One of the important sources of the Buddha’s teachings on perception is the Girimananda Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya, 10:60). These ten perceptions, which I discuss later in detail, are fundamentally a method of meditation.
Actually, the instructions in the Girimananda Sutta ask us to engage in two types of meditation. These two types of meditation have been the subject of my teaching and writing for many years.
Though each of these books presents basic meditation instructions, the subject is so important that I conclude this introduction with a simple way to practice samatha or concentration meditation drawn from the Girimananda Sutta, so that readers can try meditation themselves.
On the spiritual level, meditation on perception can help us make steady progress on the path toward liberation from suffering. Looking ahead, we begin by exploring how perception works and where this faculty fits into the Buddha’s description of reality. Here, a bhikkhu, having gone to the forest, to the foot of a tree, or to an empty hut, sits down.
This selection from Meditation on Perception by Bhante Gunaratana is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Metta is the Buddhist practice of cultivating loving kindness, goodwill, amity, harmony, friendliness, and peace in your own disposition.  Also known as the sublime attitudes, this meditation cultures life supporting qualities. As we continue our meditation practice and our heart opens up to others, the practice of metta naturally becomes easier and much more successful.
Usually listed as 2nd to avoid the cultivation of attachment, which leads to pride, jealousy, and possessiveness.  Family, relatives. Never indeed is hatred stilled by hatred; it will only be stilled by non-hatred — this is an eternal law.
He became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in 1954 and received his Doctor of Philosophy in 1955, from Boston University. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s success with non-violence activism, King visited Mahatma’s Indian birthplace.
I can remember, I can remember when Negroes were just going around as Ralph has said, so often, scratching where they didn’t itch, and laughing when they were not tickled.
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last!
Excerpt from “Where Do We Go From Here,” presented on August 16, 1967, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice.
Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history (Yes), and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home. Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into bright tomorrows of quality integrated education. Let us be dissatisfied until integration is not seen as a problem but as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity. Let us be dissatisfied (All right) until men and women, however black they may be, will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not on the basis of the color of their skin.
Let us be dissatisfied (Well) until every state capitol (Yes) will be housed by a governor who will do justly, who will love mercy, and who will walk humbly with his God. Let us be dissatisfied [applause] until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until that day when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together (Yes), and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid. Let us be dissatisfied (Yes), and men will recognize that out of one blood (Yes) God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others. If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls. The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence. Martin Luther King, Jr., serves as a model and inspiration to all people promoting non-violent resistance to social issues. Although Descartes was originally from France, since he has spent so much time here in the Netherlands (1640 AD) many students and faculty considered him to be Dutch.  But since he still liked to be addressed as Monsieur, he appearently did retain and cherish his French heritage. When mindfulness is achieved a person is capable of watching what is happening with their body, emotions, and mind without reacting. We have learned that “truths” represent laws of nature functioning at various levels of creation.  And different levels have different laws. Dark energy – an unknown substance that is fueling the accelerated expansion of the universe.  At 72% it’s the main constituent of our universe.
Sitting tranquil, immersed in the blossoming of thought, our contemplative practice opens new horizons to view.  Deeper understanding, more subtle meanings, and new insights propel us forward. They leveled off at 8,000 feet.  A jump from this altitude would last somewhat less than a minute, but still very worthwhile. Gayatri is the mother of universe.  Her mantra purifies the mind, destroys pain, sin and ignorance, brings liberation, and bestows health, beauty, strength, vitality, power and intelligence.
The primordial cosmic sound often described as the “Word”, the base and first vibration of creation. The Bija Mantras correspond to a particular god or goddess, and five of them correspond to the first five chakras in the chakra system, with OM corresponding to the sixth chakra. LIGO – the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, run with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and several Universities, at the Hanford Observatory (near Richland, Washington) and the Livingston Observatory (in Livingston Louisiana).
LISA – Laser Interferometer Space Antenna is a proposed NASA and European Space Agency project.

Although pain is the result of unmet expectations and fear binds us to old habits, even a few minutes in the absolute can change our perspective.  In love and in truth we will triumph. A distracted mind is unable to focus on the present moment, making it difficult to enjoy anything fully. Two of the most common mental disorders, anxiety and depression, are characterized by an inability to keep one’s focus on the present.
Excessive ruminating on the past is a common symptom of depression, while looking to the future with dread is the basis of anxiety. Fortunately, basic meditation techniques can help individuals overcome these types of mental problems.
A recent study from a team of Yale University researchers showed that individuals who are practiced at meditation have lower activation levels of a neurological system known as the default mode network.
For the study, the researchers took MRI scans of participants’ brains during states of restfulness and meditation.
The researchers wrote in their report that mind-wandering appears to be the natural mental state for humans. Since meditation techniques are among the most effective strategies for bringing attention back to the present moment, there may be no more powerful tool for affecting happiness. Common pursuits of happiness generally include spending time with family or engaging in fun activities.
It may come as little wonder that so few people in today’s society are truly happy given the fact that so few people have experience meditating on a regular basis.
By providing them with a sharper focus on the present moment, meditation can be a powerful tool to guard against unhealthy states of mind. Explore Meditation aims to provide you with the best quality information and resources to assist you to be the best person that you can be.
As the sutta tells us, once when the Buddha was living at Savatthi, a city of ancient India, the Venerable Girimananda, one of his monks or bhikkhus, was afflicted with a painful disease. The tenth perception, mindfulness of in-breathing and out-breathing, is itself a complete meditation practice.
Perhaps we are more familiar with the first of these types, which the Buddha called samatha or concentration meditation. In this technique, mindfulness is used as a tool to increase our awareness of what is happening right now. We use tranquility meditation to become calm and centered and insight meditation to understand more clearly how we ordinarily perceive our own body and mind as well as the world around us.
In Mindfulness in Plain English, I present a simple, step-by-step guide to mindfulness meditation. Those who need more detailed guidance or help dealing with physical pain, distractions, and other problems might find Mindfulness in Plain English to be a good resource. On the everyday level, cultivating mindfulness can help us overcome disturbing mental attitudes, such as anger, greed, and jealousy, and increase positive and healthy feelings, such as patience, loving kindness, and peace of mind. Then we turn to the Girimananda Sutta and examine in detail the ten perceptions the Buddha asked Ananda to relate to Girimananda. Having folded his legs crosswise, straightened his body, and established mindfulness in front of him, just mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out. Though the Buddha suggested a forest, the foot of a tree, or an empty abode, for us, the place simply needs to be somewhere we can be alone, away from everyday concerns. As the Buddha expressed this guideline, we should set up mindfulness “in front.” We follow this instruction by remembering that the past is gone and the future has not yet arrived.
This instruction does not mean that we should try to control our breathing, forcing ourselves to take long inhalations and exhalations or short ones. Meditation is often called “practice.” This word reminds us that we cannot expect to be expert meditators the first time we try it, or even the second, third, or tenth time. And in that mood he went to see the Blessed One, and having arrived he reviled and abused him in rude and harsh speech. As I listened to Ralph Abernathy in his eloquent and generous introduction and then thought about myself, I wondered who he was talking about. I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating president by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. And also in the human rights revolution, if something isn’t done, and in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed.
We aren’t engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.
This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.
Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. The contemplation of impermanence (annicca-nupassana); abandons the perception of permanence. The contemplation of destruction (khaya-nupassana): abandons the perception of compactness.
The contemplation of void ness (sunnatat-nupassana); abandons adherence (to the notion of self). The higher wisdom of insight into phenomena (adhipanna-nupassana); abandons adherence due to grasping at a core.
Correct knowledge and vision (yathabhuta-nanadassana); abandons adherence due to confusion.
The release of a stress incurred because of an overwhelming positive event, will produce happy thoughts in meditation as the stress unwinds.  And vice versa. This not only makes it more difficult for them to deal with their everyday responsibilities, it can also lead to profound unhappiness. Prior research had shown that higher activation levels in this area of the brain are responsible for wandering thoughts and attention lapses.
The team reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that individuals who were experienced at meditation had much lower activation levels in areas of the brain associated with the default mode network. It includes the information we get from our five senses and from thought, imagination, and other internal sources, as well as the way the mind processes and understands this information. The Buddha’s close disciple, the Venerable Ananda, approached the Buddha and requested that he visit Girimananda out of compassion for his suffering.
As we work through meditation on the ten perceptions, we train the mind to move beyond ordinary, superficial perception into the enlightened perspective that leads to permanent liberation from confusion and unhappiness. Sometimes translated as tranquility meditation or calm abiding, samatha meditation involves gently focusing the mind on one object or experience, such as a candle flame, a prayer or chant, a picture of the Buddha, or simply, as in the Girimananda Sutta, on our regular cycle of breathing in and breathing out. Over years of vipassana practice, the focused mind gradually penetrates the wall of illusion that separates ordinary awareness from deep understanding of the way we exist.
To our dismay, we discover that although the way we sense and think about our experiences seems to be solid and reliable, it is, in fact, distorted or mistaken in several important ways. Mindfulness, so widely taught and practiced these days as an aid to stress-relief, relaxation, and healing, is actually vipassana or insight meditation, a set of mental activities aimed at experiencing uninterrupted awareness of what is happening moment to moment.
As I mentioned, the Girimananda Sutta also presents a method of vipassana or insight meditation.
We become more impartial and objective observers of what is taking place within our minds and in the world around us and, for this reason, can more easily sidestep situations that might lead to anxiety and unhappiness. We could say that the Girimananda Sutta is not a faith-healing system, but a truth-healing system.
For each of the ten, I begin with a quotation from the sutta so that readers can experience the Buddha’s words firsthand. Many people today practice meditation while sitting cross-legged on the floor, supported by a low cushion. The only time we can be truly present is right in front of us, the moment that is happening now.

The best place to experience the movement of the breath is the spot where the flow of air touches or rubs the rim of the nostrils during inhalation and exhalation.
Many people find that meditating for twenty or thirty minutes each day works well, but even five or ten minutes is OK on days when we are especially busy. It’s always good to have your closest friend and associate say something good about you. Now, I’m just happy that God has allowed me to live in this period, to see what is unfolding.
We mean business now, and we are determined to gain our rightful place in God’s world. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.
This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.
It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. Sitting quietly and avoiding unnecessary thoughts may not seem like the quickest route to happiness, but it may have the most sustained effects.
Like the other constituents of the body and mind described by the Buddha—form, feeling, thought, and consciousness—perception can be trained and ultimately purified through the practice of meditation.
Instead, the Buddha asked Ananda to go to Girimananda and speak to him about the ten perceptions.
As the mind settles peacefully on this single point of focus, our normal emotional turmoil subsides, and the mind stops its uncontrolled wandering and becomes calm and serene. As our insight deepens, we realize that no part of us—not our body, feelings, perceptions, thoughts, or consciousness—is as concrete and permanent as we habitually believe.
Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness encourages readers to use mindfulness meditation to progress along the Buddha’s eight-step path from suffering to permanent happiness.
In essence, the sutta reveals how a combination of concentration meditation and insight meditation can help us achieve vibrant mental health as well as physical and emotional healing. Finally, we consider how we can use the method of insight meditation on perception the Buddha prescribed for Girimananda for personal and spiritual healing. But it is also possible to meditate while sitting upright in a chair, or even, when circumstances make it preferable, while standing up, walking, or lying down.
Many people find that early morning, before they get engaged in the concerns of the day, or evening, if that is a time when they feel awake and alert, are good choices.
The longer we sit and focus on the breath, the more relaxed and comfortable we should feel.
No sufferings overtake him who neither clings to mind-and-body nor claims anything of the world. And I would see Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides and Aristophanes assembled around the Parthenon as they discussed the great and eternal issues of reality. I would even come up to the early thirties, and see a man grappling with the problems of the bankruptcy of his nation. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.
With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. When we understand what perception is and how it impacts our lives, we can use it, just as we do any other object of meditation, to overcome harmful ways of thinking and acting and to develop spiritually.
This understanding motivates us to engage in further meditation with the aim of cultivating purified perception as explained by the Buddha.
In Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English, I explain how concentration meditation can help us transcend ordinary consciousness and reach highly purified and luminous mental states on the path. To that end, this book includes several sets of step-by-step instructions for engaging in mindfulness meditation on the perception of impermanence. When we appreciate the truth we hear, our insight is deepened, and the mind prompts the brain and body to generate healing chemicals.
The goal is for the body to be settled and relaxed, and for the posture to be one we can easily sustain for an extended period of time without shifting or readjusting. Rather, we are using the breath, something that is always with us, as a point of focus for the mind to help us develop concentration and mindfulness. Establishing a regular time and place to meditate each day is a gentle way to encourage and support our practice.
I would even come up to the day of the Renaissance, and get a quick picture of all that the Renaissance did for the cultural and esthetic life of man.
There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
King for showing us the value of human life, and how we can all live together in harmony as brothers and sisters. As a result of these efforts, we progress on the path that leads to freeing ourselves once and for all from illness, confusion, and other forms of physical and mental suffering. My most recent book, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, discusses the Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha’s clearest and most succinct presentation of mindfulness meditation.
Though meditation should never be regarded as a substitute for medical treatment, many people have found it to be a valuable therapeutic complement to traditional care.
Rather it should be an activity we look forward to and enjoy because of the relaxation and pleasure it brings to the body and mind and how much it helps us personally and spiritually. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.
The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery.
Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. And I would watch Martin Luther as he tacked his ninety-five theses on the door at the church in Wittenberg.
And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a away that men, in some strange way, are responding — something is happening in our world.
Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

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