Dharma Punx, by Noah Levine
The inspiring book that chronicles Noah's life and gives the group its name; if you're interested in Dharma Punx you gotta read this book!
Buddha, by Karen Armstrong
An excellent, powerfully written (and relatively short) biography of the Buddha.
An End to Suffering: the Buddha in the World, by Pankaj Mishra
Weaves together politics, travel, biography and philosophy in a quest to understand Buddha's life and teachings.
For a Future To Be Possible: Commentaries on the Five Mindfulness Trainings, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Great expanded reflections on The Five Precepts by one of the world's leading Buddhist teachers (excerpts available online.
Buddhism: A Concise Introduction, by Huston Smith and Philip Novak
Unattended Sorrow, by Stephen Levine
Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, by Joseph Goldstein
Key teachings, favorite stories, and answers to commonly asked questions about insight meditation by the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society.
The Mind Like Fire Unbound: An Image in the Early Buddhist Discourses, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)
Describes Nirvana (well, makes an attempt anyway) and what one must do to attain it according to the Suttas. Also puts the phrase in historical context so that you know a bit more about what the Buddha achieved and what he meant for others to achieve. [Freely available online atwww.accesstoinsight.org]
Noble Strategy: Essays on the Buddhist Path, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)
Presents views on basic elements in the Buddhist path — the attitudes, concepts, and practices that lead to total freedom for the mind. [Freely available online at www.accesstoinsight.org]
Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, by Tara Brach
Excellent and very accessible introduction to Buddhist practice by the founder and senior teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D. C.
Small Boat, Great Mountain, by Ajahn Amaro
Those finding the suttas difficult to interpret might want to sneak a peek at Ajahn Amaro's awe-inspiring Small Boat, Great Mountain, which has served as a guide for me during my rereadings of the Udana. The second chapter, The Place of Nonabiding, will blow your mind. [Freely available as a PDF]
The Udana and the Itivuttaka, Translated by John D. Ireland
The Udana is a wonderful collection of short stories followed by a verse. Wise, interesting and excellent for meditative reflection. See Tips on Reading the Pali Discourses [Also freely available online at www.accesstoinsight.org]
Perhaps the best Theravada Buddhist resource on the web. Free Suttas, articles, books, study guides, and links to other resources.
Hundreds of free books and articles for download.
Theravada Buddhist site with a Burmese feel – the English can be rough, but there is good stuff to be found here.
Suttas selected and read aloud by teachers and senior Dhamma practitioners in the Theravada Buddhist tradition.
Dharma talks are one of the best ways to listen to the Dhamma, associate with wise people (in a way), and to feel supported in the practice when live teachers go missing...
Audio Dharma (http://www.audiodharma.org/)
Dhamma Talks (http://www.dhammatalks.org.uk/index2.htm)
Vipassana Fellowship (http://www.vipassana.org/meditation/khema/hereandnow/index.php)
Access to Insight (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/outsources/audio.html)
Tara Brach (http://www.tarabrach.com/audiodharma.html)
George Haas (http://www.mettagroup.org/)^ top
Buddhist Meditation Centers in the US
Website for the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies
Spirit Rock Meditation Center (http://www.spiritrock.org/)
Great meditation center near San Francisco in Marin County, California.
The organization which offers courses in Vipassana Meditation in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin as taught by S.N. Goenka.
Metta Forest Monastery (http://www.watmetta.org/)
Thai forrest monastery near San Diego, California.
The Bhavana Society (http://www.bhavanasociety.org/)
Sri Lankan Forest Monastery near Washington, D.C.
New York Insight Meditation Center (http://www.nyimc.org/)
Highly recommended resource to stay aware of; NYIMC offers many workshops and speakers from around the world.
Downtown New York Meditation Community (http://www.dnymc.org/)
Peter Doobinen's group. Peter is one of New York's leading meditation teachers.
MONASTERIES IN OR NEAR CITY
When browsing these websites please look at their schedule of events and plan a visit with friends if you are able.
American Burma Buddhist Association http://www.mahasiusa.org/
Burmese monks in Brooklyn
American Sri Lanka Buddhist Association: Staten Island Buddhist Vihara
Sri Lankan temple in Staten Island http://www.sibv.org/
New York Buddhist Vihara http://www.newyorkbuddhist.org/
Sri Lankan temple in Queens. The Queens Vihara offers meditation and a Dhamma talk on Wednesday evenings.
Bodhi Monastery http://www.bodhimonastery.net/
Monastery in Lafayette, New Jersey Bhikkhu Bodhi, prolific translator of the Pali Canon into English, lives here. Take advantage of talks on the web, weekly classes and meditations at the monastery. One of the few monasteries where Mahayana and Theravada monks and nuns live together.
Wat Buddha Thai Tavorn Vanaram http://www.watbuddhathai.org/
Thai Monastery in Queens
Mindfulness Meditation Instructions
Following are two guided meditations. The first, shorter version is from Josh Korda. The second, longer version is taken from Noah's book,
MINDFULNESS MEDITATION (BY JOSH KORDA)
Sit comfortably, close your eyes. Give attention to your body-soften areas that feel tight. Let your awareness be spacious and free of judgment. Be aware of what it feels like to relax and sit. Different sensations arise and pass; just notice them. Be at peace, allowing sensations to come and go, without attaching to them. Follow the rhythmic waves and sensations of the breath.
Find the place in the body the breath is most noticeable to you. While you focus, quiet the mind and allow it to return to its calm state.
It's the nature of the mind to follow thoughts. It wanders and carries you away. When you notice this, come back unhurriedly and without judgment, simply noting "thinking." The mind requires gentle training to be here, one breath at a time. Along with the rising and falling of the breath you can pay attention to sounds, to the sensations of touching, to pain in the body, to the thoughts that try to drag you away. But don't follow them.
While the object of meditation may change, return to the breath whenever you feel the mind wandering or unfocused. If you sit long enough you will meet our old companion, pain. Don't turn away from pain as, when you see it's true nature, the discomfort is minimized. Like a scientist, examine its characteristics, like tugging, throbbing, tension, heat, etc. This practice is about investigating the sensations that make up who you are. Be a witness to your experience, and a non-judgmental, non-reactive awareness will develop. This is a mind free of stress.
If moods carry you away from the breath, acknowledge them by noting them. "sadness" or "calm" or "sleepy" or "restless." Notice what happens when you give it attention without identifying with it, feel it in the body then return to the breath.
Notice how insistent thoughts are. What tone of voice? How sticky are the thoughts? Are they words or images? What happens when you meet them with awareness, rather than jumping aboard and being carried away? How do they affect the body? Then return to the breath. Name whatever strong experience arrives, feel how it affects the body, then return to the breath.
MINDFULNESS MEDITATION INSTRUCTIONS (FROM NOAH'S BOOK )
[These are the simple instructions from my father that so drastically changed the course of my life. May you too benefit from this practice.]
Find a comfortable place to sit, with the back straight, but not rigid.
Allowing the body to just breathe naturally, bring the attention to the most noticeable point of touch where the breath makes contact as it enters the nostrils.
Bring the awareness to the sense of touch of the air as it passes in and passes out. Keep your attention at one precise point and note the sensation that accompanies each breath as it flows in and flows out of the body in the natural breathing process.
If the attention strays, bring it back to the point where you notice the breath as it comes and at the nostrils. Noting "breathing in; breathing out." Not thinking about the breath. Not even visualizing it. Just being with the sensation as it arises with the touch of the air passing in and out of the nostrils.
Sounds arise. Thoughts arise. Other sensations arise. Let them all be in the background, arising and passing away. In the foreground is the moment-to-moment awareness of the sensation of the breath coming and going. Not pushing anything away. Not grasping at anything. Just clear, precise, gentle observation of the breath. Mindfulness of breathing.
Sensations arise in the body. Thoughts arise in the mind. they come and go like bubbles.
Each mind moment is allowed to arise and allowed to pass away of its own momentum. No pushing away of the mind, not grasping at the breath. Just gently returning awareness to the sensations always present with the coming and the going of the breath. Gently returning.
The awareness of breath is foreground. In the background, everything else is as it is.
Each breath is unique: sometimes deep, sometimes shallow, always slightly changing. the whole breath felt going in, stopping, and coming about; the whole breath experienced at the level of sensation, of touch.
Breathing just happening by itself. Awareness simply watching. The whole body relaxed. Eyes soft. Face relaxed. Shoulders loose. The belly full and easy. No holding anywhere.
Just awareness and breathing.
Just consciousness and the object consciousness, arising and passing away moment to moment in the vast space of mind.
Don't get lost. If the mind pulls away, gently, with a soft, non-judging, non-clinging awareness, return to the breath. Not the whole breath, from its beginning to its end, precisely, clearly, from sensation to sensation.
The body breathes itself. The mind thinks by itself. Awareness simply observes the process without getting lost in the content.
Each breath is unique. Each moment is completely new. If sensation should arise in the body, let the awareness recognize it as sensation. Notice it coming and notice it going. Not thinking of it as a body or as a leg, as pain or as vibration. Simply noting it as sensation and returning to the breath.
The whole process occurring by itself. Awareness observing, moment to moment, the arising and passing away of experiences in the mind and body. Moment-to-moment change.
Surrender to the present. Experience the breath. Don't try to get anything from the breath. Don't even think of concentration. Just allow awareness to penetrate to the level of sensations that arise of themselves and by themselves. the point of touch becoming more and more distinct, more intense with the coming and going of each breath. The mind becoming one-pointed on sensations that accompany breathing.
If thoughts arise, clearly note their motion in mind, rising and passing away like bubbles. Notice them, and return to the mindfulness of the breathing.
If thought or feeling becomes predominant, with and open awareness, softly note what is predominant as "feeling" or "thinking," as "hearing," as "tasting," as "smelling." Then, gently return to the breath.
Don't tarry with thought. Don't identify contents. Just note the experience of thought entering and passing away, of feeling, of any sense, arising in the moment and passing away in the next moment.
Return to the even flow of the breath. Not grasping anything. Not pushing anything away. Just a clear awareness of what predominates in the mind or body as it arises. Returning deeply to the intense point of sensation that marks the passage of the air of each full breath.
The eyes soft. Shoulders soft. Belly soft. the awareness crystal clear.
Subtler and subtler sensations become predominant. Thoughts become predominant. each one notes clearly within the concentrated awareness of breathing.
Watch its motion, continual change from object to object, breath to breath, sensation to sensation. Like a kaleidoscope, continual change.
Moment-to-moment objects arise and pass away in the vast space of mind, of body. An easy, open awareness simply observing the process of arising and passing away. Awareness of whatever is predominant, returning to the sensations of the breath.
Feelings arise. Thoughts arise. The "planning mind," the "judging mind." Awareness experiences the process of their movement. It doesn't get lost inn content. Observe thought passing though the vast space of mind.
These words arising from nothing, disappearing into nothing. Just open space in which the whole mind, the whole body, are experienced as moment-to-moment change.
Sound arises and passes away.
Feeling arises and passes away.
All of who we are, of what we think we are, moment to moment, coming and going, bubbles in mind, arising, passing away in the vast, open space of mind. Choiceless awareness. Moment-to-moment awareness of whatever arises, of whatever exists.
All things that have the nature arise have the nature to pass away. Everything we think of as "me" disappearing moment to moment.
Moment to moment. Knowing the truth of each experience.