Want to dive more deeply into meditation? This video series addresses strengthening meditative concentration and broadening the range of topics for analytic mediation, such as attachment, mindfulness of the mind, and the three characteristics of existence. Learn how to deepen your concentration by visualizing the Buddha, focusing on the breath, and cultivating serenity and insight. Also included are videos on the preliminary meditation practices and how to structure a meditation session as outlined in the classic Buddhist text, the Gomchen Lamrim.
Meditation on the Buddha
Venerable Chodron instructs on visualizing a detailed image of the Buddha, followed by a guided meditation. How ethical conduct helps us develop the mental factors of mindfulness and introspective awareness, which are key to developing meditative concentration, is discussed, and an oral transmission of the 35 Buddhas purification practice is given.
Introduction to breathing meditation
Venerable Chodron leads us through a body scan, adjusting the posture, releasing tension, and placing attention on the breath. A silent meditation is followed by a description of different kinds of walking meditation. Also included are tips on dealing with discomfort, distraction, and drowsiness.
How to focus and calm the mind
Developing concentration temporarily suppresses manifest afflictions. Concentration is perfected by renouncing the five desires (the five sense objects), eliminating the five hindrances (sensual desire, ill will or malice, dullness and drowsiness, anxiety and regret, and deluded doubt), and adopting the five practices (course engagement, refined engagement, rapture, bliss, and one-pointedness).
Guided meditation: Three characteristics
Meditating on the three characteristics of existence (impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and selflessness) attunes the mind more closely to reality, overcoming the misconceptions that are the source of our problems. We can overcome the misconception that things are permanent by meditating on transience and impermanence. Meditating on the three types of unsatisfactory conditions counteracts the belief that objects bring us pleasure. Meditating on selflessness and the dependent nature of phenomena overcomes clinging to the misconception of an inherently-existent self, the root of our suffering.
Establishment of mindfulness: Three ways to meditate on the mind
After a short quiz on the four establishments of mindfulness, ways to meditate on the mind are discussed, including observing its subtle impermanence and searching for the past, present, and future mind. Does the mind have any color, shape, or location. What are thoughts, and what about “our” mind and body make them “ours”? Is the mind a process, noun, or agent? When not occupied with external events and internal objects, we might get a glimpse of the clear and aware nature of the mind. As concentration deepens, each moment of the mind arising and ceasing can be observed.
Taking the ache out of attachment
In Buddhism, attachment is a mental attitude that superimposes good qualities onto something and then clings to it as a source of happiness. To understand how this causes suffering in our lives, we make an inventory of things we’re attached to and select one to examine in detail. We investigate whether our stories about the object are accurate or contain exaggerations and unrealistic expectations. Next we reflect on how we change our behavior to get what we want, even manipulating others or undermining our ethical standards. Recognizing attachment as our enemy, we determine to counteract it because it destroys our peace of mind.
Guided meditation: Transforming attachment
Discusses ways to let go of attachment: imagining having the object, person, or situation we crave and asking whether it will fully satisfy us forever; imagining being separated from it and reflecting on what internal and external resources we have to deal with the situation; and mentally offering the object of attachment to others in need or the Buddha. These methods allow us to let go, experience calm, and enjoy people and things much more.
Gomchen Lamrim: Preparing to meditate
Venerable Chodron reviews the stricture of a meditation session and discusses the six preliminary practices: 1. Cleaning the room and setting up the altar, 2. Making offerings, 3. Preparing the body and mind, 4. Visualizing the merit field, 5. The Seven-limb prayer, and 6. Making requests to the spiritual mentors. Try these practices with the understanding that their purpose is to change the mind. Follow-up instructions are provided in “Gomchen Lamrim: How to Meditate.”
Gomchen Lamrim: How to meditate
A follow-up to the six preliminary practices discussed in “Gomchen Lamrim: Preparing to Meditate.” Venerable Chodron reviews guidance from the Gomchen Lamrim on what to do before and after the meditation session, how many times a day to meditate and for how long, and how to create merit and purify the mind between sessions. During meditation, one must be sure of the number and order of topics while applying mindfulness and introspective awareness. The analytic meditation on relying on a spiritual mentor is used as an example. Also reviewed are the four causes for the arousal of serenity and insight: guarding the senses to avoid attachment and aversion, eating in moderation, turning sleep into a virtuous activity, and keeping mindful and introspective behavior throughout the day. The need to develop stability and analysis for all meditation topics is explored.