For New Visitors

And Those New To The Buddha’s Direct Teachings



Greetings Friends,

If you are a new visitor to my website or a practicing “Buddhist” beginning to develop an understanding of the direct teachings of the Buddha, let me tell you what you can find here. The focus of my teaching is on the Buddha’s original teachings as preserved in the Pali Canon.

Much of modern Buddhism presents adaptations and accommodations to the Buddha’s original teachings that are contradictory to these teachings and often lead to confusion. If you have found Buddhist teachings difficult to understand or practically apply and integrate into your life, you will find the Buddha’s direct teachings accessible and entirely practical.

The Pali Canon is a collection of books recounting the direct teachings of the Buddha over the course of his teaching career. An article on the authenticity of the Pali  Canon and how that authenticity has been maintained is here: The Pali Canon. An explanation of how the many modern Buddhist “religions” developed is included in this article.

The Pali Canon is a somewhat difficult read. What does become apparent after careful study is the consistency of the Buddha’s teachings and how every teaching the Buddha ever presented was presented in the context of The Four Noble Truths. When this is held in mind even the more obscure or seemingly difficult to apply teachings become useful and applicable.

The Buddha consistently describes his deeply profound teachings in very simple terms: “I teach the arising of suffering and the cessation of suffering, nothing more.” (See “Paradox and the Dhamma)

Buddhism is often characterized as pessimistic or nihilistic. This view is a wrong view rooted in ignorance. The Buddha taught that by understanding suffering and its origination anyone could abandon self-created confusion, delusion, and suffering and develop a life of lasting peace and happiness. Here is an article that describes my own early difficulties in understanding this and how it became clear that the Buddha was a most compassionate thinker informed by true wisdom: The Buddha Taught Happiness

As far as navigating this site, all Dhamma articles and recorded talks are now available at through the menu titled “Dhamma Articles and Talks by Subject.” The links to categories beginning with “The Buddha” followed by “The Pali Canon” is a skillful place to start. If you want to get to the Buddha’s teachings immediately start with “Dependent Origination” followed by “The Four Noble Truths” and continue through the following categories.

Shamatha-Vipassana meditation is the meditation the Buddha taught as the eighth factor of the Eightfold Path. Practiced within the framework of the Eightfold Path, Shamatha-Vipassana meditation will develop a tranquil and well-concentrated mind and develop the insight necessary to put aside all of the distractions of the modern world. Instructions for beginning a shamatha-vipassana meditation practice and a guided shamatha-vipassana podcast is here: Shamatha-Vipassana Meditation

Shamatha-Vipassana meditation practiced within the guiding framework of the Eightfold Path deepens concentration and supports the refined mindfulness necessary to integrate the Eightfold Path. The Anapanasati Sutta and the Satipatthana Sutta, along with the other supportive sutta’s linked here present the Buddha’s instructions for developing concentration, refined mindfulness, and insight into Anicca, Anatta, and Dukkha: Meditation Articles And Talks.

Metta is a word that means “good will” or “loving-kindness” and incorporating Metta Intentional Meditation can be a great support in putting aside harsh judgments of self and others and assist in calming your mind. Metta can be practiced in addition to shamatha-vipassana. Instructions and a guided Metta meditation is here: Metta Intentional Meditation

Guided Shamatha-Vipassana and Metta meditations are also linked on the top menu.

A ten-week personal study of the Buddha’s path to enlightenment developing wisdom, virtue, deep concentration and refined and effective mindfulness is available in my book The Truth of Happiness. Information on the Truth of Happiness book and online Dhamma study is here: Truth of Happiness Course

Here is a talk that introduces the Buddha’s direct teachings and includes a brief history of the Buddha and sangha discussion: Introduction to the Dhamma

If you are in the Frenchtown, New Jersey area, please join us at one of our weekly classes. Additional information on my weekly classes is here: Weekly Classes

If you would like to deepen your understanding through individual instruction there is additional information on individual instruction in Frenchtown New Jersey here: Individual Instruction

I typically add a new article each week related to that week’s teachings and a recording of the Dhamma talks. You can be notified of our classes, retreats and the posting of new articles and recordings by subscribing to our newsletter.

If you would like to learn more about me and my understanding, here is my biography.

If you find this web site helpful in developing your understanding of the Buddha’s teachings, please consider a donation to help support the cost in time and money to maintain our online sangha.

Finally, if you are new to Dhamma practice or are re-establishing your practice, take your time, be gentle with yourself and your practice. There are difficulties that arise in developing an understanding of the Four Noble Truths and they are all difficulties rooted in impermanence. A group of like-minded meditators, a sangha, well-focused on the Buddha’s original teachings, will prove to be an invaluable support. All conditioned views will eventually fall away from a mind gently focused in the present  guided by the framework of the Eightfold Path.

Please feel free to contact me through the email form with any questions or comments. The email form is also linked on the top menu.

John Haspel

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