How to Meditate
Introduction to Insight Meditation (1988) is a short guide written by Ajahn Sucitto, a Theravada Buddhist monk ordained in the Thai Forest Tradition. Born in England, Ajahn Sucitto served as the abbot of Cittaviveka, Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, from 1992 to 2014. This booklet provides a clear and accessible introduction to samatha-vipassana meditation practice.
Many of the talks we listen to are downloaded from Dharma Seed, an online library of recordings from teachers in the Vipassana and Theravada traditions. You can also download the latest talks through an RSS feed or an iTunes podcast subscription. The Talks page lists the recordings we've listened to since March 2013.
Another excellent collection is Audio Dharma, the online home of the Insight Meditation Center (IMC) in Redwood City, California. Gil Fronsdal and Andrea Fella are the guiding teachers at IMC, though the site features recordings from many guest teachers as well. You can also subscribe to the Audio Dharma podcast in iTunes.
If you have a smart phone, Insight Timer offers a convenient way to time your meditation sessions. It features a world map that marks the locations of people currently using the app, a simple but powerful way to create a sense of community with other meditators around the globe.
The following books are recommended for new meditators as well as for anyone who wants to review the fundamentals:
- Jack Kornfield, Meditation for Beginners
- Joseph Goldstein & Sharon Salzberg, Insight Meditation: A Step-by-step Course on How to Meditate
- Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness
The Abhayagiri Monastery and Amaravati Monastery have many free books available for download, and the Insight Meditation Society website has an excellent list of recommended books for beginners and advanced practitioners alike.
We also have a small library of books that you are welcome to borrow and return at your convenience.
For those interested in studying the suttas of the Pali cannon (the oldest extant collection of writings attributed to the Buddha), a recommended starting point is In the Buddha's Words, edited by Bikkhu Bodhi.
The site Access to Insight also has many articles, resources, and translations for those who want to delve deeper into the suttas and writings of the Theravada tradition.
Please note that some of these materials may be more challenging and less accessible than the other resources listed on this page.
Classes, Groups & Retreat Centers
The following list is far from comprehensive, but it includes some of the major groups and centers in the United States as well as in our region and local area. You'll also find many helpful links and resources on their websites.
- UIUC 8-Week Mindfulness Training (Urbana-Champaign, IL)
- UIUC Meditation Student Organization (Urbana-Champaign, IL)
- Insight Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Mid America Dharma (Missouri)
- The Insight Meditation Society (Barre, MA)
- The Insight Meditation Community of Washington (Washington, DC)
- The Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (Barre, MA)
- The Seattle Insight Meditation Society (Seattle, WA)
- The Insight Meditation Center (Redwood City, CA)
- Spirit Rock Meditation Center (Woodacre, CA)