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Our email address is editor @realization.org.

Copyright 2001 Realization.org.



Advice For Beginners

How to find the right path for you.



Ava De Schryver photographed by Jacques De Schryver.



THERE ARE COUNTLESS PATHS, methods, traditions, religions, and yogas.

Which should you choose? What's the best place to begin?

If you're hoping to find answers here, sorry. That's not possible. But we can suggest a few useful things to keep in mind while you ponder those questions for yourself:

  • The teacher may be more important than the tradition. If you find a teacher who has personal qualities you admire, who is genuinely kind to people, who cares about your happiness, who makes you feel the way you'd like to feel all the time -- that person may be the right teacher for you regardless of his or her tradition.

  • Awareness is an important component of many paths. You can't go wrong by being aware as much as possible.

  • Have fun. Pick something you enjoy.

  • Whichever path you choose, do it. This stuff only works if you devote yourself to it

  • It's better to start out on some path now rather than postpone beginning while you search for the perfect path.

  • Don't worry about making a wrong choice. No matter which path you choose, you'll learn something from it. In fact, many people say you can walk on any path, and if you have the right intention, you will automatically progress toward the goal.

This page contains links to articles and books that we think are especially useful to beginners.

Photograph copyright 2000 Jacques de Schryver.




The Only Meditation There Is: Watching
If you could read only one article, this might be the right one. In plain, easy-to-understand language, it tells you to watch your mind. Watching your mind leads to mindlessness. In mindlessness your mind is quiet, but it's a different quiet than the one that results from forcible suppression. Make this a habit, and everything else follows automatically.

Beginning Meditation Practice: Introduction to Insight Meditation
Shri Acharya Abhidhyanananda Avadhuta
Superb short article on one of the best meditation methods for beginners.

Mindfulness in Plain English
By the Venerable Henepola Gunaratana
This book is an extraordinarily good introduction to Vipassana meditation (also known as insight meditation). The complete text is on our site.




How Meditation Works

By Shinzen Young
A master teacher explains that all types of Buddhist meditation are a combination of two components, tranquility and awareness. From the website of the Vipassana Support Institute.

Guidelines for Selecting a Yoga Teacher, School, or Class
This article is mostly about selecting a teacher, school, or class for learning physical yoga exercises, which are only one part of some types of yoga. But it's a good article, given the topic, and it's on YREC, one of the best websites on yoga.



THE MEDITATIVE MIND: The Varieties of Meditative Experience
by Daniel Goleman
If you're looking for an overview of the main meditation systems, something that will help you navigate the bewildering thicket of competing traditions and religions, this is probably the best book in English. Goleman first describes the classical Theravada system, then contrasts and compares it to others, and finally attempts to show what they all have in common by means of the useful categories of concentration and mindfulness. The book also contains a long section on Buddhist psychology and a few other odds and ends. Goleman has considerable personal experience with meditation and it shows. Read more about it here on Amazon.com.


This page was published on March 10, 2000 and last revised on April 14, 2001.

Copyright 2001 Realization.org. All rights reserved.