Lion’s Roar Magazine

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…

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Take Refuge in Your Body – Meditation Article

When the storms of life hit, your body can be a place of refuge and healing. Cyndi Lee says it starts with making friends with your body. Photo by Borislav Zhuykov / Stocksy United. My beagle, Little Bit, can sense a storm gathering. The reason I know this is because Little Bit uses the language of her body to communicate her fear. From just the slightest shift in air pressure, her chunky little body starts quivering. Then, at the first…

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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…

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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…

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How to Practice Bearing Witness – Meditation Article

Zen teacher Jules Shuzen Harris teaches us a three-step practice to connect with and serve those who are suffering. Illustrations by Carole Hénaff. In times of doubt, disbelief, and insecurity, the practice of bearing witness can be an important aspect of our awareness and presence. Bearing witness can be defined as acknowledging that something exists or is true. From a Buddhist perspective, and specifically the Zen Peacemakers Order, to bear witness is to embrace both the joy and the suffering…

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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…

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How to Establish a Daily Practice of Almost Anything, in Six Steps – Meditation Article

Illustrations by Tomi Um. Whether it’s meditation, yoga, or your favorite creative activity, you’ll get so much more from doing it every day. Follow these six steps, says Anne Cushman, to enjoy all the benefits of daily practice. Going to a retreat or program is a wonderful way to deepen our meditation practice. But how do we stay connected with these waking-up practices when we go home to the myriad projects, emails, responsibilities, and distractions waiting for us? This is…

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Why does my breathing feel uncomfortable in meditation? – Meditation Article

Illustration by Nolan Pelletier.You can’t breathe wrong. Generally, Buddhist meditation is not a yogic practice in which you’re supposed to breathe in a particular way (although this can be the case in certain advanced meditations). In mindfulness practice, the breath is often used as the focal point or object of concentration. Because it’s a practice of nonjudgmental awareness, you’re simply aware of the breath as it is, without trying to change it. In fact, trying to control your breath in…

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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…

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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…

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Oh, Hello There, Body – Lion’s Roar – Meditation Article

Photo by Zack Jarosz. From your facial muscles down to your toes, tuning into how each part of your body feels can help you discover what your body really needs. In a body scan, we systematically focus our attention on different parts of our body, from our feet to the muscles in our face. This creates a rare opportunity for us to experience our body as it is, without judging or trying to change it. This exercise is designed to help us…

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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…

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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…

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

Pema Chödrön teaches us “sending and taking,” an ancient Buddhist practice to awaken compassion. With each in-breath, we take in others’ pain. With each out-breath, we send them relief. Illustration by Carole Henaff. Tonglen practice, also known as “taking and sending,” reverses our usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. In tonglen practice, we visualize taking in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out whatever will benefit them on the out-breath. In the process, we become liberated…

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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…

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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…

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How Do I Work with My Fear of Other People’s Anger? – Meditation Article

You can’t stop people from being angry at you, advises Insight Meditation teacher Gina Sharpe, but you can change how it makes you feel. Photo by Jonathan Emmanuel Flores Tarello. Question: Buddhists talk a lot about working with your own anger, but what about other people’s anger? One of my main problems in life is that I’m afraid people will get angry at me. That makes me vulnerable, lack strength, and fear conflict. I am easily hurt by anger, and…

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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,…

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