Sravasti Abbey shared this advice on starting a daily meditation practice in our January eNews. You can receive book excerpts like this to your in-box every month. Sign up for Sravasti Abbey’s monthly eNews and eTeaching. Subscribe here.

Starting a Daily Meditation Practice

from The Foundation of Buddhist Practice
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Ven. Thubten Chodron

The best time for meditation is in the early morning as the mind is clearer and sharper then and not yet distracted by the day’s activities.

Familiarizing yourself with wholesome thoughts and emotions in the morning influences how you live the rest of the day, especially if you generate bodhicitta, which opens your heart to all sentient beings, and remember that people and things are transient and lack an independent nature, which reduces your grasping.

If your schedule doesn’t permit you to meditate in the morning, meditate at another time in the day when you can relax and will not be interrupted.

Although meditating for an hour is good, if that is not possible, do what is comfortable for you. Conclude before you feel tired so that you will have a positive feeling about meditation. Pushing yourself to meditate for longer than you are comfortably able to will make your mind resistant to future practice.

Ten minutes of good-quality meditation is better than sitting for an hour with a distracted or sleepy mind. However, a person who is very busy and has little fortitude will find meditation almost impossible. He should do just a short prayer and then finish. That’s best.

To get up early, we may have to sacrifice late-night activities in order to go to bed earlier. This may be easier for me to do because I live in a monastic environment in Dharamsala, an Indian town that is fairly quiet in the evening. In other places, there is entertainment and social life, so sticking to a regular schedule of daily meditation may be more challenging.

Just as daily meals and exercise are necessary to keep our body healthy, daily spiritual practice is essential for our mental well-being and progress toward awakening.

The Foundation of Buddhist Practice

Volume 2 in The Library of Wisdom and Compassion
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Ven. Thubten Chodron 
Wisdom Publications

* Learn more about the book here

* Watch Ven. Chodron’s teachings on the book from retreats held at Sravasti Abbey in 2018 and 2019 here

* Tune in here to weekly Friday livestream teachings on the book at 6:15 pm PST.  

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