The most popular Theravada practice in North America today is Mindfulness. It was introduced by young Ameri­cans who had studied in Southeast Asia and is one of the few Buddhist practices popularized by American as opposed to Asian teachers. Joseph Goldstein, Jack Korn­field, and Sharon Salzberg, to name three, streamlined the practice, freeing it from its traditional Buddhist con­text in order to make it more easily accessible to their Western students.

“We wanted,” says Jack Kornfield “to offer the power­ful practices of insight meditation, as many of our teach­ers did, as simply as possible without the complications of rituals, of robes, chanting, and the whole religious tra­dition.”

Intensive vipassana meditation retreats lasting any­where from one day to three months are conducted in strict silence. A typical day begins around 5:30 am and ends around 9:30 pm. A simple schedule of sitting and walking meditation, a period of work practice, interviews with teachers, and daily “dhamma talks” encourages the cultivation of mindfulness throughout the day.

Alternating periods of intensive retreat with practice in the world has become a hallmark of the American vipas­sana movement. Though Western students are over­whelmingly laypeople, these retreats allow them to practice in a manner traditionally reserved for Theravada forest monks. Such intensive practice not only supports the cultivation of mindfulness, but leads inexorably to “the unshakable deliverance of the heart.”

about Buddhism:
Theravada Buddhism teaches that friendship is an in­valuable support for the spiritual life, and spiritual friendships among practitioners, and between students and teachers, are
Through the centuries, Theravada Buddhism has had much to say about politics. Many Southeast Asian kings have tried to live up to the ten virtues and duties for political leaders e
In a number of suttas popular in Southeast Asia, the Bud­dha speaks about how to live well in the world. The Siga- laka Sutta addresses the responsibilities of our social and fami
Theravada Buddhism distinguishes between the Path of Liberation and the Path of Worldly Well-Being. This cor­responds loosely to the Western distinction between spir­itual and se
A key element at every stage of the journey is faith. In Theravada Buddhism, faith does not mean blind belief. Rather, it describes trust or confidence in oneself, in the teachings
While the gradual path of training may end with libera­tion, this is not the end of the spiritual journey. Libera­tion is the gate through which compassion, wisdom, and service t

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