Mindfulness Exercises For Buddhists

Deepen your Buddhist practice with our free mindfulness exercises, guided meditations, mindfulness worksheets and more. 

Dhamma Talks Volume II

Dhamma Talks, vol. II

Dhamma Talks Vol II. When you can bring a fresh attitude toward the breath, you start seeing things you didn’t see before. Highly recommended for Beginners! ...
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Letting Go vs. Attainment

Letting Go vs. Attainment

Ajahn Sumedho talks about Letting Go vs. Attainment. You don't ever attain anything in meditation if you're meditating in the right way. The goal is letting go ...
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Nature of Awareness

The Force of Harmony

Ajahn explains each of us has a force to contribute to the environment. To do good and let go of the bad ways. And eventually, create harmony in the world ...
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Ajahn Sumedho Volume 3 – Direct Realization

Ajahn Sumedho Volume 3 – Direct Realization

The subject of the 3rd volume of Ajahn Sumedho's anthology, "Direct Realization" is the dependent origination as shown through the Dhamma ...
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Right Mindfulness Memory and Ardency on the Buddhist Path

Right Mindfulness: Memory & Ardency on the Buddhist Path

Right Mindfulness: Memory & Ardency on the Buddhist Path. The premise of this book is that these two theories are highly questionable. Learn why! ...
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mindfulness exercises

The Magic of Awareness – Talk

Anam Thubten talks about the gift of awareness and the hindrance of the ego. How this awareness can do magic in our unfolding ...
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Teachings On Nature

Limits of Technique

Matthew Brensilver talks about Limits of Technique. So much of Dharma is improvisation. Techniques are there to facilitate understanding, but sometimes, the focus on the technique is a hindrance ...
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Teachings on the Calligraphy

Teachings on the Calligraphy of Thich Nat Hanh

Mark Coleman talks about the Calligraphy of Thich Nat Hanh. "I have arrived, I am home." This is the profound teaching, arriving in love or in awareness? ...
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Meditations 6 by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Meditations 6

Meditations 6. The Buddha's own search was a search for true happiness, a happiness that doesn't age, grow ill, or die. That's what he was looking for ...
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Refuge An Introduction to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha

Refuge: An Introduction to the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha

The 3 basic principles of Buddhism are the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. You'll be given a full introduction into the act of "refuge" itself ...
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To care & not to care

To Care & Not to Care

Gil Fronsdal talks about To Care & Not To Care. In Buddhist practice, both are important. Don't measure yourself by the outcome. Measure with how you cared ...
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Ajahn Sumedho Volume 5 – The Wheel of Truth

Ajahn Sumedho Volume 5 – The Wheel of Truth

Read this collection of Ajahn Sumedho's Dhamma talks which revolves around the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path of practice ...
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Guided Meditation with Lama Surya Das [Video]

Guided Meditation with Lama Surya Das [Video]

This is a wonderful meditation with Lama Surya Das on the Great Luminous Perfection teachings of Dzogchen. Meditation is ideal, start emptying your mind ...
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Intuitive Awareness by Ajahn Sumedho

Intuitive Awareness

Intuitive Awareness is an essential aspect of the spiritual path. Meditation techniques for beginners can increase one's ability to feel and respond ...
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Trusting in the body

Being and Trusting in The Body

Gil Fronsdal talks about Being and Trusting in the Body. If you find yourself trying to solve your life and the only thing you use are thoughts, watch out! ...
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Meditations 5 by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Meditations 5

Meditations 5, or Wisdom for Dummies, comes with the purpose to present you the teachings of the Buddha in a simple, easy-to-understand way ...
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Ajahn Sumedho Volume 2 – Seeds of Understanding

Ajahn Sumedho Volume 2 – Seeds of Understanding

Learn from this 2nd volume of Ajahn Sumedho's anthology, "Seeds of Understanding", which introduces the technique of mindfulness of breathing ...
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Practice as a Path of Happiness

The Past Is A Closed Book, The Future Is A Complete Mystery

Ajahn explains Buddhist teaching how to live in the present, in the now. That the past is a closed book, and the future is a complete mystery ...
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Breathing Spirit Into Form

Breathing Spirit Into Form

Ajahn Sumedho talks about Breathing Spirit Into Form. Conceit changed a lot of form in Buddhism tradition. We are here to breathe life into a tradition ...
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Ten Perfections A Study Guide

Ten Perfections: A Study Guide

For people in the modern world facing the issue of how to practice Dhamma in daily life, the 10 perfections provide a useful framework for how to do it ...
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Parami by Ajahn Sucitto

Parami

Parami. A way of talking about transcendence, liberation or however you conceive of a spiritual path, is to use the metaphor of ‘crossing the floods.’ ...
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Dalai Lama Why Meditate

Dalai Lama: “Why Meditate?”

The Dalai Lama talks about the importance of meditation for day to day well-being. Meditating helps turn a moment of irritation and stress into calmness ...
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Mindfulness meditation

History is Ending Today

Matthew Brensilver talks about History is Ending Today. The mind can easily assume permanence or continuity of things. But then Anicha (Impermanence) is actually a refuge ...
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Keys to a long retreat

Keys To A Long Retreat

"Refrain from violence and work to end hatred" is a good way to reflect on during the long retreat. Attitude and simple living are the keys ...
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Mindfulness for holiday stress

This Precious Human Life

Kate Munding shares how we can make the little moments in life become a different experience. That preciousness of human life doesn't only come with beauty ...
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Rain on The Nile by Ajahn Amaro

Rain on the Nile

A free mindfulness ebook Rain on The Nile by Ajahn Amaro talks about people's creative instinct, where it comes from and what it means in our daily lives ...
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Nature of Awareness

Mind Like Fungi

A very fascinating talk "A Mind Like Fungi" by Ajahn Amaro takes you into Buddhist perspective. It talks about the mind and body, the within and without ...
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Meditations 1 by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Meditations 1

Meditations 1. The Dhamma talks included in this volume were given during evening meditation sessions, & in many cases covered issues raised at interviews ...
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The Way It Is

The Way It Is

Ajahn Sumedho talks about The Way It Is. He talks about lifestyle as a Buddhist monk, the mindful state of being open and receptive ...
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The Paradox of Becoming

The Paradox of Becoming

The Buddha’s analysis of becoming throws a great deal of light on how imaginary, fictional, or dream worlds are created. He was more interested in seeing how the process of ...
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Flowering of Compassion

Trust In Being The Knowing

Ajahn Sumedho talks about Trust in Being the Knowing. That intuitive intelligence may include both right and wrong at the same moment in a dualistic point of view ...
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Concept Of Enlightenment

Concept Of Enlightenment

Eckhart Tolle shares his concept of enlightenment and how transformative it can be in your life once you open yourself up to it ...
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The Way to the End of the World by Howard Cohn

The Way to the End of the World [Audio]

Buddha suggested that within our body lies the path in which we cultivate the wholesome qualities of mindfulness, the path leading to the end of the world ...
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Dont Hold Back by Pasanno Bhikkhu

Don’t Hold Back

When we realize that our basic needs are satisfied, it is much easier for contentment to arise. Actually, what we have is enough ...
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Just One More

Just One More

"Just One More" explores the third Brahma-vihāra - muditā which helps you awaken your joy at the good fortune of others and avoid being self-centered ...
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The inner committee

The Inner Committee

Ajahn teaches Buddhist wisdom about different personas, roles, and characters. The so-called "Inner Committee" we listen to every day ...
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A Tree In A Forest

A Tree in a Forest

This free ebook A Tree in A Forest is a collection of Ajahn Chah's similes. Talking about Dhamma via similes is a creative way to understand the teachings ...
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Truth of Rebirth And Why It Matters in Buddhist Practice

The Truth of Rebirth: And Why It Matters for Buddhist Practice

The Truth of Rebirth: And Why It Matters for Buddhist Practice ebook teaches Rebirth, Awakening, and release from Suffering in the Buddhist practice ...
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Ajahn Sumedho Volume 1 – Peace is a Simple Step

Ajahn Sumedho Volume 1 – Peace is a Simple Step

Read about this "Peace is a Simple Step", the first book of Ven. Ajahn Sumedho's series of written teachings focused on the approach to Buddhist practice ...
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Kamma and the End of Kamma

Kamma and the End of Kamma

Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech and mind. And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact, bhikkhus ...
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Meditation A Way of Awakening

Meditation: A Way of Awakening

Meditation: A Way of Awakening. Meditation can be a very deep inquiry into the mind. It can be undertaken in intensive retreats. Practice it anytime too! ...
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The Mystery of Uncertainty

The Mystery of Uncertainty

Jack Kornfield talks about The Mysteries of Uncertainty. One must always approach with a beginner's mind to gain the grace of not knowing ...
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Mindfulness Exercise on Lessons From Nature

Sincerity

Matthew Brensilver talks about Sincerity. Sincerity is the lifeblood of mindfulness practice. All its beauty arises within sincerity ...
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Nikki Mirghafori

Guided Instructions on The Four Elements [Audio]

Guided Instructions on The Four Elements by Nikki Mirghafori:(long pause)As we arrive this morning to sit, invite yourself to settle into this body. Having a posture that is stable and dignified ...
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Listening To The Sound Of Silence

Listening To The Sound Of Silence

Ajahn Sumedho talks about Listening to the Sound of Silence. In meditation, we establish awareness. This awareness contemplates on the sound of silence, not to be heard by the ear ...
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Mindfulness and Buddhism

While mindfulness in and of itself does not require we practice Buddhism, we cannot practice Buddhism without understanding and embodying mindfulness. Buddhism is a religion and philosophy that has stood the test of time, having been founded over 2,500 years ago by Siddhartha Gautama. As a cornerstone of Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness practice has been explored and embodied for centuries. Its presence is so strong and deeply rooted that mindfulness, often referred to as sati, is often considered the first step one takes towards enlightenment.

Understanding Sati

Sati is the first of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, though it is a component of each and every stage. According to the Buddhist tradition, mindfulness can be defined as, “moment to moment awareness of the present moment.” It is not something we can possess or hold onto; rather, it a process we experience again and again.

Mindfulness, or sati, can also be understood as:

  • Bare attention, or non-conceptual awareness
  • Correct view, or clear seeing
  • Non-judgmental awareness
  • Awareness of reality
  • Remembering, or bearing in mind

Remembering, as it is understood in the Buddhist sense, does not refer to the recollection of past events by the egoic mind; rather, it is a reminder to pay “bare attention” when the mind has wandered, or when we have moved away from the present moment. In this way, mindfulness has the ability to remind us to focus on what is happening right here and now. Not only is mindfulness the art of paying attention, it is also what calls us back when our attention has flittered away.

Mindfulness in the Buddhist Tradition

The Buddhist roots of mindfulness are powerful reminders of what this process or practice is and what it is not. Happiness or relaxation are often falsely associated with mindfulness; meanwhile, Buddhism reminds us that mindfulness is not conditional in any way. In the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, everything is observed without judgment. While what is observed in the mind might be noted as happiness, the presence of this state is not necessary for the practice to be complete or “correct.”

Many modern views of mindfulness focus on the idea of the primary or individual self, harbouring, however unconsciously, the notion of the separate self. Buddhism, on the other hand, views life as a conglomerate of flowing energy that creates our thoughts, our feelings, and our experience. Through movement towards enlightenment, the self is liberated from its sense of separateness.

It is important to note that the separate self does not need to be rejected or judged in any way; rather, it is something that Buddhist mindfulness practice eventually moves us through. Our experience of the separate self can be observed just like anything else. This understanding is a crucial component to the expansion of one’s mindfulness practice. These ancient insights provide us with signposts to help us move past our attachment to our experiences and our stories and our strong sense of the separate self. They encourage us to witness the present moment reality from a clearer, or more absolute, vantage point.

How Buddhism Promotes Mindfulness

Buddhism promotes mindfulness through a variety of techniques and modes of exploration. To better understand the ways in which it is practiced in this tradition, mindfulness can be explored through its four foundations: mindfulness of body, mindfulness of feelings, mindfulness of mind, and mindfulness of dhammas.

1. Mindfulness of body

Including mindfulness of breathing, awareness of the body, contemplation on the reality of the physical body, reflection on the material reality, and awareness of the body’s impermanence

2. Mindfulness of feeling

Different from emotion, feelings in this sense are broken down into awareness of risings that are: pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant; bodily and mental; worldly and unworldly

3. Mindfulness of mind

Involves awareness of mental states such as distraction, concentration, hatred, lust, or retraction

4. Mindfulness of dhammas, or mind objects

  • Awareness of Five Hindrances (desire, anger, sloth, worry, doubt)
  • Awareness of the Five Aggregates of Clinging (form, feeling, perception, mental-formations, consciousness)
  • Awareness of the entry points of consciousness (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind)
  • Mindfulness of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (mindfulness, investigation of dhammas, energy, joy, relaxation, concentration, and equanimity)
  • Mindfulness of the Four Noble Truths (suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to the end of suffering)

These four cornerstones provide a framework through which we can begin to explore mindfulness. Typically, we would explore one at a time, beginning with breath awareness and then moving outwards from there. Eventually, we reach the Four Noble Truths, coming to understand intuitively (rather than intellectually or theoretically) how one can move towards the absence of suffering.

The End of Suffering through Mindfulness

According to Buddhist philosophy, we suffer not because we are inherently “wrong” or “bad” but because we do not understand the reality of nature. Buddhism introduces us to the three marks of existence: impermanence, suffering, and insight. Mindfulness and contemplation of these aspects of our existence help us to move through our suffering as we gain a deeper understanding of the absolute reality of nature.

The Pali word for suffering is dukkha, a term that can be more completely understood as:

  • The physical or mental suffering that comes from the cycle of life (the transition through birth, growth, illness, and death)
  • The emotional aspect of our humanity, including sorrow and grief
  • Attachment to things that, by nature, change constantly
  • Lack of satisfaction or the feeling of expectations not being met

We gain insight into dukkha by increasing mindfulness of the Buddhist understanding of life. As we come to understand and accept the flow of nature and the impermanency of everything (from thoughts to physical possessions), we begin to overcome whatever rests at the root of our suffering. This deeper level of awareness increases our experience of contentment with whatever exists. We find ourselves in greater flow with the cycles of everything life comprises of.

​Buddhist Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness practice in Buddhism is often believed to be highly associated with meditation, but it much more than this. The practice of being mindful can be carried throughout every aspect of our lives, touching the ways we interact with others, the way we walk, the way we eat, and the way we do just about anything. In studying Buddhism philosophy, it is not uncommon to find ourselves becoming instinctively more mindful of how we tread on this earth on a daily basis and of our interconnectedness to all things.

There are a variety of different ways we can deepen our awareness of the present moment. Countless online resources exist to help guide us into deeper levels of understanding. Three techniques and practices with roots in the Buddhist tradition are listed below.

Breath Awareness

Mindfulness of body is most simply explored through awareness of the breath. To practice, come into a comfortable seated position with the spine straight and the shoulders relaxed. You may sit cross legged on the floor or in a straight-backed chair. Rest your hands in your lap or on your thighs as you come into a state of stillness.

Draw your awareness to your breath without changing it in anyway. Keep your focus on this movement of energy into and out of your body, calling upon mindfulness to help refocus your attention when the mind wanders.

Keep the heart open, remaining compassionate towards whatever you experience. Refrain from judging the present moment in anyway. Continue to breathe mindfully, drawing your attention back to the breath again and again. You may sit here for any period of time that suits your needs.

Loving Kindness Meditation

Within the Buddhist tradition, Loving Kindness meditation, or Metta meditation, is a practice that helps to keep the heart open and compassionate. It supports insights as through this practice, we come to realize our interconnectedness on a more profound level.

To practice, come to a seated position with your back straight and shoulders relaxed. Take a few moments to settle into the space and then draw your attention to the center of your chest. Breathe through this space.

Once you feel grounded, bring yourself to mind. With eyes closed, observe the presence of yourself in your mind’s eye exactly as you are. Open your heart to this individual and when you are ready, softly repeat the words:

May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.
May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.

Take your time with this, allowing yourself to be completely present with these words as they permeate the image of your own being. Sit with this moment for as long as you need.

When you are ready, repeat the practice with three more people:

  • Someone you are close to
  • Someone you feel neutral towards
  • Someone you have a challenging relationship with

With each of these individuals, take your time to bring their image and essence to mind, repeating the same blessings to them.

May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.
May you be loved, may you be safe, may you be happy, may you be at peace.

Finally, repeat the same kind words to the Universe at large, holding the entire world in your awareness. Imagine all beings being blessed with light, love, and peace.

Allow all images to dissipate as you come back to silence. Focus on your breath for a while observing whatever arises in your field of awareness. When you are ready, you may slowly return to the physical world by gently opening your eyes.

Vipassana Meditation

Also known as Insight Meditation, Vipassana is a meditation technique that dates back to the earliest days of Buddhism. With roots in India, Gotama Buddha came upon the practice over 2500 years ago. It offers insight into the three marks of existence and moves us towards liberation from suffering. Vipassana is taught in 10-day retreats as the entire practice is considered to be a mental training.

The practice helps us to see things as they are and guides its students to pay focused attention to the sensations of the physical body. It is based on open observation and helps to connect the gap between mind and body.

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