Guided Meditations

The Mettā Sutta (read by Thanissaro Bhikkhu):

The guided Mettā (Lovingkindness) meditation led by Dustin a couple of weeks ago (March 11) was based on Buddhist instructions for extending lovingkindness to all living beings. The following is the guided Mettā meditation led by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

In this 9-minute guided meditation, Thanissaro Bhikkhu starts with thoughts of goodwill and lovingkindness before turning to some instructions for a practice of Ānāpānasati (mindfulness of breathing). You might consider remaining with the breath for several minutes after his words of guidance have ended.

0:59-1:40: “It is not a selfish thought – this desire for true happiness – because true happiness has to come from within. It comes from the part of the mind that doesn’t need to take anything away from anyone else. In fact, when that part of the mind is developed and cultivated, you find that you have more than enough happiness for yourself – you have to share with other people, as well.”

5:22-6:00: “You can experiment with the rhythm and texture of the breath, the depth of the breath – fast or slow, shallow, deep, heavy, light. There are all different kinds of breathing. Experiment a little bit to see which kind of breathing feels best for the body right now. This is one very immediate and visceral way of showing goodwill for yourself. After all, no one can force you to breathe in a way that’s uncomfortable. So take advantage of your freedom here.”

6:11-6:43: “If your mind slips off, bring it back to the breath. If it slips off again, bring it back again. If it slips off a hundred times, a thousand times, bring it back to the breath. Don’t get discouraged, because that’s one of the important lessons in the meditation, is that you can always start again. And your ability to catch yourself going off, and bring yourself back, that’s what strengthens your mindfulness.”

The following is Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s short talk on getting started with jhāna practices and the value of learning and cultivating deeper levels of calm, focus, and steadiness of mind.

0:29-1:18: “The word the Buddha uses for meditate is to go do jhāna. Jhāyati is the verb in Pāli. It’s a homonym with the word for burning, as when a flame burns steadily. They have lots of different words for ‘burning’ in Pāli – words for raging fires, words for smoldering fires. But the verb for a steady flame, like the flame of an oil lamp, is jhāyati. That is used also for doing jhāna. What you’re doing is trying to make the mind steady, with a clear, clear flame. Flames that have lots of flickering – ups and downs – are hard to read by. A steady flame is one you can read by clearly. That’s the kind of quality you’re trying to get in the mind, so you can read the mind.”

You may also find it useful to read Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s 2002 talk entitled “A Small, Steady Flame.” For a transcript of the talk, click here.