Cross River Meditation Center
The Human Buddha's Restored Dhamma
Ending Ignorance of Four Noble Truths
All Blue Text Are Links
"In What is seen there is only what is seen" Bahiya Sutta, Udana 1:/10
2023 Heartwood of the Dhamma Noble Eightfold Path Retreat Information & Registration
Welcome, About Our Dhamma Teachers, Our Purpose Statement and Sangha Guidelines
How To Practice The Buddha's Dhamma
Our Suggested Dhamma Practice
We suggest two Jhana meditation sessions a day using the recordings linked below to continually reinforce the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as your Jhana practice.
Please keep in mind, two Jhana sessions per day of shorter sessions rather than one long Jhana meditation session, when practiced consistently, will be more effective in deepening your concentration
We offer two opportunities each week to join our Sangha and hear our teachers present the words of the Buddha. Siddartha Gotama, the historical Buddha, a self-awakened, fully mature human being, spent the last forty-five years of his life teaching a simple and direct Dhamma, free of magical thinking. These teachings have been restored by John to their original intent and purpose: to have a profound experiential understanding of Four Noble Truths and to develop a calm and peaceful mind.
Join us as often as you are able while gently holding in mind the unique opportunity we offer at BBCRMC.
When first encountered, the verbiage and structure of Dhamma practice can seem confusing. All of our teachers are available to you with questions you may have. Please feel free to contact anyone at anytime. We want you to discover a gentle and direct path to awakening and we are all here to help- just ask: BBCRMC Dhamma Teachers
Above all, do not judge yourself or this peaceful and harmless Dhamma. Begin now to understand that every moment of human life is impermanent and so impersonal. When distracted or stressed, keep in mind that what is a source of stress is not part of your identity or a true representation of life: all things arise and pass away.
Curren & Upcoming Dhamma Class Suttas/Topics
Guided Jhana Meditations, Instruction, Practice, and Provenance
Jhana Meditation Structured Study →
A 33-Class Structured Study of Jhana Meditation and the over-arching framework and guidance of a complete practice integrating the Eightfold Path.
↓ Guided Jhana Meditations ↓
↓ Jhana Meditation Posture ↓
↓ How To Begin A Jhana Meditation Practice ↓
↓ Jhana Meditation: A Simple Technique With Profound Benefits ↓
↓ Jhana Meditation Verbiage↓
↓ Jhan Mediation Foundation And Provenance ↓
↓ Establishing a Jhana Meditation Practice ↓
↓ Karaniniya Metta Sutta ↓
Guided Jhan Mediations
JHANA MEDITATION POSTURE
There is nothing magical or mystical about a meditation posture. The typical meditation posture of seated on the floor with legs folded against the torso is simply a way to sit comfortably during meditation. The meditation posture should be stable, relaxing and support a quiet and alert mind. It should provide a reasonable amount of comfort, avoiding physical distraction for the meditation period. At first, any posture may prove uncomfortable, and the posture described below will become more comfortable with time. It is preferable to sit on the floor supported by a zafu (pillow made for meditation) placed over a zabuton (a larger, flatter mat to support the legs). The zafu should be from 6 to 8 inches thick and is often filled with cotton, buckwheat, or kapok.
When sitting on the zafu place your sit bones on the front third of the zafu and allow your hips to drop in front of you. With your legs straight in front of you, bend your right leg at the knee and place your right foot under your left thigh and near your left buttock. Bend your left leg at the knee and place your left foot approximately in the crease formed by your right thigh and calf, resting on your calf. For more support you can place yoga blocks or a rolled towel under your knees. This posture may be uncomfortable at first, but with time and patience this will prove to be a stable base with which to build a meditation practice on. This is known as the half-lotus or Burmese posture.
If you are particularly nimble, you may want to sit in the full-lotus position. The full-lotus is the same as the half-lotus except for placing the right foot on top of the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. Again, there is nothing advantageous about the full-lotus over the half-lotus unless it affords you more stability and comfort.
From this stable base, keep your back straight but not stiff, not leaning forward or back. Align your ears with your shoulders and your nose with your navel. Place your left hand on top of your right palm with the thumbs tips lightly touching forming an approximate egg-shape with the thumbs and forefingers. Again, there is nothing magical or mystical about this hand placement. When done consistently it leads to quicker relaxation and lessens physical distraction.
An alternative to sitting on a zafu is to use a low bench called a seiza in a sitting-kneeling position usually over a blanket or zabuton.
If sitting on the floor proves too uncomfortable, it is acceptable to sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, your back straight but not stiff, ears aligned with your shoulders and nose aligned with your navel. Lying down is the least effective regular meditation posture as it will usually lead to drowsiness. If lying on your back is the only choice due to injury or illness, make the best of it and avoid drowsiness. If drowsiness ensues, stop meditation and begin again when refreshed.
How To Begin a Jhana Meditation Practice
Jhana Meditation is a simple technique with profound and transformative results. It is a technique that anyone can integrate into their lives. Jhana meditation only requires being mindful of the pure sensation of the breath in the body.
It is in its simplicity that Jhana meditation will focus a distracted mind and end the feedback loop of self-referential views. Within the framework of the Eightfold Path, Jhana meditation will develop the introspective insight necessary to abandon confused and discursive thinking.
Developing trance-like states, mindless chanting, distracting imagery or visualizations is not the purpose of meditation.
The purpose of Jhana meditation is to develop gentle and unwavering concentration. From a well-concentrated mind introspective insight into the arising and passing away of all objects, events, views, and ideas will develop. Distracting thoughts originating in clinging, craving, desire, and aversion, will fall away.
The initial difficulty for many beginning meditators is boredom. Boredom is the conditioned need for continual distraction. As the practical benefits of meditation develop, joyful enthusiasm overcomes boredom.
Maintaining mindfulness of the breath brings a gentle focus to meditation, developing concentration. Chasing mystical experiences or ego-driven “insights” is avoided.
Initially, short periods of meditation are effective in establishing a meditation practice. Long meditation sessions will often further condition thinking rooted in ignorance. Unrealistic methods and expectations will often develop without the guidance of the Eightfold Path.
There is no need to struggle with long periods of meditation. A few minutes of well-intentioned gentle practice is enough to begin to incline the mind towards Jhana.
Deepening concentration is the “goal” of meditation, not length of time. As gentle concentration deepens, the length of meditation sessions will naturally increase. Using the breath as a point of focus interrupts following one thought immediately with the next. As the mind quiets, concentration increases.
The insight that develops through the Eightfold Path is not a distracting craving-after-insight into all mundane phenomena. A well-concentrated mind supports skillful introspective insight into the clinging relationship between ignorant views of self and impermanent phenomena resulting in stress and suffering. Skillful insight may occur during Jhana meditation. The Satipatthana Sutta shows that skillful insight more commonly occurs outside of formal meditation through mindfulness of the Eightfold Path supported by the concentration developed during meditation.
Rather than an aspect of direct inquiry into ordinary phenomena during Jhana meditation, skillful introspective insight is more a product of a quiet and well-concentrated mind framed by the entire Eightfold Path being mindful of the path moment-by-moment as life unfolds.
As seen in the Yuganaddha Sutta, developing tranquility and insight in tandem is for “developing the Eightfold Path so that the shackles of self-referential views are abandoned and self-obsessions destroyed.”
The Buddha taught that what is held in mind determines experience. This is why quieting the mind and gaining insight into the nature of stress and clinging is so effective in developing awakening.
The purpose of the Buddha’s teachings is to recognize and abandon craving and clinging rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths. It is craving and clinging rooted in ignorance that creates the feedback loop described in the Nagara Sutta.
Skillful introspective insight into the Three Marks Of Existence and craving and clinging develops the refined mindfulness necessary to recognize and abandon all wrong views. Within the framework of the Eightfold Path, Right view develops as wrong views are recognized and abandoned.
Jhana meditation returns the mind to a tranquil state not subject to reaction caused by conditioned thinking. Conditioned thinking causes continued wrong view which causes continued unskillful reaction. This reaction creates further conditioned thinking. This is another way of describing the feedback loop the Buddha describes in the Nagara Sutta. The insight developed into this process makes it possible to interrupt the cycle of discursive thinking.
This simple technique avoids the distraction common in modern hybrid mediation methods of compulsively analyzing impermanent mental objects. This would only continue ignorant views. The Buddha describes these views and what these views support as "like foam on the water."
It is foolish and unskillful to use meditation to further ignorance in this manner. Simply recognize distraction and return mindfulness to the breath. No further analysis of reactive thoughts or feelings is necessary or effective in interrupting this feedback loop.
Analysis of conditioned thinking during meditation will only strengthen conditioned thinking. What is held in mind will determine experience. A meditation practice alone, without the guidance and framework of the Eightfold Path, will strengthen conditioned thinking while substituting more "acceptable" but still ignorant views. This again is another example of being stuck in a feedback loop of self-referential views.
Having the intention to engage in a meditation practice to fix a broken or flawed self is not skillful use of meditation. Using meditation to realize a hidden Buddha-Nature is not skillful use of meditation. Using meditation to seek pleasant mind states or mystical experiences is not skillful use of meditation. Using meditation in this way will create more self-referential conditioned thinking.  Vipassana - Introspective Insight
One can spend eternity in these distracting pursuits. Concentration supports the refined mindfulness necessary for recognizing and abandoning all wrong views. Concentration supports the refined mindfulness necessary for integrating the Eightfold Path as the framework for developing profound Right View
Jhana meditation will develop a non-distracted quality of mind. This brings the ability to recognize and abandon all conditioned mind states. Ineffective “meditation” practices are abandoned. As stated in the introduction, the Buddha practiced and mastered the most “advanced” meditation techniques of his time - still practiced today - and rejected them as “not leading to the goal” and “not supporting unbinding.”
The Buddha likened establishing a meditation practice to taming a wild elephant. In order for a young elephant to be useful, it must be able to focus and follow direction. To tame a young elephant, a strong rope would be tied around the elephant's neck and to a strong post or tree. The elephant would immediately begin thrashing around, flapping its ears, stomping the ground, and making loud grunts and bellows, very unhappy to not be able to wander around, aimlessly engaging in any distraction that arose.
The more resistant the young elephant became, the stronger the rope held. Eventually, the elephant would put aside its desire for continual distraction and sensual fulfillment and it would settle down.
In this metaphor, an untrained mind is the young elephant, the rope is mindfulness of the breath, and the strong post or tree is the breath.
As one begins to establish a meditation practice, the mind is often thrashing about, resistant to settling down. Thoughts insist on wandering aimlessly with strong desire to continue distraction by following one thought with another, continually describing their own self-created reality.
As mindful awareness of the breath develops the mind calms and concentration deepens. By utilizing the simple technique of Jhana meditation it becomes possible to quiet a constantly distracted mind. With sustained gentle practice guided by the Eightfold Path, clinging, compulsive thinking settles down.
Returning to the metaphor, once the elephant has learned to remain mindful of the post, the rope is loosened and the elephant is finally free. Once tranquility and concentration deepens, the need to describe reality based on desirous thoughts driven by attachment and aversion is interrupted, and useful and skillful insight arises.
As concentration increases, integrating The Eightfold Path begins to clear "fetters" or "hindrances." Fetters are agitated mind states which can make quieting the mind much more difficult if not impossible. As practical insight into Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, and Right Mindfulness develops, fetters subside and Right Meditation becomes increasingly more effective.
In this way it is quickly seen that Jhana meditation is one aspect of a complete path that develops profound wisdom, pure virtue, and unwavering concentration necessary for ending ignorance and for Becoming Buddha.
Jhana Meditation: A Simple Technique With Profund Benefits
- Remind yourself that now is the time for meditation. Now is the time to place mindfulness on the breath-in-the-body and do Jhana
- Take a few slow, deep breaths, exhaling fully.
- Breathing through your nose, notice your breath entering and exiting your body. Be mindful of both your inhalation and your exhalation, your breath arising and passing away.
- This is a direct experience of the impermanence of all phenomena. Do not attempt to regulate your breathing in any way. However your body wants to breathe, place your mindfulness on the pure sensation of breathing.
- Notice that feelings and thoughts arise and pass away. Return your awareness to your breath.
- As feelings and thoughts continue to arise and pass away return your awareness to your breath.
- Gently put distractions aside, not following one thought with another thought, and place your mindful awareness on your breathing.
- Gently put distractions aside, not following one thought with another thought, and place your mindful awareness on your breathing.
- This is being mindful of the breath, holding in mind your breath in your body.
- This begins to establish the process of deepening concentration and unifying mind and body.
Jhana Meditation Verbiage
- Find your relaxed meditation posture.
- Sitting erect, gently close your eyes, gently close your mouth.
- Remind Yourself "Now is the time to meditate."
- Now is the time to set mindfulness on the breath-in-the-body and do Jhana.
- Holding yourself softly, gently, lovingly.
- Allow yourself to settle into your room, settle onto your seat, settle into your body, and settle into your mind.
- Notice the sensation of breathing in your body.
- Become mindful of your inhalation and your exhalation, your in-breath, and your out-breath.
- While remaining mindful of your in-breath and your out-breath, notice that feelings and thoughts arise and pass away.
- We are sensitive and conscious beings. The purpose of Jhana meditation is to increase concentration by not being distracted by the arising and passing away of feelings and thoughts.
- Notice the arising and the passing away of your breath in your body.
- When you find that you are distracted by feelings or thoughts gently acknowledge the distraction and return mindfulness to your breathing.
- Relaxing your thoughts, remaining mindful of the arising and the passing away of your breath in your body.
- We will continue to meditate for ??? minutes, with call-backs every 5 minutes.
- Noticing the arising and passing away of feelings and thoughts while remaining mindful of the arising and passing away of your breath in your body.
Final Five-Minute CallBack:
- Noticing the arising and passing away of feelings and thoughts while remaining mindful of the arising and passing away of your breath in your body.
- And we’ll continue to meditate for five more minutes.
- Notice the quality of your mind. Be at peace with your mind.
- When you are ready, you can gently open your eyes.
This is Jhana practice – being mindful of the breath in the body while thoughts and feelings flow without notice or distraction. Remember that a trance-like state or the forced elimination of all thoughts is not a goal of meditation. We are conscious beings – thoughts and feelings should be flowing. The purpose of meditation is to increase concentration and not be distracted by thoughts and feelings. When you find that you are distracted by your thoughts and feelings, return mindfulness to the sensation of breathing-in-your-body.
As thought constructs or physical feelings arise, dispassionately remain mindful of them for a few moments. Acknowledge the thought or feeling as impermanent and return your mindfulness to your breathing.
You are developing concentration and spaciousness between thoughts. By experiencing your feelings and thoughts while remaining tranquil, you are directly interrupting conditioned reactions and conditioned thinking. By remaining tranquil as feelings and thoughts arise and pass away, you are training your mind to accept the people and events, including yourself, as they are. Dispassionate acceptance of feelings and thoughts as they arise and pass away interrupts conditioned thinking.
It is the reaction caused by conditioned thinking that creates perception of any event. Understanding now reveals the means for freedom and liberation from suffering. Let everything that arises go and return your mindfulness to the pure sensation of breathing-in-your-body..
As Jhana meditation practice develops, the insight and spaciousness realized in sitting practice will become more and more apparent in your life off of your cushion. You will find that you are more peaceful and less reactive. You will find you are more present and mindful of who you are in the present moment. You will find ever-deepening concentration.
Remember that you are not seeking a trance-like or blank mental state. Concentration cannot increase in a trance. Jhana meditation interrupts compulsively following one thought with another thought by being mindful of the sensation of breathing in our body.
If unpleasant thoughts arise, put them aside and return to the sensation of breathing in your body. If pleasant thoughts arise, put them aside and return to the sensation of breathing in your body. If visions arise, pleasant or unpleasant, grand or mundane, dispassionately put them aside and return to the sensation of breathing in your body.
Whatever arises during meditation practice is simply part of what is to be recognized as impermanent and insubstantial and are to be put aside while returning mindfulness to your breathing-in-your-body.
Jhana Meditation Foundation and Provenance
Jhana means concentration or non-distraction. Jhana is the word the Buddha used to describe the purpose and scope of meditation. When directing followers to meditate he would consistently say: “Find the root of a tree or an empty hut (establish physical seclusion) and do Jhana.”
Jhana refers to the single purpose of meditation – to develop profound concentration that can support the refined mindfulness necessary to integrate and develop the entire Eightfold Path. (Reference Yuganaddha Sutta and many others.)
Rather than encourage an unstructured hybrid meditation method, in the context of the Buddha’s Dhamma Jhana meditation supports true and useful vipassana. Vipassana refers to developing the very specific introspective insight into Three Marks Of Existence – Anicca, Anatta, and Dukkha. Here is an article on the meaning of vipassana in the context of the Buddha’s Dhamma:
Here is a link to our Vipassana Structured Study
As concentration increases the mind naturally calms providing the internal environment for true and useful introspective insight.
Here are Dhamma articles on Jhana: Right Meditation
Two thousand six hundred years ago a human being known as Siddartha Gotama became, in his words, “rightly self-awakened.” He was thirty-five at the time of his awakening. He would spend the next forty-five years of his life teaching all that were interested how they could do the same.  The Noble Search For The Noble Path
Siddartha awakened to the profound understanding that it is ignorance of Four Noble Truths that leads to all manner of confusion, deluded thinking, and ongoing disappointing and unsatisfactory experiences.  Nagara Sutta - The Buddha Describes His Awakening
What Siddartha discovered is a simple truth: Ignorance of Four Noble Truths is the originating condition that confusion, deluded thinking, and ongoing stress and suffering are dependent on. [3,4] Dependent Origination - The Paticca Samuppada Sutta | Four Noble Truths - The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
Now a Buddha, he taught Jhana meditation as one factor of a complete path to becoming rightly self-awakened. The path the Buddha taught is known as the Eightfold Path. [5,6] Right Meditation - Samadhi - Jhanas | Eightfold Path - The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta
It is through the Eightfold Path that one is able to develop skillful vipassana - introspective insight into Three Marks Of Existence.  Vipassana - Skillful Insight
Jhana means concentration or a non-distracted quality of mind. Jhana meditation is the only mediation method taught by the Buddha. He taught this singular mediation method for a singular purpose - to deepen concentration. The Buddha understood that a mind rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths will fabricate subtle but powerful strategies to compulsively continue to ignore ignorance. The Buddha understood that only deep and penetrative concentration could provide the skillful focus to support the refined mindfulness necessary to integrate the Eightfold Path as the framework for an authentic and effective Dhamma practice.
It is by integrating the Eightfold Path that the concentration developed in Jhana meditation can be applied in a focused and skillful manner to recognize and abandon all manner of ignorance.
The instructions below provide the guidance for establishing an effective meditation practice as the Buddha instructed. The foundation for Jhana meditation is established in the beginning section of the Satipatthana Sutta, the primary sutta on Four Foundations Of Mindfulness.  Satipatthana Sutta - Four Foundations of Mindfulness
When directing those in the original sangha to meditate, the Buddha would say “Go find the root of a tree or an empty hut and do Jhana.” This was simple instruction to find a quiet and secluded place for meditation. Jhana is a word from the Pail language that means meditative absorption or concentration. This statement is clear and simple guidance on establishing the proper environment for Jhana meditation and the proper purpose - to develop ever-deepening levels of Jhana.
It is most effective for beginning meditators to start with short meditation sessions and gradually extend the meditation sessions. There is nothing to gain from uncomfortably long meditation sessions as the purpose of meditation is to deepen concentration. What is most important is consistency and the right method. Short periods of meditation practiced consistently within the framework of the Eightfold Path will bring a calm and peaceful mind.
Long meditation sessions engaged in only occasionally and without the proper framework will have little ongoing usefulness and can often continue conditioned views rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths.
Incorporating Metta Intentional Meditation into a meditation practice can help end distracting negative thoughts towards oneself or others or towards worldly conditions.
The importance of developing Jhana as the focus of meditation is taught in many suttas including the Kimsuka Sutta and the Yuganaddha Sutta. [9,10] Kimsuka Sutta - A Swift Pair Of Messengers | Yuganaddha Sutta
The Buddha taught the Four Foundations of Mindfulness to stabilize the mind by avoiding ordinary distractions. In this sutta, the Buddha further teaches how to apply the refined mindfulness that is supported by the concentration developed in Jhana meditation.
In the Anapanasati Sutta, the Buddha uses the example of senior monks to describe how meditation is practiced, applied to the overall Dhamma, and experienced by those with understanding of the Heartwood of the Dhamma - the Eightfold Path.  Anapanasati Sutta
Meditation is best practiced with a Sangha well-focused on the Buddha’s teachings. If you are not in the Hunterdon County, New Jersey or Bucks County, Pennsylvania area, or you do not have a well-focused Sangha in your area, you can join my classes and our Sangha online Streamed Live.
If you are new to meditation or the direct teachings of the Buddha, you may find benefit from the page for New Visitors.
Here are additional articles and talks on meditation: Meditation Article and Talks
A comprehensive presentation of the Buddha’s teachings is available in my book Becoming Buddha - Becoming Awakened.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Above all, be gentle with yourself and enjoy the Buddha’s Dhamma!
Establishing a Jhana Meditation Practice
The second and sixth factors of The Eightfold Path, Right Intention and Right Effort, greatly support meditation practice. The strong resolve of Right Intention is to recognize and abandon craving and clinging. Being mindful of Right Effort will provide the framework needed to develop and maintain a meditation practice.
Perhaps the most difficult challenge when beginning a meditation practice, and often as practice develops, is organizing life for practice. The busy-ness and nearly constant distractions of life are always creating the illusion that we are just too busy to practice. The irony is that we often find that we have more time for the most important aspects of our lives when we do make the time for meditation practice.
Being mindful of Right Intention and Right Effort, make a commitment to practice. Put aside set times, preferably twice a day, for meditation practice. It is most skillful to sit as soon as possible after waking before becoming distracted or sidetracked by a daily routine. Simply doing this begins to diminish conditioned mind’s desire to avoid quieting down.
Right Effort is keeping in fit physical, mental and spiritual condition as well. Getting enough rest, eating healthy, and physical exercise are all a part of Right Effort.
Any exercise is a support for meditation practice. Walking "meditation" is a very skillful way to combine exercise and meditation. Walking "meditation" is not a substitute for sitting meditation.
Nothing will bring the mind to a state of quiet receptivity necessary for insight to arise as will an effective sitting practice.
When doing walking “meditation,” walk slowly with hands folded in front of your abdomen or behind you. Avoid extremely slow walking - this is a modern form of asceticism. Maintain mindfulness of your breath and your walking, being aware of each step as your foot touches the earth. Please note that walking “meditation” is not useful as a concentration practice and is best seen as pleasant mindful walking. There is no substitution for sitting quietly twice a day while engaging in Jhana.
Qigong is a very effective exercise that combines slow movements and mindful breath awareness. Qigong increases peaceful energy and builds flexibility, strength and well being. Some forms of yoga (asanas) can also build flexibility, strength and overall well-being though the underlying philosophy often contradicts the Buddha's teachings.
Once a decision to begin a meditation practice has been made, organizing Ife for practice is the first step in establishing an ongoing practice. Committing to meditation twice a day and, within reason, keeping to this schedule is itself part of practice. The most skillful time to practice is when aversion to sitting arises. Meditating, when aversion to meditation arises, diminishes the effects of conditioned thinking, including the conditioned thinking of aversion to practice.
As stated previously, meditating upon arising in the morning is usually the most effective time to schedule a first sitting session. If possible, meditating approximately 12 hours later in the day will provide a skillful balance to practice. If the only other time for practice is just before bed, be mindful of drowsiness. If it is at times difficult to maintain alertness, try to adjust your schedule to earlier in the day.
If it is possible to set aside a room solely for meditation, keep the room clean and clutter free. The room should also be well ventilated and seasonally not too hot or cold. A candle to light during meditation and perhaps a small statue of the Buddha as a mindful reminder of awakening can be an initial point of focus, but are not necessary. If it is not possible to designate an entire room to your practice, a corner of a room that can be maintained as above will work just as well.
Developing a routine of place, time, posture and technique will greatly enhance commitment to practice and help subdue conditioned mind’s desire to avoid the peaceful refuge of practice.
It is best to begin a meditation practice with just a few minutes of sitting at a time. By initially sitting for two or three minutes at a time you will not become disappointed or conclude that meditation is too difficult. As you become comfortable with two or three minutes of practice, gradually add a minute or two to your meditation time. Stay at this length of meditation practice until you are comfortable and feel it is time to lengthen your meditation practice again.
It is most skillful not to push yourself too hard and too fast, and also not to avoid increasing your practice time when appropriate. If you have a teacher or someone who has some experience in establishing a meditation practice, seek their counsel as well.
Establishing a mediation practice will be much more effective if done daily for short periods of time rather than long periods of meditation only occasionally.
Meditation practice is not an endurance test and should not create more stress by having too high expectations of your self and your practice. The strongest impediment to establishing a meditation practice will prove to be your own judgments of your practice.
Joining a regular meditation group that stays focused within the framework of The Eightfold Path is a great support to meditation practice.
If you are following the instructions, putting aside thoughts as they arise, not following a thought with a thought as best as you can, and returning your awareness to the sensation of breathing in your body, you are establishing a meditation practice.
Avoid judging yourself or your practice harshly. Always be loving and gentle with yourself and others and enjoy your practice.
- The Noble Search For The Noble Path
- Nagara Sutta - The Buddha Describes His Awakening
- Dependent Origination - The Paticca Samuppada Sutta
- Four Noble Truths - The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta
- Right Meditation - Samadhi - Jhanas
- Eightfold Path - The Magga-Vibhanga Sutta
- Vipassana - Skillful Insight
- Satipatthana Sutta - Four Foundations of Mindfulness
- Kimsuka Sutta - A Swift Pair Of Messengers
- Yuganaddha Sutta
- Anapanasati Sutta
- Three Marks Of Existence - Anicca, Anatta, Dukkha
Karaniya Metta Sutta
Samyutta Nikaya 1.8
The Karaniya Metta Sutta is the Buddha's words on Good Will and Loving-kindness. This describes both the moral and ethical aspirations of one engaged with the Buddha's Dhamma and the refined mindfulness developed through the Eightfold Path and the qualities of an awakened, fully mature human being.
Note the concluding stanza: "Having completed The Path, They are not born again into this world."
This means that Metta, true goodwill and loving-kindness, is an expression of one who has developed the Buddha's teachings and has freed themselves of the world's entanglements. Having recognized and abandoned the defilements of greed, aversion, and deluded thinking, through the framework of the Eightfold Path, there is nothing to give rise to a confused and deluded ego-personality.
In accordance with the Buddha's description of emptiness, one has emptied themselves of clinging and emptied the world of their ego-self. There is nothing clinging to the phenomenal world, anatta is no longer born again in the world.
The Karaniya Metta sutta shows that the most loving and compassionate action that anyone can take is to engage wholeheartedly with the direct teachings of the Buddha and awaken.
The Karaniya Metta Sutta
This is what is done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
They are able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
They remain unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
They are peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud or demanding in nature.
They do not do the slightest thing
that the wise would later reprove.
They ate always mindful that all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small.
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born.
They are always mindful to not deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
They abandon anger and ill-will with ease,
Never wishing harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
The Wise Disciple cherishes all living beings.
They radiate kindness over the entire world,
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
free from drowsiness,
They maintain refined mindfulness.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
They abandon ignorance of Four Noble Truths.
Having completed The Path,
They are not born again into this world.
BBCRMC Calendar/Schedule | Directions | Live-Stream
CROSS RIVER MEDITATION CENTER
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Dhamma Class Schedule
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Tuesday 7:15 PM In-Person and Live-Streamed
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We Live-Stream Our Dhamma Classes as a convenience for those who are unable to join us in-person.
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We look forward to sharing the Buddha's restored Dhamma with you. Peace.
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Cross River Meditation Center
207 Harrison Street, Frenchtown, New Jersey
John's 2023 New Years Message: Ending The Three Defilements
I want to wish you all a Happy, Calm, and Peaceful New Year, free of conflict internally and externally. I have linked relevant suttas for further study and understanding: [x]
As our Sangha begins a new year, an auspicious year, let us reflect on how fortunate we are to have a direct path that anyone can walk that develops a profound understanding of ever-changing worldly events and our individual relationship with ourself and the world we live in and the people we live with. 
As a Sangha focused only on what the Buddha taught, free of the distractions from fabrications and embellishments that have corrupted Siddartha Gotama’s gentle and effective path of liberation from all -self-inflicted stress and suffering known here as Dukkha. This truly awakened human being’s Dhamma remains as relevant and effective today in recognizing and abandoning the debilitating effects of ignorance of Four Noble Truths. As we have seen in our own Dhamma practice, the Three Defilements of Greed, Aversion, and continuing Deluded Consciousness are skillfully and directly recognized and abandoned. 
We have found that by ending conflict in our minds, we no longer contribute to conflict in our family, friends, and neighbors and so to all human beings.
The skillful disciple of the Dhamma learns it is entanglements with an ever-changing world that is a defining characteristic of a well-informed and well-practiced Buddha’s Dhamma. 
The Buddha teaches us that hatred or aversion against anyone, any tribe, or any ideology creates conflict in the thinker of such thoughts that antagonize the thinker and can only antagonize and contribute to the stress and suffering already abundant in the world. 
This application, or attaching harsh and hate-filled (aversion) behaviors to other individuals or other tribes, can easily be seen by one who has Integrated Right View and the other seven factors of the Eightfold Path simply as adding to the conflict already present.
As Wise Dhamma Practitioners, our focus is on recognizing and abandoning precisely this internal conflict and free our mind for the development of peace and calm, the Buddha’s description of the quality of an awakened, fully mature mind. 
Siddartha Gotama, our Teacher, revealed his awakened view of the world he lived in:
“The world is aflame. Rooted in ignorance, (of Four Noble Truths) the world is afflicted by sensory contact and perceives suffering as ‘self.’ Rooted in ignorance, it misunderstands ‘self’ and becomes anything other than ‘self.’
“Becoming anything other than self, the world clings to becoming, (further ignorant) is afflicted by becoming, and yet delights in that very becoming. Where there is delight there is fear. Where there is fear, there is stress.” 
This is conceit or I-making.
Individually and often collectively, the arbitrary tribes we form and join conveniently obscures individual ignorance now validated by hurtful, unskillful, and un-wise associations. Many condition themselves towards fear of the world and fear of the people in this world. Once this antagonistic view has been established and developed (through ignorance) these then delight in conflict and delight in others who agree to continue conflict.
All of this is known by the Wise Dhamma practitioners as both sides of the same coin of Greed and Aversion. We can see how maintaining individual conflict by clinging to wrong views harms the individual and often contributes to the conflicts carried by tribes associated.
We have found that as our individual minds develop persistent quiet and calm; we abandon all behavior, indeed all thoughts that stand in opposition to anyone and any ideology.
We learn that self-righteousness and ensuing antagonistic views is the essence of conceit or I-making, of taking the people and events of our lives personally. This type of harmful thinking and resulting conflict-inducing behavior is always evolving with ever-changing salvific rhetoric. 
But the same cause of conflict in the world and the pe3ople of the world persists: Ignorance of Four Noble Truths. Here, the Wise Dhamma Practitioner recognizes the Three Defilements present and directly and mindfully abandons them. 
We find that greed, aversion, and delusion are the three common human characteristics (defilements) that contribute to the ills of the world we all live in.
We find that tribal beliefs or societal systems are only the coalescing of individual ideologies now strengthened by tribal clinging. This tribal clinging can often become an echo-chamber where one chooses to only promote one ideology while dismissing and/or denigrating another(s) i.e.: “My/Our collective view must be RIGHT since we all agree that (our ideology) is RIGHT so others must be wrong.“
In the Dhamma, we refer to this type of conflicted consciousness as “The prison of two ideas.” Those of us that have been so self-imprisoned know directly the true liberation from ignorance that develops from the cessation of ALL Greed, Aversion, and Deluded Consciousness.
We learn that no matter how egregious the behavior of others might be, by deciding to introduce antagonism and increasing conflict can only further isolate oneself and those one might desire to change. as we have seen throughout human history, this thinking and resulting behavior brings great division and further conflict. This is true in encounters with individuals and with encounters with societal systems and tribal views.
We learn that ignorance of Four Noble Truths leads to internal AND external conflicts. We learn to become sovereign or independent in our own minds. Neither craving for conflict nor clinging to conflicting thoughts, words, and ideologies, the Wise Dhamma Practitioner maintains a mind of calm, a conflict-free mind neither opposing nor promoting conflict in others. Conflict can only increase fear and increase delight in associations, including associating with ideologies, that obscure ignorance through collective rhetoric.
Almost all human beings desire freedom and peace. It is ignorance of Four Noble Truths that one becomes prone to fear and desire, or aversion and greed. Lacking understanding of the true nature of Dukkha in the people and events of the world, distracting reactions arise, and desire and fear ensues. “Where there is desire there is fear, where there is fear there is desire”
Reacting to fear only encourages desire, while reacting to desire only leads to fear. Franklin Roosevelt toured the Dhamma when he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”
The Wise Dhamma Practitioner understands the condition that gives rise to Greed and Aversion, Desire and Fear, and has the courage AND conviction necessary to pursue and develop a conflict-free mind through Jhana Meditation and by integrating the Eightfold Path in all areas of one’s moment-by-moment life.
As Wise Dhamma Practitioners, we learn a simple truth: The most loving and compassionate act any human being can undertake is to develop understanding of Four Noble Truths to end conflict in the mind and so cease contributing to conflict in others. 
2023 is another auspicious opportunity to further our understating of Four Noble Truths or to re-engage with a gentle and profound Dhamma that brings profound understandings of what it means to be an individual human being, a sovereign six-propertied human being free of conflict and entanglements with the people and events of the world we live in. 
We concluded 2022 with two suttas that are relevant. This past Tuesday Jen presented an excellent class on the Vatthupama Sutta () that taught the importance of a pure nad conflict-free mind. Yesterday’s class on the Nidan Sutta () taught the importance of recognizing and abandoning Greed, Aversion, and Deluded Consciousness in order to awaken, to develop full human maturity and a mind resting quietly in calm.
This can be seen clearly as an awakened, fully mature human being would not lose their minds to fear and desire by railing against the arising and passing away of Dukkha. The Wise Dhamma Practitioner has developed a profound understanding of the First Noble Truth: As a consequence of having a human life, there will be Dukla. The wise Dhamma practitioner takes on no Dukkha as their own. The Wise Dhamma Practitioner remains, at all times, a six-propertied person free of conflict in their mind. 
We begin the new year as we finished the past year with daily and weekly dhamma practice and participation in our well-informed and weel-focused Sangha. Here you will find an always-welcoming Sangha whose focus is solely on liberation from ignorance of Four Noble Truths. Please join us, or re-join us and develop a truly auspicious year for your self!
A structured study of Right View and The Personal experience of Dukkha, the Five Clinging-Aggregates, begins on January 3, followed by our yearly Structured Study based on my book The Truth Of Happiness, beginning January 28.
WE will have two hybrid retreats based at our center in Frenchtown and live-streamed for those over two hours from our center. Our Spring Retreat begins March 10 and ends on March 12. Our Fall Retreat begins on October 20 and concludes October 22.
Our yearly residential retreat at Won Dharma Center begins Wednesday, July 28 and concludes on Jul 3. I will open reservations in a few weeks for our retreats. If you would like to be notified of our classes and retreats, please subscribe to our newsletter.
These are all listed on our calendar.
Relevant Suttas for further study:
 An Auspicious Handful of Leaves
 Nidana Sutta – Ending the Defilements
 Four Noble Truths (Compilation)
 Dukkha Sutta – The Personal Experience of Suffering
 Vatthupama Sutta – Of Stained and Pure Cloth
 Loka Sutta – A World Aflame
 Magga-Vibhanga Sutta – Analysis of The Eightfold Path
 Dhatu -Vibhanga Sutta – Nothing (is) Personal, A Buddha’s Analysis of A Six-Propertied Person
Common Misunderstandings Continued in Modern Buddhism
Jen Teaches: Reconciling The Dhamma With Other Practices
Authentic Dhamma – Fabricated Dharmas
Acting To Awaken – Karma Sutta
Shunyata – Emptiness – Three Suttas
Timeless Wisdom – Three Suttas
The Non-Dual Myth – Interdependence – Interconnectedness – Inte-being
Dependent Origination Flow-Chart
BBCRMC Dhamma Class Podcast & Audio/Video Archive
CROSS RIVER MEDITATION CENTER
AUDIO / VIDEO RECORDINGS ARCHIVE
↓ 800+ Audio Recordings ↓
↓ 600+ Video Recordings ↓
Becoming Buddha Cross Rive Meditation Center Video Archive
Siddartha Gotama And His Dhamma: Practical and Effective Right View
Essays and Commentary on the Buddha’s Dhamma, Modern Dharmas, and a World Aflame
↓ Skip Introduction if previously read ↓
These are essays and commentary on the timelessness of the Buddha’s Dhamma and the appropriate application of this Dhamma amidst the fabrications, contradictions, and distortions of modern Buddhism, New-Age philosophies, and ever-changing and often chaotic worldly events.
The necessity of clearly describing and understanding the contradictions between what an awakened human being actually taught and the adaptations, accommodations, and embellishments attached to a Buddha’s pure Dhamma is the central theme for teachers and practitioners of his Dhamma.
Recognizing and abandoning the compulsion for following fabricated views of self in relation to the people and events of life is the true vipassana or true and useful introspective insight into Three Marks Of Existence. It is the fabricated relationship between wrong views of self and the people and events of ordinary human life that is to be recognized and abandoned as Wise DShamma Practitioners. For most of human history, the establishment of non-physical, non-human realms as the resolution for the confusion and suffering internet in human life has been the primary strategy minds rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths cling to maintain ignorance.
Siddartha Gotama awakened to the profound understanding that it is individual and institutionalized views of self and the people and events of the world are rooted in ignorance of Four Noble Truths. He described the results of human ignorance in the Loka Sutta as ” a world aflame with the fires of passion (for continued self-establishment).”
Awakening or developing full human maturity by recognizing and abandoning all foolish and immature views rooted in this specific ignorance while developing a profound understanding of Four Noble Truths is the sole purpose of a Buddha’s Dhamma. Any religious, spiritual, or philosophical belief that resolves in a speculative, magical, and non-human self-existence is contrary to what the Buddha taught.
It is through clinging to these fabricated views that continue this specific ignorance. Powerful and subtle strategies are continually fabricated and established as “spiritual practcie.” Now, this “practcie” itself becomes the distortion from understanding these Four Noble Truths. This is practicing ignorance. This practice continues to perfectly entrench one in fabricated wrong views of self.
It should not surprise or distress the well-informed Dhamma practitioner that it is individually held and collectively-supported fabricated views that is at the root of stress and suffering.
Siddhartha Gotama awakened to the profound understanding that it is ignorance of Four Noble truths that results in all manner of confusion, greed, aversion, and ongoing deluded thinking. This manifestation of ignorance in the world is known as Dukkha, or stress and suffering. Recognizing and abandoning the individual fabricated views resulting in Dukkha is the Dhamma.
Fabricated views used to legitimize religions, Buddhist “lineages,” and spiritual or philosophical concepts are as common and widespread now as they were during the Buddha’s time, perhaps even more so.
Developing the Buddha’s Dhamma as originally presented abandons all magical views and establishes an awakened human being in this present life.
For a complete understanding of what the Buddha actually taught, please read “Foundations Of The Buddha’s Dhamma” further below.
- A Prince Becomes Buddha
- The Authenticity Of The Sutta Pitaka, The Second Book Of The Pali Canon
- Modern Buddhism – A Common Thicket Of Fabricated Views
- Dependent Origination and the Non0Dual Myth
- Dependent Origination and Conditioned Mind
- Salvation-Free Buddhism
- Emerging From Lockdown – Freedom, and Safety Of The Middle Way
- Abandon All Violence – The Dandavagga
- Online Forum Comments – Dhamma and Modern Buddhis Practice
Foundations Of The Buddha's Dhamma
The suttas and commentary linked below are fundamental and foundational to developing a skillful understanding of what the Buddha actually taught.
An Auspicious Handful of Leaves – Two Defining Suttas
Jhana Meditation – The Buddha’s Meditation Structured Study
Nothing Personal – A Buddha’s Analysis Of Self
Anatta Lakkhana Sutta – The Not-Self Characteristic
The Buddha’s Noble Search For The Noble Path
Nagara Sutta – The Buddha Describes His Awakening
The Meaning Of Becoming – What Is Awakening – Three Suttas
Karma, rebirth, and Intentional Becoming Structured Study
Paticcasamuppada Sutta – Dependent Origination – Ignorance of Four Noble Truths
Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta – Four Noble Truths – Context For Dhamma Practice
Sacca Vibhanga Sutta – Analysis Of Four Noble Truths
Magga-Vibhanga Sutta – Analysis of The Eightfold Path
Satipatthana Sutta – Four Foundations of Mindfulness
Athangara Sutta – The Single Quality For Awakening
Anapanasati Sutta – Properly Integrated Dhamma Practice
Vipassana – Introspective Insight – A Structured Study
Becoming Buddha CRMC Structered Studies
↓ Skip To Studies If Previously Read ↓
Linked below are five Structured Studies developing deep and profound understanding of key themes of the Buddha’s Dhamma. Providing a structure to developing the Dhamma avoids the grasping-after all things loosely-labeled “Buddhist” of modern Buddhism-By-Common-Agreement prevalent today
The True Vipassana Dhamma Study is focused on the key theme of the Buddha’s Dhamma and the purpose of true Vipassana – skillful introspective insight into The Marks of Human Existence.
The Buddha taught a simple and straightforward method of understanding the truth of lasting peace and happiness. The path leading to lasting peace and happiness is The Eightfold Path. Jhana meditation is one factor of The Eightfold Path.
The Local Knowledge – Uncommon Dhamma Study includes lesser-known suttas revealing the profound though entirely practical depth of an awakened human being’s Dhamma.
The Dhammapada Structured study includes all 26 charters of the Dhammapada restored to its original intent and clear focus.
The Truth of Happiness Dhamma Study provided a comprehensive foundation for authentic Dhamma practice.
Becoming Buddha Cross River Meditation Center’s
Structured Dhamma Studies
A Noble Dhamma Practice Structured Study
A skillful introduction and comprehensive explanation of The Noble Practice
with two introductory Suttas and individual Suttas for each of the Four Noble Truths and and the Eightfold Path
Eightfold Path Structured Study
True Vipassana, True Introspective Insight Structured Study
Jhana Meditation – Mind and Body United – The Buddha’s Meditation
Local Knowledge – Uncommon Dhamma Structured Study
Truth Of Happiness Structured Study
Karma, rebirth, and Intentional Becoming Structured Study
Right Meditation - Jhana Meditation
These suttas show the importance of developing Right Meditation as taught by the Buddha. Jhana Meditation is the only meditation method taught by the Buddha. he taught Jhan for one reason: To deepen concentration. It is from a well-concentrated mind that supports the refined mindfulness necessary to hold in mind the Eightfold Path as the framework and ongoing guidance for authentic Dhamma practice.
Right Mindfulness - Refined Mindfulness
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