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Where to begin with Dharma studies?

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Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/3/13 9:23 AM
I started meditating amost 30 years ago, during a year I spent studying in England, where one of my fellow students was a Thai Buddhist Monk. I spent ~2 months doing fairly intense concentration and insight exercises. He was part of a Therevada order whose meditation style was directed at generating the jhanas as quickly as possible, which they achieved by focusing on a crystal ball in the center of ones body, and then doing various exercises with it, making it larger/smaller, making it glow, and so on. In retrospect, it was a very good style of meditation. However, after a few months, I had a very hard time doing any meditation exercises, and ended up quitting. One of the things I had the most trouble with was maintaining mindfulness during the day. I was instructed to keep focusing on the crystal ball throughout my daily work, studies, lectures, etc., and the strain of maintaining that focus was altogether too much for me. I felt like I was turning into a robot after a while, and stopped meditating altogether.

About 7 years ago I started meditating again. I read a lot of books, among them Mindfulness in Plain English, and this gave me a good enough foundation to start daily morning meditation sessions of 30 minutes. I've done these fairly faithfully over this period. Mostly focusing on the breath and some noting practice. I also discovered Thanissaro Bhikku's Dharma talks online, which I have gotten a great deal of good advice from.

I honestly thought this was all there was everything there was to meditation until I discovered this site a few weeks ago. I was curious about jhanna training. I think that I can get to jhanna 3 or 4, but I'm not sure. My meditation has been pretty intense lately, with an intense bliss that I associate with jhanna 1-2, which is followed by a dissolving of my self (jhanna 3?). Around this time I lose concentration, and have to go back to focusing on the breath, which leads to jhanna 1-2 intense bliss, followed by self dissolving, etc.

I'd like to begin more structured Dharma training, but I don't really know where to begin. I can normally get to a state where my sense of self mostly dissolves, and hold that state for a while. My plan is to focus more on jhanna traning until I'm fairly confident I can reach jhanna 4, and then use that as a base for the Dharma training. But I would be grateful for any advice people can offer. I live in Albuquerque, NM, if anyone can recommend a good Sanga here.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/3/13 9:35 AM as a reply to Rick M.
A reasonable goal for you would be to attain stream-entry.

Have you read Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha?

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/3/13 11:17 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
A reasonable goal for you would be to attain stream-entry.

Have you read Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha?


Yes. I'm almost done with my first time through, and am planning to reread it, but was considering going through A Path With Heart first.

What does one do for stream entry? Do I just meditate as usual and pay attention to the things I'm supposed to discern at each stage? How do I know when I've reached a particular stage?

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/3/13 11:46 AM as a reply to Rick M.
Rick Muller:
Fitter Stoke:
A reasonable goal for you would be to attain stream-entry.

Have you read Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha?


Yes. I'm almost done with my first time through, and am planning to reread it, but was considering going through A Path With Heart first.

What does one do for stream entry? Do I just meditate as usual and pay attention to the things I'm supposed to discern at each stage? How do I know when I've reached a particular stage?


You need to get comfortable getting to the 4th jhana/11th ñana on every sit. Once you get there, you have to turn the qualities you used to get there - usually things like attention, effort, investigation, and discernment - into the objects of attention, discernment, etc. It's a bit like climbing up a ladder and then pulling the ladder up behind you. The specifics look a bit different for each person, but everyone who has gotten path has done something like this.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/3/13 12:01 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
Rick Muller:
Fitter Stoke:
A reasonable goal for you would be to attain stream-entry.

Have you read Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha?


Yes. I'm almost done with my first time through, and am planning to reread it, but was considering going through A Path With Heart first.

What does one do for stream entry? Do I just meditate as usual and pay attention to the things I'm supposed to discern at each stage? How do I know when I've reached a particular stage?


You need to get comfortable getting to the 4th jhana/11th ñana on every sit. Once you get there, you have to turn the qualities you used to get there - usually things like attention, effort, investigation, and discernment - into the objects of attention, discernment, etc. It's a bit like climbing up a ladder and then pulling the ladder up behind you. The specifics look a bit different for each person, but everyone who has gotten path has done something like this.


Thanks very much. I'll give it a few weeks and then report back on my progress.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/3/13 12:03 PM as a reply to Rick M.
Rick Muller:
Fitter Stoke:
Rick Muller:
Fitter Stoke:
A reasonable goal for you would be to attain stream-entry.

Have you read Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha?


Yes. I'm almost done with my first time through, and am planning to reread it, but was considering going through A Path With Heart first.

What does one do for stream entry? Do I just meditate as usual and pay attention to the things I'm supposed to discern at each stage? How do I know when I've reached a particular stage?


You need to get comfortable getting to the 4th jhana/11th ñana on every sit. Once you get there, you have to turn the qualities you used to get there - usually things like attention, effort, investigation, and discernment - into the objects of attention, discernment, etc. It's a bit like climbing up a ladder and then pulling the ladder up behind you. The specifics look a bit different for each person, but everyone who has gotten path has done something like this.


Thanks very much. I'll give it a few weeks and then report back on my progress.


You might consider starting a practice log either here or over at KFD, so that advanced yogis can give you feedback.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/3/13 12:12 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
Rick Muller:
Fitter Stoke:
Rick Muller:
Fitter Stoke:
A reasonable goal for you would be to attain stream-entry.

Have you read Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha?


Yes. I'm almost done with my first time through, and am planning to reread it, but was considering going through A Path With Heart first.

What does one do for stream entry? Do I just meditate as usual and pay attention to the things I'm supposed to discern at each stage? How do I know when I've reached a particular stage?


You need to get comfortable getting to the 4th jhana/11th ñana on every sit. Once you get there, you have to turn the qualities you used to get there - usually things like attention, effort, investigation, and discernment - into the objects of attention, discernment, etc. It's a bit like climbing up a ladder and then pulling the ladder up behind you. The specifics look a bit different for each person, but everyone who has gotten path has done something like this.


Thanks very much. I'll give it a few weeks and then report back on my progress.


You might consider starting a practice log either here or over at KFD, so that advanced yogis can give you feedback.


Will do.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/3/13 1:13 PM as a reply to Rick M.
Hello Rick,

If you've had almost thirty years experience in having been exposed to meditation and such not, you are very well positioned to make good progress in your current study of the Dhamma. You've gathered a lifetime of real world experience such that it will be very difficult to fool you about what is authentic and what is not. Use that experience wisely as you make your way through your current Dhamma studies, and insist on authenticity of instruction. Find out the difference between people's opinions about what the Buddha taught and what he actually taught through first hand exposure to his instruction. That way you will develop a strong foundation for your practice.
Rick Muller:

I spent ~2 months doing fairly intense concentration and insight exercises. He was part of a Theravada order whose meditation style was directed at generating the jhanas as quickly as possible, which they achieved by focusing on a crystal ball in the center of ones body, and then doing various exercises with it, making it larger/smaller, making it glow, and so on. In retrospect, it was a very good style of meditation. However, after a few months, I had a very hard time doing any meditation exercises, and ended up quitting.

One of the things I had the most trouble with was maintaining mindfulness during the day. I was instructed to keep focusing on the crystal ball throughout my daily work, studies, lectures, etc., and the strain of maintaining that focus was altogether too much for me. I felt like I was turning into a robot after a while, and stopped meditating altogether.

Your description here sounds very similar to a technique I was first taught some 32 years ago and which was based on the manipulation of a mantra (a Hindu technique) that was used as the main meditation object. After nearly 20 years of practicing that technique and finding very little success in the way of gaining insight into spiritual development, I finally decided to look more deeply into what the Buddha taught, and by that I mean going back to the very source material (the Pali canon of discourses) and starting from scratch. There's nothing like going back to "the horse's mouth" and finding out exactly what was said and taught. You might find the following thread helpful: Essential Books from Theravadin Resources.

Perhaps like yourself, I found that the simplicity of focusing upon the breath and watching for any sensations that may arise from that practice was far more conducive and rewarding a practice than all the mental gyrations involved in moving imaginary energy around the body using a mantra. As well, it was more down to earth and grounding. The breath is always with us and can easily be used at any time to refocus one's mindfulness throughout the day.

Rick Muller:

About 7 years ago I started meditating again. I read a lot of books, among them Mindfulness in Plain English, and this gave me a good enough foundation to start daily morning meditation sessions of 30 minutes. I've done these fairly faithfully over this period. Mostly focusing on the breath and some noting practice. I also discovered Thanissaro Bhikku's Dharma talks online, which I have gotten a great deal of good advice from.

Two very good contemporary sources for instruction. Good choices.

Rick Muller:

I honestly thought this was all there was (everything there was) to meditation until I discovered this site a few weeks ago. I was curious about jhanna training. I think that I can get to jhanna 3 or 4, but I'm not sure. My meditation has been pretty intense lately, with an intense bliss that I associate with jhanna 1-2, which is followed by a dissolving of my self (jhanna 3?). Around this time I lose concentration, and have to go back to focusing on the breath, which leads to jhanna 1-2 intense bliss, followed by self dissolving, etc.

Attempting the practice of what has come to be known as dhyana (in the original vernacular, or jhana, as its Anglicized spelling is known) in Buddhist meditation circles can sometimes be confusing and difficult to grasp. Unless one has a good analogous experience to refer to, it can be as slippery as attempting to grasp a wet fish.

You might be better off just attempting to get to whatever idea you have of what the fourth level is like than attempting to discern the intervening levels leading up to the fourth dhyana. I say this because the more you are able to successfully practice attaining to the level of concentration necessary to maintain the fourth dhyana, the better your concentration (and hence, discernment) will become such that, on mental review after the practice, you can go back and look at the experience in retrospect and be better able to discern what occurred.

Also (and this may or may not apply to you), do not be fooled into thinking that by some "magical happening" that meditation alone will somehow bring you to enlightenment. It is what you do with the abilities of mind that you develop as a result of meditation and concentration practice that makes the difference in the level of attainment you ultimately reach. That development being in the dual realms of concentration ability and discernment. These two realms of development are both intimately related to one another, and can reliably correspond to the relation of the development of calm (or tranquility) and insight (or what is known as "clear seeing") — in other words, samatha and vipassana. Technically speaking, though, concentration (samadhi) is more aptly related to the ability to hold the mind on an object long enough for insight about that object to develop or arise. Yet, when that concentration is able to occur within a relatively calm atmosphere, it is more likely to result in reliable insight development.

Rick Muller:

I'd like to begin more structured Dharma training, but I don't really know where to begin. I can normally get to a state where my sense of self mostly dissolves, and hold that state for a while. My plan is to focus more on jhanna traning until I'm fairly confident I can reach jhanna 4, and then use that as a base for the Dharma training. But I would be grateful for any advice people can offer. I live in Albuquerque, NM, if anyone can recommend a good Sanga here.

Your best bet for developing a more structured Dhamma training program would, of course, be to find a guide or teacher in whom you have great confidence, and to follow that person's instruction. But failing that option, the next best thing to do would be to find reliable sources within the monastic community (such as Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Henepola Gunaratana) to read, study, and to follow as best as you can, getting clarification from whatever other sources of information that you have access to (such as forums like this present one).

Although the book that Fitter Stoke suggested is a fine book as far as it goes (and may give some valuable instruction about meditation and meditation practice), it does not even begin to open up the vistas that a comprehensive study of the Dhamma through the discourses of the Buddha would open up. It all depends upon how far one wants to take this, though, and in that sense it is a decidedly personal decision. All the best to you on your journey.

In peace,
Ian

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/3/13 4:57 PM as a reply to Ian And.
Ian And:

Also (and this may or may not apply to you), do not be fooled into thinking that by some "magical happening" that meditation alone will somehow bring you to enlightenment. It is what you do with the abilities of mind that you develop as a result of meditation and concentration practice that makes the difference in the level of attainment you ultimately reach.


Ian,

I'll read over your entire post and respond at length. But when I read the above sentence I felt like singing. That's one of the wisest things anyone has ever said to me. Thanks! And thanks for the whole post, but I don't want to reply until I've given it the time it deserves.

Thanks finally for your long posts on the dhyanas. Finding the link from the Reddit Buddhism page is what brought me here!

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/3/13 6:20 PM as a reply to Rick M.
Rick Muller:
Ian And:

Also (and this may or may not apply to you), do not be fooled into thinking that by some "magical happening" that meditation alone will somehow bring you to enlightenment. It is what you do with the abilities of mind that you develop as a result of meditation and concentration practice that makes the difference in the level of attainment you ultimately reach.


I'll read over your entire post and respond at length. But when I read the above sentence I felt like singing. That's one of the wisest things anyone has ever said to me. Thanks!

Good. I'm glad that resonated with you. I was hoping it would. It was one of the delusions I had to break, too.

This is why I say that you will benefit from reading the discourses, as your life's experiences will come into play and your common sense about what you are reading should/will take hold to keep you from straying too far into delusion.

By the way, I live just over the boarder from you, in Arizona.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/4/13 3:17 AM as a reply to Rick M.
Hi Rick and welcome aboard.
From your post it seems that you like to read. There is a sticky post here about sources / books which is encyclopedic. My personal favorites are in order of preference:

1) Dan Ingram's - MCTB
2) Ven. Analayo's - Satipattana - The Direct Path to Realization
3) Sayadaw U Pandita's - In This Very Life

If you like (or want to become familiar with Theravada Suttas and theory and scholarship, I recommend Bikku Bodhis translations of the Suttas.

If you like to listen and learn there is a great site with myriad collected Dharma Talks from many teachers and traditions: dharmaseed.org (started by the late great Bill Hamilton.

If you are more interested in advancing than reading or listening, however, look through the sticky posts above, browse the posts and do as suggested above.

Cheers

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/4/13 7:29 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
tom moylan:
Hi Rick and welcome aboard.
From your post it seems that you like to read. There is a sticky post here about sources / books which is encyclopedic. My personal favorites are in order of preference:

1) Dan Ingram's - MCTB
2) Ven. Analayo's - Satipattana - The Direct Path to Realization
3) Sayadaw U Pandita's - In This Very Life

If you like (or want to become familiar with Theravada Suttas and theory and scholarship, I recommend Bikku Bodhis translations of the Suttas.

If you like to listen and learn there is a great site with myriad collected Dharma Talks from many teachers and traditions: dharmaseed.org (started by the late great Bill Hamilton.

If you are more interested in advancing than reading or listening, however, look through the sticky posts above, browse the posts and do as suggested above.

Cheers


Thanks, Tom. I'll check out the book page.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/4/13 5:33 PM as a reply to Ian And.
Ian And:


Your description here sounds very similar to a technique I was first taught some 32 years ago and which was based on the manipulation of a mantra (a Hindu technique) that was used as the main meditation object. After nearly 20 years of practicing that technique and finding very little success in the way of gaining insight into spiritual development, I finally decided to look more deeply into what the Buddha taught, and by that I mean going back to the very source material (the Pali canon of discourses) and starting from scratch. There's nothing like going back to "the horse's mouth" and finding out exactly what was said and taught. You might find the following thread helpful: Essential Books from Theravadin Resources.



Ian,

I like your suggestion about reading the primary sources, and would like to get started. What has always stopped me in the past is some frustration with penetrating the Pali canon. Sometimes the canon seems like a recitation of list after list pertaining to a moral code that I accept is a prerequisite for a meaningful meditation practice, but which doesn't give me the practical instructions for actually meditating that, say, MCTB does. I flipped through Thanissaro's translations of the Dhammapada and the Udana and again got the same feeling as I've had in the past. Is there one particular book on your list that you might recommend to me with this in mind?

I felt the same way about the Tao Te Ching before I found Mitchell's translation, which really brought it alive for me.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/5/13 11:02 PM as a reply to Rick M.
Rick M:
Ian And:

There's nothing like going back to "the horse's mouth" and finding out exactly what was said and taught. You might find the following thread helpful: Essential Books from Theravadin Resources.


I like your suggestion about reading the primary sources, and would like to get started. What has always stopped me in the past is some frustration with penetrating the Pali canon.

Sometimes the canon seems like a recitation of list after list pertaining to a moral code that I accept is a prerequisite for a meaningful meditation practice, but which doesn't give me the practical instructions for actually meditating that, say, MCTB does.

I flipped through Thanissaro's translations of the Dhammapada and the Udana and again got the same feeling as I've had in the past. Is there one particular book on your list that you might recommend to me with this in mind?

I felt the same way about the Tao Te Ching before I found Mitchell's translation, which really brought it alive for me.

I know what you mean by the impression of the canon seeming to be like endless recitations of lists. But that is due to the compiler's fault of setting up their publications in that manner in order to list many of the concepts/teachings together in one place, and not the fault of the canon or the discourses themselves, which you should find intriguing and compelling and less dogmatic than a series of dry lists.

Since you're primarily interested at this point in practical instruction on meditation practice, although there are numerous subtle tips and hints about meditation spread about in all four of the main Nikayas, the one that addressed this subject matter head on more so that the rest is the Majjhima Nikaya, the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha.

And although one can find many of the discourses online at accesstoinsight.org, where a great many there have been translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, I recommend the Wisdom Publications books not only for the accuracy of the translations but for the invaluable introductory notes and footnotes in each of those volumes, three quarters of which were written and/or edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi. The work he has done to help bring these volumes to Western readers in a form that is worthy of the preservation of the original intended meaning to be found in the discourses is truly unmatched and is a great gift to us.

I'll give you one example of the insight I happened onto while reading a used copy of a translation of the Dhammapada by Narada Thera that I picked up on the cheap. In the footnotes on the very first verse, The Twin Verses, where the entry begins:

"Mind foreruns (all evil) conditions, mind is chief, mind-made are they; if one speaks or acts with wicked mind, because of that, pain pursues him, even as the wheel follows the hoof of the draught-ox. . . . if one speaks or acts with pure mind, because of that, happiness follows him, even as the shadow that never leaves.[2]"

The footnote below read:

"[2] Verses 1 and 2 were uttered by the Buddha on two different occasions to show the inevitable effects of evil and good kamma (deeds) respectively. Strictly speaking, kamma is purely mental, and its effect is also mental. Where there is no mind or consciousness there is no kamma."

It was those last two sentences in the footnote that so intrigued me. I contemplated those sentences for quite some time, and came upon an epiphany. Later on, I was able to come across one of the places in the discourses where the Buddha defines what he means by kamma (or karma). He stated that:

"It is volition (cetana), monks, that I declare to be kamma. Having willed, one performs an action by body, speech, or mind." — AN 6.63

For a long time I had been under the mistaken impression that karma had something to do with a metaphysical law or truth related to the action itself, that "whatever goes around comes around." And while this is true to a point, it isn't literally true for each and every action that one performs. In other words, not every unwholesome action that one has performed is bound (through some metaphysical mechanism) to come back upon the perpetrator. But rather, "where there is no mind or consciousness (no mental volition), there is no kamma." It helped put my mind at ease (guilt over past deeds), and opened up a whole new vista of understanding and appreciation for the discourses. This is why I say they are worth tracking down and reading.

There are also talks on this and other volumes from the Nikayas that Ven. Bodhi has given that one can access online which may help you better understand what is being communicated in the sutta. The ones for the Majjhima Nikaya can be found here. As well, Thanissaro Bhikkhu has many recorded talks online that may be of interest and assistance.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/6/13 7:49 AM as a reply to Ian And.
Ian And:
"It is volition (cetana), monks, that I declare to be kamma. Having willed, one performs an action by body, speech, or mind." — AN 6.63


What is the relationship between cetana and intention? I'm reading Wings to Awakening right now, and Thanissaro Bhikkhu seems to be making a big point about the intention behind every act determining or at least influencing its kamma.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/6/13 9:03 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
Ian And:
"It is volition (cetana), monks, that I declare to be kamma. Having willed, one performs an action by body, speech, or mind." — AN 6.63


What is the relationship between cetana and intention? I'm reading Wings to Awakening right now, and Thanissaro Bhikkhu seems to be making a big point about the intention behind every act determining or at least influencing its kamma.


That's funny. I'm also reading Wings of Awakening.

Sometimes the canon seems like a recitation of list after list


That's exactly what Wings of Awakening is about: the lists. Thanissaro treats them as condensed, interlocking algorithms which he compares to chaos theory and "radical phenomenology." It's all a formula for breaking down the cycle of becoming.
Morality doesn't seem to play a part in the sense of good and evil. It's just a matter of seeing the causes and results of your own actions. I thought this stuff would be dry too. It's not.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/6/13 9:47 AM as a reply to Some Guy.
Jason B:
That's funny. I'm also reading Wings of Awakening.


I feel like I'm absorbing a fraction of it. It's dense.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/6/13 10:18 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
Jason B:
That's funny. I'm also reading Wings of Awakening.


I feel like I'm absorbing a fraction of it. It's dense.


Yeah, he's basically unpacking the .zip version of the whole Dhamma. I don't expect to master it, but hope that it's working it's way into me. Anyway, it's engrossing.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/6/13 11:20 AM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Taking into consideration the following two translations of the same Pali text, and using that as a foundation upon which to work.

"Mind foreruns (all evil) conditions, mind is chief, mind-made are they; if one speaks or acts with wicked mind, because of that, pain pursues him, even as the wheel follows the hoof of the draught-ox.

"Mind foreruns (all good) conditions, mind is chief, mind-made are they; if one speaks or acts with pure mind, because of that, happiness follows him, even as the shadow that never leaves." — Narada Thera


"Mind is the forerunner of all actions. All deeds are led by mind, created by mind. If one speaks or acts with a corrupt mind, suffering follows, as the wheel follows the hoof of an ox pulling a cart.

"Mind is the forerunner of all actions. All deeds are led by mind, created by mind. If one speaks or acts with a serene mind, happiness follows, as surely as one's shadow." — Ananda Maitreya


Fitter Stoke:
Ian And:
"It is volition (cetana), monks, that I declare to be kamma. Having willed, one performs an action by body, speech, or mind." — AN 6.63

What is the relationship between cetana and intention?

I'm reading Wings to Awakening right now, and Thanissaro Bhikkhu seems to be making a big point about the intention behind every act determining or at least influencing its kamma.

I don't understand your question. What is your definition of cetana, and what is your definition of intention? Is there some fundamental difference that you perceive?

In another translation (which I like) of those same two verses above, Acharya Buddharakkhita's translation is fundamentally the same as Narada Thera's, except that he phrases it a bit differently, adding another dimension to the meaning, in that "mind precedes all mental states," which should be understood but is only implied by the previous two translations:

"Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like . . .

"Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like . . ."

Is there some difficulty in seeing that the nature of one's mental state (being one of greed, hatred or ignorance on the one hand, or one of non-greed, non-hatred, or non-ignorance on the other) would not fundamentally influence the outcome of some human interaction?

If someone were yelling and screaming at you out of either disrespect or ignorance as opposed to calmly and rationally attempting to make their point, would not these two opposed (karmicly influenced) approaches yield vastly different results in the listener's mind?

Hence, the underlying factor being the "intention" or "volitional" seed (sometimes in awareness and sometimes not in awareness of the perpetrator) behind each approach.

RE: Where to begin with Dharma studies?
Answer
1/6/13 4:02 PM as a reply to Ian And.
Ian And:


Since you're primarily interested at this point in practical instruction on meditation practice, although there are numerous subtle tips and hints about meditation spread about in all four of the main Nikayas, the one that addressed this subject matter head on more so that the rest is the Majjhima Nikaya, the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha.

And although one can find many of the discourses online at accesstoinsight.org, where a great many there have been translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, I recommend the Wisdom Publications books not only for the accuracy of the translations but for the invaluable introductory notes and footnotes in each of those volumes, three quarters of which were written and/or edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi. The work he has done to help bring these volumes to Western readers in a form that is worthy of the preservation of the original intended meaning to be found in the discourses is truly unmatched and is a great gift to us.


Thanks, Ian!