Reflections on the Brahma Vihara practices

This article (with minor amendments) was first published in the March 2014 BMIMC newsletter. Since returning to Australia and New Zealand from the United States eighteen months ago, I’ve been teaching several weekend retreats, day-long workshops and evening classes in New South Wales and Auckland.  Alongside the insight meditation practice, I’ve usually included some focus

Continue reading

Insight Meditation weekend – Auckland, New Zealand

This weekend’s insight meditation retreat at St Francis Retreat Centre in Auckland was blessed by good weather, good food, good friends – and good singing and chanting, courtesy of a Pasifika dance group on Saturday and a Hindu meditation group on Sunday!  Much gratitude to everyone who contributed to providing such powerful conditions for the

Continue reading

Welcoming the New Year

Greetings from snowy Massachusetts! I intended to write this post a few days ago, but I’ve been under the weather with a combination of jet lag, a head cold, AND a gastro bug. So I wasn’t exactly the life of the party on New Year’s Eve, but being forced to take time out has given

Continue reading

Joseph Goldstein’s new book Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening

Joseph Goldstein has just published a new book which looks in detail at the Satipatthana Sutta, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, which is the key text for the practice of insight meditation.  It should be a very helpful resource for anyone who wants to refine their understanding of mindfulness and its role in the development

Continue reading

Rick Hanson interviews Joseph Goldstein on mindfulness

This is a recent interview by neuroscientist Rick Hanson with his teacher, Joseph Goldstein, who is one of the founding teachers of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. Joseph gives a very clear explanation of the full range of what mindfulness is, and also what it isn’t, based on his forty years experience of

Continue reading

Generosity part 4: Giving and Receiving

Greg Scharf and volunteer cook Donald Elniff enjoying cake dana at the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre Right now, I’m assisting my friend Greg Scharf teach a two week retreat at the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre in New South Wales, Australia.  And right about now, the annual three-month retreat at the Insight Meditation Society

Continue reading

Generosity part 3: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

This TED talk by a musician, Amanda Palmer, on “The Art of Asking” really resonated with some of my own recent experiences of giving and receiving.  It’s not a classical Buddhist “dana talk” – it even features some brief nudity – but her courage in being willing to connect with a diverse cross-section of people,

Continue reading

Non-residential weekend retreat, Auckland, New Zealand

Update 24 July – ONLY 2 PLACES LEFT Freeing the Heart-Mind A non-residential weekend retreat exploring Buddhist meditation practices for developing wisdom and compassion During this non-residential weekend retreat we will explore two main forms of Buddhist meditation, insight (vipassana) and loving-kindness (metta). Together, these two practices help us to cultivate more awareness of ourselves

Continue reading