The greatest gift is the
gift of the teachings
Thanissaro Bhikkhu's Dharma Talks at Metta Forest Monastery
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Dharma practice is medicine for the mind -- something particularly needed in a culture like ours that actively creates mental illness in training us to be busy producers and avid consumers. As individuals, we become healthier through our Dharma practice, which in turn helps bring sanity to our society at large.
2004-01-01 Exploring The Breath 1:11:52
INTRODUCTION TO BREATH MEDITATION Learn how to enjoy keeping the mind with the breath. If you spend time with the breath, you get sensitive not only to the breath, but also to what the mind is doing in the present moment and to the way it causes unnecessary suffering for itself. GETTING TO KNOW THE BREATH We live with the breath, and yet we don’t know it, and as a result don’t get as much out of it as we could. The breath can provide food, clothing, shelter, and medicine for the mind if you take the time to get to know it well. INSIGHT FROM THE BREATH The type of insight that’s going to make a difference in the mind has to come from the mind’s being solidly based. So, until your mindfulness of the breath is really solid, this is where you want to focus all your efforts. WHY THE BREATH The breath is like a mirror for the mind. When there’s greed, anger, delusion, they’ll show up in the breath. And you find that not only does the breath reflect the mind, but you can use the breath to have a positive effect on the mind as well. THE FULLNESS OF THE BREATH When the breath in the body is full, you find that it’s really resilient and eases your burdens in lots of ways. So experiment to see what a “full breath” is. THE BREATH'S POTENTIAL The mind is like an animal: that if it hasn’t been trained it’s difficult to live with. Once we train it, though, it stops creating so much suffering for itself. So we begin by staying in one place with something really simple: the breath.

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