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Meditation - Eyes Open or Closed?

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Learning meditation you will be taught to meditate with your eyes closed or your eyes open. Which is best and why?


I was first taught to meditate with my eyes closed. This seems to be common in some Theravadin schools, Vipassana meditation groups and the Triratna Buddhist Community.

I am now meditating in the Tibetan traditions of Kagyu/Nyingma. My main practice is Formless Meditation (meditation without an object of focus). In this meditation, the instruction is to meditate with the eyes open, or half open with the vision cast down a little. The gaze is kept soft and you do not focus on any particular object . You can experience this by trying to see through your peripheral vision.


So why do some Buddhist meditation schools recommend eyes closed and some eyes open?

When I learnt to meditate with the Triratna Buddhist Community I was told that the visual input was disturbing, particularly to beginners and that shutting my eyes would help me to not get distracted aid access to super-no…

Sacred Landscape and Smoke Puja Lhasang

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One of the things I really appreciated about my time at Gampo Abbey was the Shambhala approach to sacred place and landscape. In 2007 I had my first introduction to Buddhist smoke pujas (Lhasang in Tibetan).


A windy Lhasang at Gampo Abbey
In this ritual we would prepare a fire in a specially built fire pit near the edge of the cliff overlooking the Bay of St. Lawrence, a wild and blowy place. We would circle the fire with Buddhist ritual instruments and chant the Shambhala Lhasang liturgy, compiled by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a teacher of Lama Shenpen Hookham (my own teacher).

During the ceremony various purifying substances would be added to the fire, such as juniper, oils and herbs. These would produce a thick white smoke which would be whipped off into the wind sometimes visible miles down the coastline, other times swallowed into a snow storm.

The view behind the Lhasang was one of joining heaven and earth, of calling down beneficial influence (Drala) down into our worldly existe…

Meanders into Buddhist Wales (an update 2011-2016)

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It's been a busy few years and much has changed. I worked as the Director of New View Residential in Cambridge for around five years and was happy to see this grow, particularly in the light of the closure of Windhorse Trading, the Triratna Team Based Right Livelihood Business this grew out of.

I started studying a course called Discovering the Heart of Buddhism with the Awakened Heart Sangha in 2013. This was written by Lama Shenpen Hookham and is an exploration of Buddha Nature and Formless Meditation related to the Dzogchen and Mahamudra lineages of Tibetan Buddhism.



I've been really pleased with this course and it has refreshed and enlivened my interest in mediation and Dharma study. I went on a few retreats at the Hermitage of the Awakened Heart and started to feel that this was the approach for me.

I continued to support and run the Triratna Milton Keynes group alone and with friends such as Priyadaka and Prajnaghatu up until the end of 2015. I was beginning to find an i…

Milton Keynes Meditation Association Gets New Website

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After some months of development the Milton Keynes Meditation Association (affiliated to the Cambridge Buddhist Centre) has launched it's new Website.

The development work was done by Dharmachari Jnanasalin, an Order Member based in Cambridge.

All the Cambridge outreach groups now share one address:

www.buddhismandmeditation.co.uk

The Milton Keynes Group can now be found at:

www.buddhismand meditation.co.uk/miltonkeynes

The new website is very pretty and includes a blog page allowing us to keep people up to date with what's happening at our classes and the wider Triratna Buddhist world. We even have a Milton Keynes Meditation Facebook page.

The MK Group goes from strength to strength. We now have weekly meetings and the numbers of attendees are going up. The group has 15 years of practise history behind it and there is a strong feeling of community and appreciation for Buddha Dharma in the group.

A Buddhist Letting Agency - New View Residential in Cambridge

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Hi All,
Well, I have finally gone and done it. Those of you who know me well will probably recall me going on about starting a Buddhist ethical letting agency in my home town of Cambridge. It is talk no longer.
The agency is called New View Residential and is owned by the Windhorse Trust, the charity that owns windhorse:evolution. We started in October last year with encouragement and support from friends such as Vidyavajra (in the photo with the board he designed), Janansalin and Keturja to name just a few.
It completes a full circle for me as letting property in Cambridge is how I first became involved in Buddhism. I was working for an agency in Cambridge and had let a property to Windhorse for use as a community. I was fascinated by the sight of their shrine room and started going along to the Cambridge Buddhist Centre a few months later.
New View Residential is a Cambridge based residential letting agency and acts on behalf of local landlords who wish to rent out their property. We ad…

Milton Keynes Intro to Meditation Day

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I'll be leading an Introduction to Meditation Day in Milton Keynes on Saturday 12th June 2010.

The day will be open to all those interested in learning meditation regardless of age, backround or religious belief. We will be exploring the nature of meditation and teaching two Buddhist Meditation practices: the Mindfulness of Breathing and the Cultivation of Loving Kindness.

The Day is being hosted by the Milton Keynes Meditation Association at the Friends Meeting House in Downhead Park (map). The day starts at 9.30am and finished at 4.30pm. The cost is £35 (or £25 concessionary rate). Please bring a vegetarian lunch to share.

If you'd like further details please contact me at: meditationmk@googlemail.com.

On-line bookings can be made at:

Introduction to Meditation in Milton Keynes - Bookings

I'm looking forward to it, it should be a fun day.

Buddhist Meditation Milton Keynes

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Hello My Friends,

Sorry there have been no updates for a while. I have been a little occupied, what with one thing and another!

I have found a new project in the Milton Keynes Meditation Association, a Triratna Buddhist Community (ex FWBO) meditation group attached to the Cambridge Buddhist Centre. I go along there two Thursday nights per month to lead meditation and Buddhist discussion. It's an intimate and friendly group and I am really enjoying getting to know them.

My good friend Jnanasalin has helped me develop a website for the group:

Milton Keynes Meditation Association

Milton Keynes is quite famous for it's concrete cows (above), made by Canadian artist/sculptress Liz Leyh.

I am now back in Cambridge and living happily in my old community house. I am working full time at Windhorse Trading (our Right Livelihood Business) as the P.A to Keturaja (our shiny new Managing Director). It's lovely being back in Cambridge, especially as the spring makes it's presence felt afte…