Buddhist Teachings

How to Practice Metta for a Troubled Time – Meditation Article

Mushim Patricia Ikeda teaches us how to generate loving-kindness and good will as an antidote to hatred and fear. Illustrations by Tomi Um. Metta meditation is not a magical spell you can cast on the population of the U.S. in order to produce a state of utopian bliss. It is not a cure-all for oppression and the unequal distribution of power and privilege. Metta meditation doesn’t work like that. It’s about being determined, courageous, and patient in purifying your own…

Read More

How to Practice Shamatha Meditation – Meditation Article

Shamatha meditation—mindfulness or concentration—is the foundation of Buddhist practice. Lama Rod Owens teaches us a version from the Vajrayana tradition. Illustration by Carole Henaff. Shamatha means “peaceful abiding” or “tranquility.” Also called mindfulness or concentration meditation, shamatha is an important introductory practice that leads to the practice of vipashyana, or insight meditation. The purpose of shamatha meditation is to stabilize the mind by cultivating a steady awareness of the object of meditation. The traditional practice of shamatha uses different kinds…

Read More

Nine Buddhist Teachers Explain Suffering – Meditation Article

The Buddha said, “All I teach is suffering and the end of suffering.” Photo by David Gabriel Fischer. The Pali word dukkha is most commonly translated to English as “suffering.” Dukkha presents in an array of emotions — from happiness to despair. While counterintuitive, it is a central concept in the Buddha’s teachings. In these passages, adapted from longer teachings on Lion’s Roar, nine teachers explain what suffering is, how we feel it, and why it isn’t a condemnation — it’s…

Read More

How to Do Metta – Lion’s Roar – Meditation Article

Kuan Yin, bodhisattva of compassion. Photo by Liza Matthews. Jack Kornfield on beginning this time-honored, heart-opening practice. In our culture, people find it difficult to direct loving-kindness to themselves. We may feel that we are unworthy, or that it’s egotistical, or that we shouldn’t be happy when other people are suffering. So rather than start loving-kindness practice with ourselves, which is traditional, I find it more helpful to start with those we most naturally love and care about. One of…

Read More

How to Practice Bowing – Lion’s Roar – Meditation Article

When we bow to another person, says Brother Phap Hai, we honor both their goodness and our own. Illustration by Tomi Um. In the famed Lotus Sutra, there is a wonderful chapter in which we meet a bodhisattva named Never Despising. His practice was not doing long hours of sitting meditation, chanting the sutras, or reciting mantras. Upon seeing another person, he would put his palms together, bow, and say, “You will become a buddha one day!” This was bodhisattva…

Read More

What Is Vipassana Meditation and How Do You Practice It? – Meditation Article

Step-by-step instructions on how to do Vipassana Insight Meditation ­— the foundation of all Buddhist meditations — from the late master Sayadaw U Pandita. Photo by Alexandre Chambon. What is Vipassana? Vipassana, or insight meditation, is the practice of continued close attention to sensation, through which one ultimately sees the true nature of existence. It is believed to be the form of meditation practice taught by the Buddha himself, and although the specific form of the practice may vary, it…

Read More

Whatever Arises in Your Mind, Be Present – Meditation Article

How does meditation work? Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon say it gives your distracted mind a job. With practice, you can learn to be present with whatever arises. Photo by Nick Chen. There is a famous story about a monk named Shrona, who asked the Buddha about the best way to meditate. The Buddha asked Shrona, who had been a musician before he was a monk, what was the best method to get sound out of his instrument: “Was it…

Read More

How to Feed Your Demons – Meditation Article

Lama Tsultrim Allione teaches you an innovative technique to turn your inner demons into friends. Illustrations by Carole Hénaff. Feeding our demons rather than fighting them contradicts the conventional approach of fighting against whatever assails us. But it turns out to be a remarkably effective path to inner integration. Demons (maras in Sanskrit) are not bloodthirsty ghouls waiting for us in dark corners. Demons are within us. They are energies we experience every day, such as fear, illness, depression, anxiety,…

Read More

How to Be a Bodhisattva – Meditation Article

It may seem like an unattainable ideal, but you can start right now as a bodhisattva-in-training. All you need is the aspiration to put others first and some inspiration from helpful guides like the Buddhist teachers found here. “Hands of Compassion” by Mayumi Oda. Everyone Is Your Guest Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche on your life as a future bodhisattva Many Mahayana scriptures speak of inviting all sentient beings as our guests. When we invite a guest, we have a sense of…

Read More

How to Sit – Lion’s Roar – Meditation Article

Needle-felted wool Buddha by Gwyneth Jones; Photo by Marvin Moore.Adapted from How to Sitby Thich Nhat Hanh © 2014 The Unified Buddhist Church. Reprinted with permission of Parallax Press, the publisher.Thank you for reading Lion’s Roar. Now can we ask for your help? Lion’s Roar is a nonprofit. Our mission is to share the wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings—to inspire, comfort, support, and enlighten readers around the world. Our aspiration is to keep LionsRoar.com available to everyone, providing a supportive, inspiring Buddhist…

Read More

Thich Nhat Hanh on The Practice of Mindfulness – Meditation Article

The great meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches five mindfulness exercises to help you live with happiness and joy. Calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh. Purchas a print in the Lion’s Roar store. Our true home is not in the past. Our true home is not in the future. Our true home is in the here and the now. Life is available only in the here and the now, and it is our true home. Mindfulness is the energy that helps us…

Read More

How to Invoke the Medicine Buddha – Meditation Article

David Michie teaches us a healing meditation to purify karma and cultivate well-being. Artwork courtesy of livingbuddhistart.com It is no coincidence that the words “medication” and “meditation” are only one letter different. They both come from the same Latin root word, medeor, meaning “to heal or to make whole.” In the West, our medical focus is on the external—on the curing of physical symptoms—while Eastern traditions focus more on the internal, that is, addressing the mental causes of illness. It is…

Read More

How Maitri Opens Your Heart – Meditation Article

Maitri means loving-kindness or unconditional friendliness. David Nichtern shows you how to do this heart-opening Buddhist practice, and Cyndi Lee explains how to incorporate it in your yoga practice. Photo by Xevi Casanovas. Our hearts are always fundamentally open. They’re just covered up sometimes by doubt, hesitation, fear, anxiety, and all kinds of self-protective habitual patterns. The practice of opening the heart is based on exploring and reversing some of these patterns. We cultivate openness while noting and dissolving the…

Read More

Sleepy Mind, Monkey Mind – Lion’s Roar – Meditation Article

Anita Feng shares how to stop going back and forth between drowsiness and “monkey mind.” Photo by Andre Mouton. Question: When I’m meditating, I mostly flip-flop between trying not to fall asleep and getting lost in my thoughts and fantasies. How do I stop going back and forth between drowsiness and monkey mind? Anita Feng: Whenever you wander into the stupor of sleepiness or the labyrinth fantasies of the monkey mind, just note this occurrence. There is no need to…

Read More

How to Practice Loving-Kindness – Lion’s Roar – Meditation Article

JoAnna Hardy teaches us the famed Buddhist practice of metta – offering love to ourselves and others. Illustrations by Tomi Um. When I was introduced to the practice of metta—most often translated as lovingkindness practice—I definitely knew it wasn’t for me. It was too mushy and sentimental for my pragmatic mind. It was reminiscent of the wishful praying that I thought was reserved for the type of faith I had left behind. I didn’t really believe that I—or maybe any living…

Read More

How to Look at a Wall – Meditation Article

Zen teacher Karen Maezen Miller explain’s Bodhidharma’s famous practice of wall gazing. Photo by David Gabriel Fischer. “Would you like to learn to meditate now?” I asked this of a student as we neared the end of the meditation class. I was losing my patience. All morning long, she had raised philosophical questions and objections. She wanted to debate Buddhism and not practice it. Time was running out, and we’d barely begun. I kept trying to get back to the point,…

Read More

Meditation is the Key to Knowing Yourself — Pema Chödrön – Lion’s Roar – Meditation Article

Photo by Eniko Kis. Meditation practice awakens our trust that the wisdom and compassion that we need are already within us. It helps, says Pema Chödrön, to know ourselves: our rough parts and our smooth parts, our passion, aggression, ignorance and wisdom. Meditation practice awakens our trust that the wisdom and compassion that we need are already within us. It helps us to know ourselves: our rough parts and our smooth parts, our passion, aggression, ignorance and wisdom. The reason that…

Read More