.”

May all beings have forgiveness in their hearts!

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Spencer Retreat on April 19

The Spencer Meditation Group is having a Day Long Interfaith Meditation Retreat.  The retreat will be April 19, from 9 AM until 5 PM at the Spencer Presbyterian Church in Spencer, W.Va.  Instruction will be offered in the vipassana (Buddhist) and contemplative prayer (Christian) traditions.  The day will mostly consist of alternating sessions of sitting and walking meditation, (and optional chanting!) with plenty of time for discussion and questions and answers.

We are asking people to please bring a bag lunch, and your own meditation cushions if you have them.  We will provide chairs, but we do not have extra cushions.  The retreat will be held in silence.   More information will be provided later for those who plan to attend. For more information, call Ken Lewis at 304-927-1505.

How to do what we do

Sitting Quietly

This is the most important meditation practice.
It is the classroom for living
a wise and kind life.

Sit anywhere and be quiet:
On a couch, a bed, a bench, inside, outside,
Leaning against a tree, by a lake, at the ocean,
In a garden, on an airplane, in your office chair,
on the floor, in your car.
Meditation cushions are okay too.

Sit at any time: morning, night,
One minute, three years.

Wear what you’ve got on.
Loosen your waist so that
Your belly can move with your breath.

Sit as relaxed as possible.
Relax your muscles
When starting and during sitting.

Sit with your back straight but not stiff.
Keep your head upright with your ears level.

Respect all medical conditions.
Only take a posture you can.
All postures are okay.

Do what you can do.

Keep your eyes slightly opened and out of focus.
Closing them will make you sleepy and sometimes
Opening them wide will keep you busy.

Breathe naturally through your nose.
Enjoy breathing.
Feel your breath.
Watch your breath.
Become your breath.

Be like a cat purring.
Follow your breath like ocean waves
coming in and out.

When you get distracted,
Come back to the simplest
And most basic experience of being alive,
your breathing.

That’s it.
No belief.
No program.
No dogma.

You do not have to be a Buddhist.
You can be of any faith, religion,
race, nationality, gender,
relationship status, or capacity.

Just sit quietly,
connect with your breath,
and pay attention
to what happens.
You will learn things.

Do it when you want.
You decide how much is enough for you.
If you do it daily, it will get into your bones.

Please enjoy sitting quietly!

The only way to learn sitting quietly is to do it.

~ byTai Sheridan


Reprinted from

“Buddha in Blue Jeans: An Extremely Short Simple Zen Guide to Sitting Quietly and Being Buddha,”

by Tai Sheridan

Don’t feel disturbed by the thinking mind

Sayadaw U Tejaniya gives essential tips for observing the moment in mindfulness meditation From

BEFORE WE START practicing mindfulness meditation, we must know how to practice. We need to have the right information and a clear understanding of the practice to work with awareness intelligently. This information will work at the back of your mind when you meditate.

1. Meditating is watching and waiting patiently with awareness and understanding. Meditation is not trying to experience something you have read about or heard about.

2. When meditating, both the body and mind should be comfortable.

3. You are not trying to make things turn out the way you want them to happen. You are trying to know what is happening as it is.

4. You have to accept and watch both good and bad experiences. You want only good experiences? You don’t want even the tiniest unpleasant experience? Is this reasonable? Is this the way of the dhamma?

5. Don’t feel disturbed by the thinking mind. You are not practicing to prevent thinking, but rather to recognize and acknowledge thinking whenever it arises.

6. The object of attention is not really important: the observing mind that is working to be aware is of real importance. If the observing is done with the right attitude, any object is the right object.

7. Just pay attention to the present moment. Don’t get lost in thoughts about the past. Don’t get carried away by thoughts about the future.

From “Don’t Look Down On the Defilements: They Will Laugh at You” © Ashin Tejaniya

Guided meditations on the Anapanasati teachings on meditation

The Meditation Circle has been discussing “Getting to Know the Breath” as its theme for 2012. To that end, we have referred several times to the Anapanasati Sutta in which the Buddha describes the practice of breath-centered meditation. (Find a link to that sutta and other teachings about this kind of meditation at this link.) Thad, one of the co-facilitators of the Meditation Circle, also has played some talks on this sutta at past gatherings, drawn from the website. If you missed the meetings where that happened, here is a link to the talk and others related recordings of a Dharma Practice  series on Anapanasati Practice, offered by Gil Fronsdal. Look for the talks at the top of the page, dated May 30, 2008. These guided meditations will be very useful to those seeking to deepen their understanding of breath-centered meditation in the Buddhist tradition.