February 19, 2014

Breath Focus: Advanced Perspectives on a Basic Practice

I’m known as one of the few Buddhist teachers that does not start people out with breath focus. It’s not that I have anything against breath focus, though. In fact, last Saturday I gave a one-day retreat devoted exclusively to that topic. The workshop was at Gil Fronsdal’s Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California.

You can read about the program below and listen to it for free here:

Breath Focus: Advanced Perspectives on a Basic Practice

Breath focus is sometimes considered an elementary starter practice. But with a proper understanding, it can lead all the way to Enlightenment. On the other hand, it can sometimes become a dead end; it calms but fails to bring deep insight and purification even after many years of practice. The purpose of this workshop is to compare and contrast different approaches to breath practice within Buddhism, unpack the mechanisms by which breath practice confers its benefits and describe how attending to the breath can be optimized and directed towards liberation.
Topics covered will include:
  • A clear conceptual model for how breath works as a focus
  • A chance to sample several distinct forms of breath focus
  • A chance to discuss your experiences around breath with a senior teacher
  • Suggestions on how to avoid dead ends
  • How breath practice fits into the broader framework of mindfulness
Preparation instructions that registered students received:
Please read from my article “What is Mindfulness?” the following sections pp. 4-46 (and feel free to read more of the article if you’d like):
  • Section I. Some Useful Distinctions
  • Section II. Noting: A Representative Practice
  • Section III. Towards A Definition of Mindful Awareness


  1. Hello, I am Soojita, from Mauritius. I have been listening to your talks at the insight meditation, centre at Gil Fronsdal.
    Still listening and practicing for a week now,. I would like here to say thank you to all of you.

    Thank you

  2. Nice sharing. Vipassana meditation is good for our life and did help us be mindful all day as well increase our wisdom. I met a guru who practice for over 30years, he is Venerable Vimokkha and did share his teaching in MP3 files in my blog. His teaching is recorded during our Vipassana meditation retreats. Feel free download it for free at:


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