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A pdf version of this web page can be found here:

Study Guide

In meditation retreats, seminars, and classes a (somewhat) predictable series of topics arise in a (slightly less) predictable sequence. I’ve tried to get my best stories and reflections on these topics down on paper. The result has been several books and a website.

The topics are listed below with references to my writings on each topic. If you are new to meditation or this style of practice, you may want to stick with the first one or two items on each topic to get started. Once you have an overview of all the topics, further resources offer more depth on each.

After each resource you’ll find one or more icons that indicate where you can find the material. Rounded icons refer to free, web-based resources. Square icons show where you can purchase the writings in print if you so choose. The icons are active links to the various resources.

Icons for free material point to:

– a web page or pages

– a document formatted for printing that can be read on-line or downloaded

– a YouTube video

– an audio recording

The icons for printed material refer to:

Buddha’s Map: His Original Teaching on Awakening, Ease, and Insight in the Heart of Meditation, explores the meditation path described by the Buddha including key insights, unfolding stages (or “jhanas”), and how to recognize and adapt your practice to take advantage of these stages.

Beginning the Journey: Initial Meditation Instructions Using the Buddha’s Map advises how to get started. The material in this booklet is also found in chapters 2 and 10 of Buddha’s Map.

Kindness and Wisdom Practice: A Quick Guide to Metta Panna Meditation bare bones summary of the practices described in Buddha’s Map.

Meditator’s Field Guide: Reflections on 57 Insights that Slip Away explores the inner landscape, particularly insights that touch us to the core yet easily slip away.



Beginning Meditation Instructions

Beginning the Journey. This booklet gives you what you need to get started.

Buddha’s Map chapters 2 and 10 provide essentially the same material as in Beginning the Journey.


Overview of the Practice and Attitude

"Three Essential Practices." Turning toward, relaxing into, and savoring are practices and attitudes that give Buddhism its distinctive flavor.

"How Buddhism Entered the World" is biographical sketch of the Buddha’s spiritual development.

"1. From Stubbornness to Ease" and "21. Buddha’s Map" introduces the way I like to teach meditation and how it relates to other Buddhist styles.

"2. Resilience." Buddhism is more about how to rebound from difficulty than how to avoid anything.

"8. Be Kind, Pay Attention, and Relax: A Blue Collar Hologram." A concise summary of the Buddha’s teachings.

Kindness and Wisdom Practice gives a quick summary of all the practices described in Buddha’s Map.

Day 3: "Turning Toward."


Relating to Hindrances

"The Demon’s Blessing:" an overview of the hindrances and a deeper look at a few.

A one page handout that accompanies "The Demon’s Blessing."

"7. Hindrances are Your Friends."

Day 2: "Hindrances."

Meditator’s Field Guide chapters 17 through 38 all relate to different aspects of the hindrances.
Some of these chapters are available on-line:
"24. The Trap of Getting Free," ; "26. Hindrances Like the Back Door, ; "31. Recognizing Two Species of Intentions," ; "33. Hindrances Want to Retire," ; and "37. Gifts and Vulnerabilities."

"Nuisances: Blatant and Latent Hindrances."

"172 Cognitive Biases" gives a list of cognitive distortions that have been identified and studied by psychologists. Just scanning the list deepens my appreciation of how easy it is to not see clearly.


Stages (Jhanas) of the Buddha’s Path

Buddha’s Map, Part III: Path, chapters 10 through 20 describe the stages of the Buddha’s meditation practice and how they unfold. Each jhana is described along with original text, how to recognize the jhana, and practices that are helpful at each stage.
"10. Joy: the First Jhana" is on the web.

Day 4: "Awareness Jhanas."


Dependent Origination as the Core of the Practice

The Inner Landscape series:

"4. Endearing:" an overview of Dependent Origination.

"5: Dependent Origination:" details and implications.

"4. Thickening the Plot: Dependent Origination"

Day 5: "Dependent Origination."

"13. Awareness Meters" describes some practical and powerful techniques to recognize the two most important aspects of dependent origination.

"5. Thriving in Difficult Times" details tanha, one of the two most important aspect of Dependent Origination.


Selflessness and the Impersonal Nature of Phenomena

"6. Chameleon: Selflessness."

"5. A Vote for Kindness: No Unchanging Self,"

"12. Selflessness Grows out of Self-Care,"

"52. The Evolving Self."

Day 6: "It Ain’t Personal."


Natural Glowing Awareness

"39. Candles and Flashlights."

"40. Attunement, Not Attainment."

"41. Whatever Arises in the Mind Is Not a Problem."


Integrating Meditation into Daily Life:

"49. Engaging Precepts Mindfully" explores the precepts as a tool for cultivating awareness rather than a rule to be punished for breaking.

"50. Wise Acceptance and the Six Rs" explores integrating the Six Rs into everyday life.

"D. Precepts" investigates precepts that are easily misunderstood and explores the original intentions behind them.

Day 8: "6 Precepts and 7Rs" brings the practice into in everyday life.



H. "Glossary" Explanations of many specific Buddhist terms.