Mindfulness Exercises For Buddhists

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

Ajahn Chah Teachings on Nature

Teachings On Nature

Teachings on Nature. One of Ajahn Chah’s unique qualities was his ability to explain & encourage people in ways that made the practice tangible ...
Read More
Ajahn Chah Its Like This

Ajahn Chah: It’s Like This

A free mindfulness ebook of Ajahn Chah, discussing the realness of genuine mindfulness practice as a way of achieving peace and serenity ...
Read More
He's a monk of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso. The 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He's Dalai Lama and here are his Top 10 Rules for Success.

Dalai Lama’s Top 10 Rules

A monk of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Dalai Lama gives you his top ten rules of success in any aspect of ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
Purity of Heart

Purity of Heart

Start walking the path of your self-awakening with purity of heart as your first step. We can help you learn the ways to enlighten and purify your heart ...
Read More
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! ...
Read More
The Karma of Questions

The Karma of Questions

The Karma of Questions. There’s no such thing as a totally idle question. Every question, even the most casual, carries an intention: Let's look deeper why! ...
Read More
Great Patient One

Great Patient One

Great Patient One is Part 2 of Where Are You Going- A Pilgrimage on Foot to the Buddhist Holy Places by Ajahn Sucitto and Dr. Nick Scott ...
Read More
Mindful Art of Thich Nhat Hanh

The Mindful Art of Thich Nhat Hanh

This video shows an intimate encounter with the Mindful Art of Thich Nhat Hanh. Appreciate Thich Nhat Hanh’s calligraphic meditation on mindfulness ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
Small Boat Great Mountain

Small Boat, Great Mountain

Small Boat, Great Mountain by Amaro Bhikkhu contains Theravadan Reflections on the Natural Great Perfection. It has references to Ajahn Amaro, et al ...
Read More
Discernment The Buddhas Strategies for Happiness

The Buddha’s Strategies for Happiness

Discernment: The Buddha’s Strategies for Happiness II is an introduction to the Buddha’s teachings on how to use discernment to find unending happiness ...
Read More
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.’ ...
Read 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! ...
Read More
Head and Heart Together by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Head & Heart Together

Head & Heart Together. “How can I ever repay you for your teaching?” Good meditation teachers often hear this question from their students, the best answer I know for it ...
Read More
Volume 3 Direct Realization by Ajahn Sumedho

Direct Realization

Volume 3 Direct Realization. This volume contains material gathered from talks given by Ajahn Sumedho in the late 1980s and 1990s ...
Read More
The Wings To Awakening

The Wings to Awakening

The Wings to Awakening is an Anthology from the Pali Canon translated & explained by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. It's the 1st organized heart of Buddha's Teachings ...
Read More
Meditations 2 by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Meditations 2

Meditations 2. The Dhamma talks included in this volume were given during the evening meditation sessions, and in many cases covered issues & interviews ...
Read More
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! ...
Read More
Bhikkhu Analayo

Exploring the Four Satipatthanas [Audio]

Exploring the Four Satipatthanas, by Bhikkhu Analayo:We are aware of the body in the sitting posture. And we allow the mind to rest in the body, just as the body rests in ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
Skill in Questions How The Buddha Taught

Skill in Questions: How the Buddha Taught

The central role of questioning in the Buddha’s teaching may be connected to the fact that his teaching starts not with a first principle but with a self-evident problem: how ...
Read More
The 10 Recollections A Study Guide

A Meditator’s Tools: A Guide on the 10 Recollections

The Ten Recollections (A Study Guide) are a set of meditation themes that highlight the positive role that memory and thought play in training the mind ...
Read More
Beyond All Directions

Beyond All Directions

Beyond All Directions - Essays on the Buddhist Path by Thanissaro Bhikkhu deals with the idea of "protection in all directions" offered by teachers towards their students ...
Read More
In Simple Terms by Ajahn Chah

In Simple Terms

Ajahn Chah was a master at using the apt & unusual simile to explain points of Dhamma. Sometimes he would make an abstract point clear with a simple image ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
Support for Practice by James Baraz

Supports for Practice

James Baraz shares a story about the Buddha and the 5 supports for practice he gave to a monk whose mind is not completely settled to deepen the practice ...
Read More
A Burden Off the Mind A Study Guide on the Five Aggregates

A Burden Off the Mind: A Study Guide on the Five Aggregates

One of the new concepts most central to the Buddha's teaching was that of the khandhas, usually translated into English as “aggregates.” ...
Read More
Rude Awakenings

Rude Awakenings

Rude Awakenings is Part 1 of the eBook Where Are You Going- A Pilgrimage on Foot tot he Buddhist Holy Places by Ajahn Sucitto and Dr. Nick Scott ...
Read More
Still Flowing Water by Ajahn Chah

Venerable Ajahn Chah: Still Flowing Water

This free ebook is a thought-provoking talk by Ajahn Chah to nourish one's heart and mind. This leads us to seek the immaterial gifts of Dhamma and peace ...
Read More
Selves and Not Self The Buddhist Teaching on Anatta

Self & Not-Self: The Buddhist Teaching on YOU

Selves & Not-self: The Buddhist Teaching on Anatta deals with the mystifying teaching on "not-self" crucial to understanding the spiritual path ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
Recognizing the Dhamma A Guide

Recognizing the Dhamma: A Guide

Any interpretation of the Dhamma or Vinaya must be judged. Perhaps the most important point that these principles make is that it has to be judged by the results that ...
Read More
ePublished Dhamma Talks 3

Dhamma Talks, vol. III

If you compare your mind to a tree, you want to have deep roots, widespread roots, healthy roots, the kind that will keep the tree from getting blown over and ...
Read More
Noble Strategy

Noble Strategy

The essays in this book present views on basic elements in the Buddhist path: the attitudes, concepts, & practices that lead to total freedom for the mind ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
The Wings To Awakening by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

The Wings to Awakening

"The Wings to Awakening: An Anthology from the Pali Canon" is the 1st organized set of teachings that the Buddha said formed the heart of his message ...
Read More
Meditations 3 by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Meditations 3

When we look for happiness, we tend to look far away. Even when we're meditating, we tend to look far away from where things actually are ...
Read More
Loading...

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.

Browse More Categories

>

JOIN: Our Free Mindfulness Webinar Event