The entire process of transforming the mind from delusions to virtue – the job of being a Buddhist – involves first listening to the teachings, reflecting on their meaning, and, finally, gaining experience of their reality in meditation. The courses are:
Each week we hold twelve meditation sessions, including our 30-minute Express Meditations every weekday morning and evening.
M1 | Express Meditation
Start the day at 7am Mountain Time with guided meditations every weekday
Duration: 30 minutes
Evening Purification Meditation
End the day with a purification practice, the Four Opponent Powers.
Duration: 30 minutes
M2 | Concentration Meditation (Shamata)
All Buddhist meditations can be divided into two types: Calm Abiding (Sanskrit: shamata; Tibetan: shi ne), which are essentially techniques for developing concentration; and Insight (Sanskrit: vipasana; Tibetan: lhag tong).
Concentration is the basis of the ability to successfully engage in insight meditation.
To develop concentration, you focus on an object, such as the breath, an image of the Buddha, or one’s own thoughts. The goal is to get the mind to stay stable, neither overexcited, flitting from one thought to another, nor dull and spaced-out.
The process includes the use of various parts of the mind, such as attending, the abilithy of the mind to pay attention; mindfulness, the ability to not forget what you’re doing moment by moment; and vigilance, which His Holiness the Dalai Lama has called “the policeman”: a part of the mind that oversees things, making sure the parts of the mind are doing their job.
Good concentration has the characteristic of being sharp and clear as well as calm and still.
M3 | Lamrim Meditation (Vipasana)
Buddha taught many types of techniques for developing insight. A technique that’s popular in the modern world that involves paying attention to the various sensations in the body helps develop insight into the reality of impermanence, that everything changes moment by moment.
The techniques we use here are to help us gain insight into all the various stages of the path to enlightenment — impermanence, karma, the nature of mind, compassion, emptiness.
The method we use is analysis, the ability to think through logically the various points of the path, the lamrim, which will trigger insights into those truths, which gradually become more and more experiential.
Insight meditation is the actual meaning of the verb “to meditate” in Tibetan. Gom means “to familiarize” – we are attempting to familiarize our mind with — to develop insight into – reality, how things exist.
The key to success is one’s ability to focus, to concentrate: the deeper the concentration, the better the analysis, the more experiential the insight.
M4 | Visualization Meditation
Visualization meditation techniques involve imagining a buddha in front of oneself and receiving blessings in form of light, for example, and reciting the mantra of that buddha.
The various buddhas depcited in tantra are embodiments of various qualities we want to develop, so by visualizing Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion, for example, and reciting his mantra — a verbal expression of his compassionate energy – we activate these qualities within us.
These meditations are uplifting; we begin develop what is referred to in tantra as “divine pride”; we learn to identify ourselves in terms of our potential buddhahood.
These techniques also need concentration and are alternative methods for achieving insight.
M5 | Secular Meditation
There are various techniques for becoming familiar with the mind, and to steady the mind, that don’t involve overt Buddhist terminology.