Is Buddhism true? A finely woven conversation

Oh, boy, I adore the work of Sam Harris. I have been an avid fan since reading his Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, two or three years ago. I listen to pretty much every podcast Sam produces, and had the opportunity to see him live at one of his events in Toronto this past September.

In this podcast, Sam speaks with Robert Wright, author of Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment.

Their conversation is intricate, dense and finely woven. This is a ‘must listen’ for any reasonable, and reasonably serious, practitioner of Buddhism.

It’s suitable whether you have years of experience with meditation, or if you’ve never meditated before and are wondering what it’s all about.

 

(via SamHarris.org)

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Vast enough

“When we stop distracting ourselves, and courageously dive into the heart of any feeling, positive or negative, light or dark, right or wrong, we rediscover the vast ocean of who we are. For every feeling is made of unspeakable intelligence, and no feeling is a mistake. And we are vast enough to hold it all.” – Jeff Foster

(via Jeff Foster Life Without a Centre)

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The mirror of mindfulness

sunny sky background

This past summer I very much enjoyed reading Sam Harris’ book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion.

A helpful Redditor extracted and posted all of the meditation instructions from the book, including the following simple eight-point instructions on “How to Meditate.”

  1. Sit comfortably , with your spine erect, either in a chair or cross-legged on a cushion.
  2. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and feel the points of contact between your body and the chair or the floor. Notice the sensations associated with sitting— feelings of pressure, warmth, tingling, vibration, etc.
  3. Gradually become aware of the process of breathing. Pay attention to wherever you feel the breath most distinctly— either at your nostrils or in the rising and falling of your abdomen.
  4. Allow your attention to rest in the mere sensation of breathing. (You don’t have to control your breath. Just let it come and go naturally.)
  5. Every time your mind wanders in thought, gently return it to the breath.
  6. As you focus on the process of breathing, you will also perceive sounds, bodily sensations, or emotions. Simply observe these phenomena as they appear in consciousness and then return to the breath.
  7. The moment you notice that you have been lost in thought, observe the present thought itself as an object of consciousness. Then return your attention to the breath— or to any sounds or sensations arising in the next moment.
  8. Continue in this way until you can merely witness all objects of consciousness— sights, sounds, sensations, emotions, even thoughts themselves— as they arise, change, and pass away.

Those who are new to this practice generally find it useful to hear instructions of this kind spoken aloud during the course of a meditation session.

You can make use of two excellent guided meditations (one shorter, one longer) over at SamHarris.org.

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