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Lions Roar : May 2017
Go on a Meditation Retreat I know it’s scary, but I have never seen someone do a retreat at an established Buddhist center and find it was a waste of their time. Unplugging from everyday life for a time and focusing on your practice changes your meditation for the better, and in a lasting way. Deepen Your Study I recommend keeping a Buddhist book by your meditation seat or your bed and reading a few pages after you practice or before you go to sleep. Remind yourself of the Buddhist view—why you’re doing meditation practice to begin with. Studying Buddhist teachings also helps you see how you can integrate meditation into your everyday life. Consider Taking Refuge At some point you may wake up and ask, “Huh. I’m doing all this meditating and studying. Maybe I’m a Buddhist now?” That’s a good time to consider taking refuge, which is the ceremony acknowledging you are officially now a Buddhist. I recommend reading up on the topic or talking to a teacher first, because it’s a big leap. You’re committing, for the rest of your life, to taking on the example of the Buddha as someone who was able to become awake, the teachings he presented as a guidebook for your own life, and the community of meditation practitioners as helpful aides for your journey. As you think about going deeper into Buddhism, the thing I’d like to say is that you don’t have to go it alone. You can find support in communities, teachers, and books that are all going to nudge you forward and say, “Hey, I’ve been there. I know it’s tough to look at your mind and stay with the prac- tice. But you can do it.” The good news is that they’re right. You can. ♦ LODRO RINZLER is the co-founder of MNDFL medi- tation centers in New York. His most recent book is Love Hurts: Buddhist Advice for the Heartbroken. HOW TO MEDITATE: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind by Pema Chodron (Sounds True) Bestselling author and Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön presents the essentials for a successful, lifelong meditation practice, for both beginners and those more experienced. MINDFULNESS IN PLAIN ENGLISH by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana (Wisdom) Long before the birth of the modern mindfulness movement, this classic made mindfulness accessible and put it in a Buddhist-specific perspective as a key part of the dharma student’s path. BEING PEACE by Thich Nhat Hanh (Parallax) The great Zen teacher and founder of Engaged Buddhism joins the inner path of peace in meditation with the outer path of peace in the world. Uniting the two has never been more important. WHO IS MY SELF? by Ayya Khema (Wisdom) The late German nun Ayya Khema uses one of the earliest Buddhist suttas, as well as insights from her years of teaching, to approach meditation practice through the lens of understanding the nature of “self.” THE HEART OF BUDDHIST MEDITATION: Discovering Innermost Awareness by the Dalai Lama (Shambhala) The Dalai Lama introduces us to Dzogchen, one of the highest meditation systems in Vajrayana Buddhism. Its goal is discovering the true nature of your mind, which His Holiness calls “innermost awareness.” ON ZEN PRACTICE: Body, Breath, & Mind by Taizan Maezumi & Bernie Glassman (Wisdom) Though two giants of Western Zen are credited on its cover, this book also gathers essential pieces by Eihei Dogen, 20th-century Rinzai master Koryu Osaka Roshi, Sambokyodan founder Hakuun Yasutani Roshi, and his successor, Ko’un Yamada Roshi. TURNING YOUR MIND INTO AN ALLY by Sakyong Mipham (Riverhead) The mind, according to Buddhism, is the source of both suffering and joy. This bestselling book shows how taming your mind through meditation practice can turn it from an enemy causing you pain into an ally bringing you happiness. REAL HAPPINESS: The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg (Workman) Insight Meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg offers a 28-day meditation program to deepen your concentration, mindfulness, loving-kindness, and compassion. ZEN MIND, BEGINNER’S MIND by Shunryu Suzuki (Shambhala) Despite the title, this classic is not just for Zen folk! From how to do meditation to how to understand Buddhist concepts like emptiness and nirvana, this endlessly readable book covers it all. MINDFULNESS IN ACTION: Making Friends with Yourself Through Meditation and Everyday Awareness by Chögyam Trungpa (Shambhala) This book by one of the great meditation teachers of our time combines the practicality of secular mindfulness with the profundity of Buddhist teachings. ♦ Build Your Meditation Library 10 Essential Books You Need PHOTOBYFISCHERCHERRY LION’S ROAR | MAY 2017 65