Buddhadharma & Insight Meditation Practices

Select Teachings By Topic

Mindfulness of the Body

Mindfulness of the Body

The ability to be mindful of the body is fundamental to liberating the mind. Read the following article and listen to the suggested audio dharma talks, and then deepen your understanding of the teachings by contemplating the reflections provided below.

How to Meditate

How to Meditate

Mindfulness meditation begins with learning to concentrate your attention on an object, typically the breath, which enables you to notice how your mind is reacting to what it is experiencing.

Starting a Mindfulness Meditation Practice

Starting a Mindfulness Meditation Practice

As a meditation teacher, I’m often solicited for advice by students who are seeking to change their lives in some way. They may want to alter an aspect of their behavior or their emotional life, or improve their relations with others.

Mindfulness of the Body

Mindfulness of the Body

The ability to be mindful of the body is fundamental to liberating the mind. Read the following article and listen to the suggested audio dharma talks, and then deepen your understanding of the teachings by contemplating the reflections provided below.

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness

The Buddha taught what are often called the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, in which you systematically learn how to pay attention to and investigate what arises in your mind, whether the experience comes from one of your five body senses or from the mind generating thought.

Awakening in the Body

Awakening in the Body

When you choose to be present with your body when it is in pain or when it is feeling the tension and contraction caused by your wanting mind, you are accepting your life experience just as it is, in this moment, without clinging.

Maintaining Mindfulness in Daily Life

Maintaining Mindfulness in Daily Life

Instead of staying mindful of whatever is happening in the moment, we immediately begin to interpret our experience and create a story based on past associations and attitudes we have about ourselves and others. However, our interpretation is

Starting a Mindfulness Meditation Practice

Starting a Mindfulness Meditation Practice

As a meditation teacher, I’m often solicited for advice by students who are seeking to change their lives in some way. They may want to alter an aspect of their behavior or their emotional life, or improve their relations with others.

4 Things Unique to the Buddha’s Teachings

4 Things Unique to the Buddha’s Teachings

Conditionality (the law of cause and effect), the Four Noble Truths, the practice of mindful awareness, and the power of self-reliance differentiate Buddhism from other spiritual traditions.

The Four Noble Truths As Practice

The Four Noble Truths As Practice

The Buddha’s Four Noble Truths are more than a philosophical statement; they’re also a practice that leads you to the realization of important insights.

The Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths

All things are constantly changing, even what is most precious to you. You know that you and those you love will die, but you don’t know when or how. This is the existential dilemma of life, and the price of being a conscious human being. It is simply the way life is constructed.

Right Effort: Seeking the Charged

Right Effort: Seeking the Charged

Right effort refers to how you pay attention. You cultivate and train your mind in order to shift your attention from one object or thought pattern to another.

Awareness of Awareness

Awareness of Awareness

This is a series of three dharma talks on awareness that Phillip Moffitt gave at a daylong retreat at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies on April 20, 2013. Listening to all three talks sequentially can provide the context for doing a personal retreat at home.

Patience and Determination

Patience and Determination

Patience is the ability to stay present in a moment without being defined by restlessness. Determination is unceasing persistence. A balance of patience and determination brings sustainability.

Integrating Right Intention in Your Life

Integrating Right Intention in Your Life

Your journey to well-being in daily life and ultimate liberation begins with right intention. Read the following article and listen to the suggested audio dharma talk, and then deepen your understanding of the teachings by contemplating the reflections provided below.

The Rewards of Right Action

The Rewards of Right Action

It’s not always easy to identify what right action is, but mindfulness and compassion can help you gain this wisdom.

The Promise of Karma

The Promise of Karma

In this moment a number of different karmic seeds are blossoming in your life. You can effect how this moment unfolds by being mindful and cultivating wise intention.

Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing

Doing the right thing when it’s difficult has a cumulative effect over time because you let loose, at least in that moment, of the attachment to your own well-being, and you discover, “I survived that one!” It also increases the possibility of your doing the right thing again in the future.

Two Facets of Wisdom

Two Facets of Wisdom

If you give yourself the chance to investigate your suffering more deeply, you will discover that being “with” your pain can lead to wisdom and happiness.

Wise Living

Wise Living

When we surrender, we are relinquishing our demand that the present be something other than it actually is and we are fostering a willingness to be present with what is.

The Heart’s Intention

The Heart’s Intention

Cultivating right intention does not mean you abandon goals. You continue to use them, but they exist within a larger context of meaning that offers the possibility of peace beyond the fluctuations caused by pain and pleasure, gain and loss.

Core Values and Essential Intentions

Core Values and Essential Intentions

Many people lack clarity about their goals, values, and intentions. We often lump them together and delineate them in varying ways. As we live out the chaos of our lives, it is inevitable that our goals, values, and intentions become enmeshed.

The Unfolding of the Path

The Unfolding of the Path

In this talk from the Spirit Rock Meditation Center Fall 2019 retreat, Phillip explores the unfolding of the path in the context of the origin story of the Buddha.

Fear and Uncertainty

Fear and Uncertainty

Recognizing the truth of anicca (that everything is impermanent) can be helpful in coping with fear. When fear arises we can self-soothe through relaxation and surrender.

Fear, Part 2

Fear, Part 2

In this talk, Phillip Moffitt stresses the importance of loving-kindness as an antidote to fear. He responds to questions on the topic of fear from yogis.

Fear, Part 1

Fear, Part 1

Fear is an emotional response to a perception received through one of the sense gates. There are different types of fear. A difficult challenge is to know what is true when our nervous system is activated.

What Might Have Been

What Might Have Been

We cling to the past in many different ways. This talk explores utilizing Vipassana Meditation as a means to let go and obtain more freedom.

The Need for Renunciation

The Need for Renunciation

When you see the harm that being a slave to your desires creates, it naturally leads to renunciation. Read the following article and listen to the suggested audio dharma talk, and then deepen your understanding of the teachings by contemplating the reflections provided below.

The Dharma of Disappointment

The Dharma of Disappointment

If you embrace disappointment as your teacher, life itself is not disappointing. Read the following article and listen to the suggested audio dharma talk, and then deepen your understanding of the teachings by contemplating the reflections provided below.

Working with Difficult Emotions

Working with Difficult Emotions

Phillip Moffitt, Co-Guiding Teacher at Spirit Rock and author of “Dancing with Life,” talks about how to use mindfulness practice to work with difficult or strong emotions such as anger

Freedom from Fear

Freedom from Fear

Living in a fear-based culture inevitably affects your state of mind and the decisions you make. As a citizen you may become more compliant, more willing to surrender your rights for vague promises of safety. As an employee you are less demanding, less willing to take risks.

Living with Disappointment

Living with Disappointment

In becoming an adult you learned how to cope with disappointment, or else you wouldn’t be able to function at all. Yet, the conundrum remains: If you’ve learned to live with disappointments, then why does it still take so much of your energy to cope?

The Tyranny of Expectations

The Tyranny of Expectations

When you practice staying in the “sacred now,” the future will take care of itself as well as is possible. My teacher the Venerable Ajahn Sumedho calls this “trusting your practice.” It is an acknowledgment that you cannot know the mysteries of how life unfolds

Understanding Your Sense of Identity

Understanding Your Sense of Identity

On the fifth day of an annual weeklong silent meditation retreat I teach, a yogi who has attended for several years came to me for an interview. She was in her mid-30s, a vibrant, professional woman. When we first met, she had seemed tense and

Freedom from Wanting More

Freedom from Wanting More

Wanting more is a phenomenon of our time, a reflection of the way we live, and yet it’s something that is very seldom recognized as being a phenomenon. It conditions our behavior without our realizing it. We never notice that it often precedes our emotions or actions.

Getting Past Fear

Getting Past Fear

All things are constantly changing, even what is most precious to you. You know that you and those you love will die, but you don’t know when or how. This is the existential dilemma of life, and the price of being a conscious human being. It is simply the way life is constructed.

Finding Equanimity in Meditation

Finding Equanimity in Meditation

Practice keeping the mind balanced when physical sensations and sounds arise during meditation. The mind can stay balanced even during the unexpected.

Compassion Practice

Compassion Practice

Karuna, or compassion, is a state of mind/heart that can be cultivated as a practice. Compassion is an intuitive response to someone else’s suffering, or your own.

Being and the Brahma-viharas

Being and the Brahma-viharas

When the mind is not caught in grasping, it dwells in the Four Heavenly Abodes. Read the following article and listen to the suggested audio dharma talks, and then deepen your understanding of the teachings by contemplating the reflections provided In this guide.

Exploring Equanimity

Exploring Equanimity

Equanimity (Upekkha) is a balanced state of mind that is characterized by a benevolent attitude toward all beings as well as an accepting attitude toward the ever changing conditions of life.

Sympathetic Joy Meditation

Sympathetic Joy Meditation

Cultivating sympathetic joy—one of the four brahma-viharas—benefits everyone in that it adds to the joy in the world. When we open to the joy of others, we are cultivating the responsive capacity of our hearts.

Anger: A Pair of Rulers

Anger: A Pair of Rulers

Anger is traditionally taught as one of the five hindrances and as an aspect of aversion. This talk examines anger through a story. With which of the characters in this story do you most closely identify — the prince king, queen, teacher, warrior, or apprentice?

The Fruits of Forgiveness

The Fruits of Forgiveness

The primary beneficiary of forgiveness practice is you. Read the following article and listen to the suggested audio dharma talk, and then deepen your understanding of the teachings by contemplating the reflections provided below.

Lost in Doubt?

Lost in Doubt?

Last year while teaching a month-long silent meditation retreat with several other vipassana teachers, we were faced with what to do about a yogi who was not fully participating. He wasn’t showing up for the sittings or attending the dharma talks, and he was avoiding

Subduing Anger

Subduing Anger

No matter what degree of anger we experience, we can practice mindfully being with it. If worked with mindfully, anger can become another moment of awakening.

Working Mindfully with Anger

Working Mindfully with Anger

You can feel anger toward another or yourself. Your anger can be justified or unjustified. If your anger is justified, you’ve got two possibilities: You can either do something about it, or you can’t. Therefore, there’s no cause for melodrama, which simply

The Antidote to Doubt

The Antidote to Doubt

Read article and listen to dharma talks about the many faces of doubt by Phillip Moffitt. Deepen your understanding of the different kinds of doubt that manifest in your spiritual practice and life and discover why faith is the antidote to doubt.

Finding Equanimity in Meditation

Finding Equanimity in Meditation

Practice keeping the mind balanced when physical sensations and sounds arise during meditation. The mind can stay balanced even during the unexpected.

Fully Arriving In The Here And Now Meditation

Fully Arriving In The Here And Now Meditation

This is a guided meditation that can help you stay in the present, here and now. Here, now, not before, not after. There is no presence, no agency in the past. It’s a memory of something gone, no longer present.

Happiness Here and Now

Happiness Here and Now

Mindfulness of your happiness can be a gateway to liberation. Read the following article and listen to the suggested audio dharma talk, and then deepen your understanding of the teachings by contemplating the reflections provided below.

Expanding Your Capacity of Knowing

Expanding Your Capacity of Knowing

In this meditation, Phillip Moffitt guides you through an investigation of body and breath with unfiltered knowing. When we are in the rawness of our experience rather than our

Awakening in the Body

Awakening in the Body

When you choose to be present with your body when it is in pain or when it is feeling the tension and contraction caused by your wanting mind, you are accepting your life experience just as it is, in this moment, without clinging.

Maintaining Mindfulness in Daily Life

Maintaining Mindfulness in Daily Life

Instead of staying mindful of whatever is happening in the moment, we immediately begin to interpret our experience and create a story based on past associations and attitudes we have about ourselves and others. However, our interpretation is

Realizing Your True Nature

Realizing Your True Nature

There are a few individuals for whom life itself seems to offer the perfect balance of these practices, but it is foolhardy to decide you are such a person. For most of us practice is essential; it is the only way that we can consciously experience and

Releasing the Past through Investigation

Releasing the Past through Investigation

The more painful your feelings, the more likely you are to hold the experience at bay, never able to fully let it in so that it can be processed and relinquished. Nor are you able to let it go, since that would first require allowing it to permeate you to

The Need for Renunciation

The Need for Renunciation

When you see the harm that being a slave to your desires creates, it naturally leads to renunciation. Read the following article and listen to the suggested audio dharma talk, and then deepen your understanding of the teachings by contemplating the reflections provided below.

Meaning of the Pali Word “Dana”

Meaning of the Pali Word “Dana”

In the Buddhist tradition, the teachings are given freely because they are considered priceless; in the Buddhist tradition we also practice dana, or generosity, by making monetary offerings for the teachings. Dana is not payment for goods or services rendered;

Reflections on the Splendor of Generosity

Reflections on the Splendor of Generosity

True generosity arises out of unconditional caring and compassion for another. Each of us is dependent upon others for our blessings. We flourish or perish together through interwoven acts of generosity.

Exploring Equanimity

Exploring Equanimity

Equanimity (Upekkha) is a balanced state of mind that is characterized by a benevolent attitude toward all beings as well as an accepting attitude toward the ever changing conditions of life.

Opening to Love

Opening to Love

Every Sunday evening the Turtle Island Yoga Studio in San Rafael, California, is transformed into a vipassana meditation hall. A large silk painting of the Buddha, which I commissioned from a street artist in New Delhi for just this purpose, hangs on the front wall, and all the yoga mats are laid out around

Generosity: The Gateway to Freedom

Generosity: The Gateway to Freedom

Why be generous? Dana, or generosity, is a gateway to well-being and freedom. This talk explores the many forms of generosity, obstacles to generosity, fear of generosity, and the shadow side of generosity.

The Gift of Generosity

The Gift of Generosity

Every year at this time, I am reminded of a lesson in generosity that I received many years ago. As a teenager living in the Appalachian Mountains, I worked as a bag boy in a supermarket. To my dismay, it was the working poor who were most likely to give tips, people who often seemed