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Buddhism and Meditation*
Buddhism 101: Buddha taught the 4 Nobel Truths:
- The truth of suffering (dukkha) that in life there is suffering. Skandas as a source: senses, ideas, predilections, consciousness.
- Suffering is cause by the 3 poisons (samudaya): Attachment, Aversion, and Ignorance.
- There is a path to liberate and “let go” of suffering to end it (nirhodha).
- The 8 fold path is the way to liberate and “let go” from suffering (magga). This means you have to have right morals, behaviors, and actions that do not generate negative karma. This involves: 1) correct view of nature of mind and the 4 noble truths. 2) correct intention: avoid the 3 poisons. 3) correct speech refrain from lying, divisive, and harsh or senseless speech. 4) correct action: avoid physical misdeeds for body like kill, steal, and sexual misconduct. 5) correct livelihood: avoid trades that harm people, animals, and intoxicants. 6) correct effort: abandoning negative states of mind that arise, and yet to arise, and sustain positive state that have already arisen. 7) correct mindfulness: awareness on breath, body, thoughts, emotions, sensations, and annata (no-self). 8) correct concentration: one-pointed concentration. the result will be understanding of the dharma and bring it into your life.
Impermanence is very important in Buddhism, as all things are in a state of change and not a they seem, making this a world full of illusion, and seeking the truth hard to find. A Guru (Indian term for one who takes you out of darkness) can be an ordained monk, or former monk who has taken layman’s vows.
Buddhist Pali and Hindu Chants playlist here
Download free material on the Pali Canons
Vipassana: Insight meditation
This is a good start, very simple, open, and to the public. It comes from the Theravada Buddhist tradition. My wife is Thai and a good meditator. She uses this method and lives by the 5 precepts: Do not kill, Do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not use harsh words on others, and do not use intoxicants.
The key to successful Vipassana will be mastering the health of the body, providing nourishment to your internal energy prana, taming the conscious mind, and abiding in the state of awareness that is both empty and luminous.
If you are new to meditation, we believe this sample link here can help: Vipassana is a simple non-religious practice to observe breathing and calm the mind as best choice for true beginners. Sometimes called mindfulness meditation, because it uses mindfulness and calm to allow the mind to observe the changes in body and mind thus creating insight into your true nature of reality.
**Eventually you will have to develop Vipassana without anything external like guided mediation videos, audio files, or phone apps.**
Zen Buddhism (Rinzai School)
The first Buddhist temple I went to was during college in 1991 while living in Richmond Virginia: Ekoji Zen center and Aquarian book store where they practiced Rinzai Zen. 20 minutes of still quiet sitting (Zazen) 15 minutes of Zen walking, another round of 20 minutes sitting, followed by sutra reading. Simplicity at its best and a very good stabilizing practice. The method is basically vipassana as previously mentioned.
Tibetan meditation: Bon Dzogchen (Great perfection school)
As for Tibetan meditation, my teacher Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is recommended. He is a former monk with Geshe degree. Tenzin is of the Bon Dzogchen Tibetan tradition and has a “Getting Started” program with some free instruction videos and guided meditation practices here: https://ligmincha.org/getting-started/
Tibetan buddhism encompasses the introduction to bodhisattva vows, empowerments, and transmission of various practices of mahayana yidams, vajrayana tantras, and dzogchen aka “The Great Perfection”.
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Playlist of Tenzin Rinpoche teaching Bon Dzogchen preliminary training and meditations here
Bon Dzogchen chants playlist here
Basic Lesson: 9 breathings of Purification from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. Clear the upper Respiratory system at nostrils. Purify the 3 channels: Ida, Pingala, and Shashumna.
Sit in the 5 point posture: 1. legs crossed to close off energy to keep it inside, left leg on right leg, guides prana into secret chakra 2. Hands on lap in equalize posture, left hand on right, thumbs touch the base of ring finger to close body to outside spirits, helps guide prana in naval chakra. 3. chest open, for circulation of breath and blood, helps open heart chakra. 4. Spine straight to assist the 3 channels, 5. Chin slightly tucked to assist in conquering thoughts. You have to be still in this posture and find calm abiding within.
Alternate nostril breathing: it opens the nose, the first passageway to the lungs. Buddhist Nine breathing’s of purification- is also known as Pranayama in various yoga circles, many of its uses are to balance the humors (wind, bile, and phlegm) of the body in India’s Ayurvedic medicine. Brings benefits of balancing both hemispheres of the brain, yin (lunar) and yang(solar) energies of the body, helps to develop a sense of centering and grounding.
To balance the channels- the method of “alternate nostril breathing” is applied. You inhale through left nostril, close left nostril and exhale out the right nostril (exhale anger emotions, pains, and conflicts) cleansing the white channel. Repeat 3 times. Then reverse: inhale through the right nostril, close the right nostril and then exhale out the left nostril (exhale attachments, anxiety emotions, pains, and conflicts) cleaning the red left channel. Do this 3 times. This should be done 3 times for each left and right nostril. It will clear out negative energies in the channels, stale air and toxins from the lungs and channels. The central channel is cleanse by breathing through both nostril cleansing the central blue channel, imagine from the two side channels into the central channel and out the top of head (exhale ignorance, doubt, self doubt emotions, pain, and conflicts). Do this 3 times. You can add the visualization of dark colored smoke leaving the Brahma’s aperture at the top of the skull making the central channel a pure blue color.
Tenzin teaching the 5 Tsa Lung Trul Khor: (Wind and Channel yoga) VIDEO here