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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…