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2010 TBA-IMG Meditation Audio Schedule

Audio files from Dharma Talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu of Metta Forest Monastery

Group Title: Description [Date]
M1 Clear Sense of Priority: why practicing is important [12/19/2009],
M2 How to Save the World: karma, you are responsible for your actions, you are in charge [1/2/2010],
M2a A Small Steady Flame: patience with your effort, protecting your small spark [1/16/2010],
M3 Samsara: going around and around,
M4 Fires of the Mind: reasons extinguish the fires [1/30/2010],
M5 What we Noticed: [2/6/2010],
M6 Life in the Buddha's Hospital: discover your course cure [2/13/2010],
M7 Appropriate Attention: [2/20/2010],
M8 Luminous Mind: train your mind, catching greed, anger and delusion, [2/27/2010],
MA Taking Your Own Medicine: using meditation in daily life [2/27/2010]
S0M Food for the Mind: building strength, nourishing your mind, [3/6/2010]
S1a The Steadiness of Your Gaze: keep your mind where it is, [3/13/2010]
S1b Watching Over Time: building up skills,
S1c Wheel of Dharma: keep …

2010 Schedule (every Sunday)

Meditation group meets every Sunday starting at 7:00am in the Kwan Yin Hall at Jade Buddha Temple. This group is design primarily for everyone (beginners) who have been wanting to have a regular and stronger practice, so years of experience is not necessary. If are experienced, we genuine feel that you will find that your meditation deeper and richer.

As a Member of the group, everyone is committed to, in order to help nurture the habit of regular and deeper practice.:
- Sunday group meditation,
- 2 personal daily practices.

Contact us: questions and comments.

Six month report to Venerable Hung-I

Dear Venerable Hung-I,

We are happy to report to you that the TBA IMG has successfully completed the first six month class and the group has decided to continue with a minor changes. We are requesting your continuous guidance and support.

The changes include moving the day of meditation from Sunday to Saturday. One of the reasons to change to Saturday is so that we can have longer practices. We also would like to request to schedule Dharma sessions with you as your schedule permits. In our new 3 hours session, we have added a 5-10 minuted Dharma talk at the beginning. The place of practice will be at the Bodhi School Auditorium Grand Hall (still be in the Quan Yin Hall and move to the conference room when it is not available).

For the past six months we have consistently 10 and sometimes up to 20 people attending the groups practice. We renewing our a new six months commitment and plan to add a new one, which is to explain to 5 people what insight meditation is and keep doing it…

Six Months is Over: Momment of Truth?

By the time the 6 months commitment is over each yogi would have logged in 366 hours, 183 days or 26 weeks of meditation. Most important may be not how much but how much each has learned. Completing the course show fortitude and persistence that will benefit your path in a long run. Congratulations!!!!

Couple of notes for this post. In November 22nd, 2009, we will have another longer sitting. Do mark your calendar. The second matter is a group decision on future plan for the group. Many have expressed interests in continuing the group sitting. We will meet and discuss at the end of Nov 22nd sessions.

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Highly recommended Book on Insight Meditation ...
Title: "Tree of Wisdom, The River of No Return" by Venerable Sujiva. Click here to download the book
Source: http://www.sukhihotu.com/index.php.

Quot on mindfulness "... good states of mind described could easily come under three categories…

Report from a Practicing Member

Personally, I have received many benefits from our group practice, especially from the interviews with Venerable Dr. Dhammapiya Sayadaw. Please see my report card below from last weeks interview on 9-20. I wrote this to show my appreciation.

Background
Meditation is normally called a skill of mental training, but the ultimate truth is that Vipassana meditation is in reality a process of processes. All things are manifested in a process of phenomena in constant change. All things--including the act of observation in daily life or in meditation, the observing mind and the object--are in a process of flow from the direct experience of practice, flowing in the flow and with the flow. As Sayadaw Shaw O Min states in his booklet, Right Attitude in Meditation, "...The object is not important. The mind that is working in the background-working to be aware, i.e., the observing mind- is more important..."

In a slow process of mental training, to shift attention from the observed object t…

November 7-Day Insight Meditation Retreat

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Stilling the Restless Mind- a 7 day Insight Meditation retreat lead by Venerable Seelananda. This will be held in a idelsitic location- the American Bodhi Center. The retreat date is from November 26th, 2009 to December 2nd, 2009.



The American Bodhi Center is dotted with rolling hills and brooks and is full of geographical variety. It serves as a cultural, educational, and altruistic activity center for Buddhism. The Bodhi Center has a grand meditation hall and comfortable living quarters for meditators. Surrounded by quiet forest (see video and phots) accommodating either individual or groups retreat.

To register please call 979-921-6969 or download for retreat information, registration and consent forms.

WEEK 13: End of the First Half

IMG Notes for August 30, 2009

The IMG extended five hour session began at 7:00 A.M. with a 20 minute audio dharma talk given by Thanissaro Bhikku. The subject of the talk, Befriending The Breath, was an insightful discussion on the importance of learning to be 'friends' with the breath. We all know the paths that some of our 'old friends' can lead us down--those old friends being the unskilful states of mind. Developing a new friendship with the breath can lead us to new friends, and new, skillful states of mind. These skillful states bring us true peace and happiness, but in order to achieve this, we must spend more time with the breath, and develop a lasting friendship with it. We must learn to ignore the call of our old friends while we are cultivating a relationship with our breath. Choosing and developing a friendship with our breath will yield the best friendship that we can ever have.

Group discussion began about 11:00 A.M., and the main subject of interest center…

WEEK 12: Confidence and Effort (2 of the 5 Controlling Faculties of Success)

IMG Notes from August 23, 2009
We are halfway through our sessions, and questions often come up during our practice.
1. Has the effort been worth it so far?
2. Why are we not enlightened yet?
3. Will we be enlightened by the end of our six months together?
4. If not, will we continue?

The demands of raising children, managing our careers, and interacting with our spouses can indeed place significant strain on our practice time and practice attitude. We must have faith and confidence in the knowledge that our efforts are worth it, even if at times it doesn't seem to be. Sometimes, it is not until we face a major life altering experience that we begin to see the benefits of our practice reveal itself. Josten shared his recent experience with illness, a hospital stay, and his personal revelation regarding the value of his practice. Even though he experienced severe pain and discomfort, he realized that his practice sustained him, and made his ordeal easier to bear.

Are you ready to face…

Week 10: Meditation Q&A by Ven. Hung-I

IMG Notes from Aug. 7, 2009
A. After walking and sitting meditation, Rev. Hung-I joined our group for a half hour discussion. Ken informed the group that Josten is not feeling well. (Get better, Josten!) The Reverend praised the group for its commitment, and he understood the determination that goes into making the decision to continue practice. He was also happy to see us using the temple.
B. For discussion, three questions were offered to the Reverend.

Question 1. What is mindfulness?
The Reverend touched on several points regarding the nature of mindfulness. The key points were that we all have some level of mindfulness, but most of the time we do not use it in the right way. There must be Right Mindfulness. Right Mindfulness leads to Right Concentration; Right Concentration leads to Right Contemplation.
Question 2. What is the value of Walking Meditation?
The main points given on this question were that sitting and walking meditation complement each other. Walking meditation helps us to…

Ken Pao's Dharma Talk 8/16/2009 at 10AM

Dear Dharma friends,
We would like to invite you to join our Dharma talk by Ken Pao on Sunday Aug. 16th.
Ken has been studying Buddhism since 1993. He has deep understanding of Buddha’s teaching from both Mahayana and Theravada traditions and has also practiced “Emptiness Meditation”, “Zen meditation”, and “Insight meditation”. Ken is currently leading the Insight Meditation Group and the “Middle-Way” Discourse Study Group in the temple.
Ken’s Dharma talk will touch upon the following topics:
1. How practical is the Buddha’s teaching for the lay person?
2. According to the Theravada tradition, what is the most important stage in the enlightened
path?
3. Can the precepts, concentration, and wisdom be accomplished in one single practice?

Hope to see you this Sunday!
Meditation, Kwan Yin Hall, 9:00 – 10:00 AMDharma talk, Kwan Yin Hall, 10:15 – 11:15 AM

Week 7: 2 Key Ingredients to Your Success

What is important to physicists is also important to meditators. When physicists were asked what is important for them when they approach problems in physics, they cited two factors:

--First, there must be confidence that the problem itself is worthy of their effort and investigation. The problem is VERY important.
--Second, there must be confidence that there is a solution to the problem--that it can be overcome.

These two factors relate directly to our meditation practice. First, we must have confidence that the challenge of daily, committed practice is worthy of our effort and investigation. Once we discover that meditation requires daily practice, it is too easy to say, "Oh, meditation is good, but I do not have the time."

Secondly, we must have the confidence that we can overcome the problems that confront us as we strive to maintain our daily practice. Once we begin to practice and we begin to realize how little we know, we may begin to doubt or rethink our effort and …

Week 6: First discussion session ...

We had a wonderful open discussion on this 6th week of IMG. There were ideas and questions which will help our practice. The plan is to take up the topics every 2 weeks, so we can benefit from comprehending them. Eventually, we may only need to have this once a month, and dedicate the rest of the time to the practice.

Questions---
- Does meditation cause you to be lazy
- Does meditation cause you to have more dreams
- Does the practice of meditation make you more intuitive?
- Does the practice of meditation make you more aware of the spirit world?
- What should one focus on because of different teachers techniques
... breath
... counting breath
... abdomen (Mahashi)
... body sensation (Geonka)
- What is the right insight meditation technique to use?
- How does Metta Meditation relate to Insight Meditation?
...How does one send loving-kindness, good will, etc., to others?

Quote of the week:
Sayadaw Shew O Min "The object is not important The mind that is working in the background –working to be …

First Interview July 12, 2009

Instruction:
1. Call from home at individual’s own signed-up time. Teacher: Venerable Dr. Dhammapiya Sayadaw and phone number is (510)795-0405.
2. When connected, please do identify yourselves that you are from the Jade Buddha Temple in Houston, Texas and would like to have an interview with Sayadaw Dhammapiya. This is because many times, someone else might answer the phone instead of Sayadaw himself.
3. Do keep your interview within ten minutes.
4. Read and get familiar with "How to interview with a teacher?” and “Meditation Instructions – Sayadaw U Pandita” from the web site click here. This will help the interviewees tremendously.
5. Please do call the Sayadaw. He will lead us into “The Four Foundations of Mindfulness”. Experienced meditators and beginners will all benefit from the interviews.

Interview Schedule:
=========================================
Sunday Interviews:
Kenan 7:00 PM
Kumala 7:10 PM
Maya 7:20 PM
Raytano 7:30 PM
Gary 7:40 PM
Christine 7:50 PM
Vivian 8:00 PM
Patricia 8:10 PM
J…

Week 5 Notes: Choices in Life

Delayed Gratification
Means giving up short term desires for a long term happiness. One of the central ideas for the group is to practice meditation in order to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves for long lasting happiness.

In a dharma talk, 'The Three Characteristics', by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, the teacher tells this story to show a clear example of delayed gratification:
"...When a little girl's mother died, her father promised not to take another wife. The little girl was very happy with her father's decision. But when her father brought with him a new wife after his business travels, the little girl was very sad. The new stepmother understood this, and wanted to help the little girl.
So she asked to play a game of chess with the little girl. During the game, the stepmother explained to her, 'In order to get what you want in life, you look for the important thing and give up the other.' The little girl wasn't paying attention to what her new stepmoth…

Week 4 Notes: Importance of Meditating with a Group

Meditating with a few friends at regular times can be of great benefit towards constancy of practice and development of wisdom. The solitary meditator eventually faces diminishing will-power, as there's often something else to do that seems more important (or more interesting) than watching the breath. Regular group meditation with an agreed-upon time keeps the participants going, regardless of their flux of moods. (The investigation of these shifts of disposition often yields important insights, but on our own we can find it difficult to persevere with them.) As well as seeing the personal benefits, you can reflect that your efforts are helping others to keep practicing.

... click here for the full article- "Introduction To Insight Meditation" by Amaravati Buddhist Centre, U.K. (1988)... or for other related audio programs. Thanks to Patricia Pellicciotti who sent us this material.

Interview- will start July 11th, 2009.

Instruction:

1. Call from home at individual’s own signed-up time.
Teacher: Venerable Dr. Dhammapiya Sayadaw (aka. Sayadaw Dhammapiya) (Phone number not yet available. Please check back here later.)
2. When connected, please do identify yourselves that you are from the Jade Buddha Temple in Houston, Texas and would like to have an interview with Sayadaw Dhammapiya.
This is because many times, someone else might answer the phone instead of Sayadaw himself.
3. Do keep your interview within ten minutes.
4. Please do read and get familiar with "How to interview with a teacher?” and “Meditation Instructions – Sayadaw U Pandita” from the web site click here. This will help the interviewees tremendously.
5. Please do call the Sayadaw.
He will lead us into “The Four Foundations of Mindfulness”. Experienced meditators and beginners will all benefit from the interviews.

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The Opening Passages from the Mahasatipatthana Sutta

"This is the o…

Right Attitude to Meditation

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Click to read the entire book.



"Syadaw Shwe Oo Min, is a well known meditation teacher in Vipassana over Burma and 1 of 4 great disciples of Syadaw Mahasi. ... The cited materials in IMG blog about mindfulness are excellent and outstanding in understanding about what is Sati. But they are short on how to transpire the know-how into practicing the skill of mental training. As old saying, it is easier to say than done. The attached booklet will fill up the gap between know-how and practice perfectly and squarely.

As Dr. G put a remark in his book – Mindfulness in Plain English, it will take years of practice and experience for yogi starting to appreciate what is all about mindfulness. That is exactly what I have been through, a waking up call in the journey of new discovery." submitted by Oliver Chang.

Week 2 Notes: June 15, 2009. (22 weeks to go ...)

Tips to "structuring your daily practices": where, when and how long by Bhante Gunaratana.

"... length of time (we suggest at least 20 minutes) is not as important as the regularity ... meditate regularly." ... read more ...
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Two Thoughts About Life
1. Setting Priorities ... How long do we have left to live?
What will we do if we ONLY have 22 minutes left to live. We seldom think about this even though we know that this life will end. May be it is time to figure out what is it that is most important in life.!!!

2. Simple Story of Life
Chapter 1:
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in.
I am lost. I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out!
Chapter 2:
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again!
I can’t believe I am in the same place! But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long tim…

What is Mindfulness (正念)?

Mindfulness (正念) Defined by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (谭尼沙罗尊者)- ".. to keep the breath in mind. Keep remembering the breath each time you breathe in, each time you breathe out."
Click here to read the entire article ...

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“正念”- (Mindfulness in Chinese)
“正念是以一种特定的方式来觉察,即有意识地觉察(On Purpose)、活在当下(In the Present Moment)及不做判断(Nonjudgementally)”
Click here to read the entire article ...

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Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana - "Mindfulness is mirror-thought. It reflects only what is presently happening and in exactly the way it is happening. There are no biases."
Click here to read the entire article ...

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Week 1 Notes: June 8, 2009.

We have good start (6/7/2009), keeping daily practice will help maintain your momentum.

The following articles are will help support your meditation.
1. Creativity by Ven Thanissaro shows us how to practice consistently. (http://www.watmetta.org/ ).

"curious, inquisitive side of your mind is what’s going to lead to discernment. ... you can make a game out of learning how to bring the mind to settle down, then once the mind is settled down it’ll naturally want to understand this, understand that, understand the processes of what you’re doing. That’s insight."

Get the entire article-
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/CrossIndexed/Published/Meditations2/041004%20M2%20Creativity%20&%20Play.pdf

2. Approaching a “good friend" is what Ken mentioned of Buddhadasa Bhikkhu
Article (read pg82-83) - Anapanasati: Mindfulness of Breathing

Good Webs site- http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/ http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/

Partial Extract from
"In This Very Life
The Liberation Teachings of the Buddha"
By
Sayadaw U Pandita

MEDITATION INSTRUCTIONS
The Buddha suggested that either a forest place under a tree or any other very quiet place is best for meditation. He said the meditator should sit quietly and peacefully with legs crossed. If sitting with crossed legs proves to be too difficult other sitting postures may be used. For those with back trouble a chair is quite acceptable. It is true that to achieve peace of mind, we must make sure our body is at peace. So it is important to choose a position that will be comfortable for a long period of time.
Sit with your back erect, at a right angle to the ground, but not too stiff. The eason for sitting straight is not difficult to see. An arched or crooked back will soon bring pain. Furthermore, the physical effort to remain upright without additional support energizes the meditation practice.
Close your eyes. Now place your attention at the belly, at t…

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

How to Interview with a Teacher?

The Interview

by Sayadaw U Pandita “In This Very Life”, Chapter 1.
The Interview Process

The interview process is quite simple. You should be able to communicate the essence of your practice in about ten minutes. Consider that you are reporting on your research into yourself, which is what vipassana actually is. Try to adhere to the standards used in the scientific world brevity, accuracy and precision.

First, report how many hours of sitting you did and how many of walking in the most recent twenty-four-hour period. If you are quite truthful and honest about this, it will show the sincerity of your practice.

Next, describe your sitting practice. It is not necessary to describe each sitting in detail. If sittings are similar, you may combine their traits together in a general report. Try using details from the clearest sitting or sittings. Begin your description with the primary object of meditation, the rise and fall of the abdomen. After this you may add other objects that…

Common concerns with Mahasi method

There are two questions or doubts commonly associated with Mahasi method: 1. Observing abdomen, 2. Using labeling.

The following three quotes are the explanations for observing abdomen and using labeling.
1) "Satipatthana Vipassana" by Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw:
Rising-Falling
A simpler and easier form of the exercise for a beginner is this: With every breath there occurs in the abdomen a rising-falling movement. A beginner should start with the exercise of noting this movement. This rising-falling movement is easy to observe because it is coarse and therefore more suitable for the beginner. As in schools where simple lessons are easy to learn, so also is the practice of vipassana meditation. A beginner will find it easier to develop concentration and knowledge with a simple and easy exercise. ---

Outline of Basic Exercises
When contemplating rising and falling, the disciple should keep his mind on the abdomen. He will then come to know the upward movement or expansion of the abdo…