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The Basic Method of Meditation by Brahmavamso, Ajahn
During this meditation retreat there will be some hard work at the beginning, but be willing to bear that hard work knowing that it will lead you to experience some very beautiful and meaningful states. They will be well worth the effort! It is a law of nature that without effort one does not make progress. Whether one is a layperson or a monk, without effort one gets anywhere, in meditation or in anything.

The Case of the Missing Simile (An essay on aspects of the practice of breath meditation) by Bhikkhu Sona
Since the Visuddhimagga is so influential and so widely quoted by modern teachers, it would seem critical that it is reliable and, if in certain aspects it is not, then, with supporting evidence, to show clearly why it is not.

Over a four-day period ending on the Summer Solstice of 2001, a group of Asian monastic and western lay teachers and students gathered at a retreat center in the mountains above Santa Fe, New Mexico. The occasion was a unique event: the first known conference in a Western country on the significance of the Jhanas (meditative absorptions) in relation to other Theravada meditation techniques, as taught and practiced in both Asia and the West.

[The following essay was written in response to an paper that argued that the jhanas are not an important aspect of the Pali Canon. Unfortunately I do not have a copy of that paper to put up; however, I hope the essay standing by itself will be of some interest. lnb]

Interpretations of the Jhanas by Leigh Brasington
The first broad categorization would be into "Sutta Jhanas" and "Visuddhimagga Jhanas". The Jhanas as discussed in the suttas are accessible to many people. The suttas seem to indicate that they were just part of the monastics' training program; thus they were not a big deal and were accessible to many.

How Buddhist Teachings Transformed a Maximum Security Prison in Alabama by Matt Mazur [11 April 2008]
In her new documentary, Jenny Phillips frames the daily, shackled grind of prisoners' lives with social injustices, but also investigates what it is like to be a prisoner doing hard time in the South choosing to practice

8 Ways to Develop Mindfulness by www.themiddleway.net -March 2, 2008
March 2, 2008 in Development, Mind and eSangha.

Mindfulness Meditation in Western Society by Richard A. Singer Jr. Saturday, November 10, 2007
Meditation has become extremely popular in western society in the recent years however; it has existed for thousands of years and has obviously passed the test of time in various other cultures. Meditation has in fact survived 4500 years of political upheaval and socioeconomic transition (Andreson, 2000). If meditation was not beneficial would it still be around and being practiced thousands of years later? Probably not.

The Surprising Self-Healing Benefits of Meditation by Susan Piver
Over the last 10 years, Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama has been engaged in formal top-level dialogues with leading scientists and brain researchers from M.I.T., Harvard, the University of Wisconsin, and others. Until several years ago, these annual conversations were held in private as simple but powerful inquiries into each other's methods for understanding the mind. Recently, the results of this dialogue, and resulting studies into meditation, have been made public, and they're fascinating.

Understanding Ourselves by E. Raymond Rock , Wednesday, 31 October 2007
How do we go about understanding ourselves? This is a very important question because if we don't understand ourselves, how are we going to change? Do we wait for divine intervention to create our pure hearts, or do we do something proactive? If we are not sure, then why not try both ways and see which works best. We could spend some time praying for our worry and our frustrations to change, or we could spend some time working on ourselves in a proactive way. Then we could see what works best. Or maybe we could pray and work on ourselves at the same time!

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