Dharma Books Review

This talk focuses on reviewing some of my personal collection of Dharma books, divided into various categories.  This recording provides my comments about the books, and the accompanying notes provide specific titles and suggestions for either purchasing copies or downloading free .pdf eBook copies from various sources.  Progress on the path to Awakening requires both studying the books and diligently practicing the various meditative techniques, and i hope these offering are helpful for that integrative effort.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Buddhist Studies Resources



Guided Investigating Impermanence Meditation

This contemplation focuses on cultivating awareness of anicca (ah-nee-chah), the transitory and unstable characteristic of subjective experience.  Everything in the universe is in flux–even mountains are impermanent, as evidenced by the Appalachian mountains, which are believed to once have been as tall as the Himalayas!   However, our immediate personal experience is always changing, even when we want it to be stable.  This Buddhist meditation focuses on the ephemeral, ever-changing nature of the mind and the constituent elements that are reflected in consciousness.  During this meditation, you are invited to consider the various suggestions for practice as a “sampler” of various ways to contemplate anicca, the goal of which is to deconstruct the misconception that there is an enduring and autonomous self.  See if your attention becomes sufficiently unburdened by craving and clinging to the various thoughts and emotions that arise and pass away during the meditation so that the occurrence of a thought is seen as a fleeting construct, less seemingly self-defining and controlling of behavior.  In future meditations, consider applying one of the suggestions persistently to soak further into the process of transition that is always occurring.


Book Review of “The Mind Illuminated”

By Peter Carlson

I’ve been studying and practicing Buddhist mindfulness meditation for 35 years, with an emphasis on how modern scientific research supports the concepts and practices of traditional Buddhism.  Because of this interest, I bought “The Mind Illuminated-A Completed Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom And Brain Science”.   It was written collaboratively by Culadasa (John Yates, PhD.), Matthew Immergut, PhD. And Jeremy Graves, and published in 2015.

I’ve used it as a guide for my two-week self-retreats in 2015 and 2016, and I recommend it for anyone who wants to develop mindfulness significantly in his or her life.  The book describes ten stages of progression towards Awakening, from the basics of how to establish a committed daily meditation practice to the potential experience of Nirvana, the total liberation of the mind from distress and confusion about life.

Each chapter provides practical instruction on how to cultivate stronger and more pervasive levels of focal stability and tranquility, alternating with what are called “interludes”, which provide conceptual support for the various practical applications and what happens in the mind during the different stages.

As a long time committed meditation practitioner and teacher, I confidently recommend using this book as a personal guideline for meditation practice.  This recommendation is based on my own experience accumulated over the decades of practice; I find the book validates and clarifies what I have discovered in the traditional Buddhist teachings and the contemporary commentary on mindfulness and neuroscientific research.

If you use the link on our website to go to Amazon, a portion of the sale price will be donated to the Orlando Insight Meditation Group as part of Amazon’s commitment to support nonprofit organizations.

Negotiating A Middle Way

Regretably, we are having some technical software problems, so there’s no .mp3 post for this talk.  We are taking steps to fix the problems, so hopefully the posts will resume as usual next week.  Here are the notes Peter prepared for the talk: NEGOTIATING A MIDDLE WAY  The gist of the talk presented some of the principles of Right Speech in the context of modern strategies for interpersonal conflict resolution.

Training The Heartmind

During the second talk about the Tibetan Buddhist training called Lojong, the first 8 training aphorisms were described.  Peter reported the classical rendering of the aphorism, then his contemporary understanding of the practice.  The core of Lojong training involves the ability to recognize the origination of dissatisfaction and transform the experience into compassionate awareness through the application of Tonglen, another Tibetan word translated as “Sending and Taking”.  The ultimate goal of the practice is to bring compassionate intentions to bear during every experience.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk.  Due to an oversight, the notes reflect 9 training points; number 8, regarding integrating the slogans into daily life routines, has been added:  Training For Realizing Relative Bodhicitta

Next week’s talk will continue exploring the Lojong teachings and will emphasize opportunities to turn obstacles into opportunities for awakening compassion.