About meditation

I’m interested in Meditation. How do I get started?

Most people start by attending an introductory meditation course, usually for five or six sessions. Some start by attending a retreat that is described as “suitable for beginning as well as experienced meditators”, where there is some introductory guidance.

You’ll find the BCIMS class and retreat schedules in the Calendar.

If you live in a community outside of Vancouver, you might consider organizing an Introduction to Meditation weekend in your community and inviting a teacher or community dharma leader to teach.

Do I have to become a Buddhist?

No. Some meditators consider themselves Buddhist and some don’t.

What kinds of meditation are there?

In general, there are two kinds: focusing meditation and insight meditation.

In a focusing meditation you choose one object and work with that object;for example, repeating a mantra or focusing an image (real or imagined, excluding all other experience. This practice develops steadiness of mind. Transcendental Meditation is a well-known example. Metta practice is also a focusing practice.

Insight practice is not, but it relies on the ability to steady the mind in this way, focusing is one aspect of a part of mindfulness. The short-term after-effect of focusing practice is feeling relaxed.