May 2023 Dhamma Journal – Purpose and Benefits of Meditation

Dear Mahāpajāpati Dhamma Friends,

This month we continue the Comprehensive Survey of Buddhist Meditation chapter with the Purpose and Benefits of Meditation.

May you be well, happy, and peaceful.

1.3. Purpose and Benefits of Meditation

Along with the popularity of meditation in modern days, the youth
and the aged alike pursue meditation with different purposes. Some
people might not consider meditation as a religious practice. As it
may not have a religious element, most people, especially in the
West, practice meditation for the reduction of mental stress and the
gain of some relaxation and peace of mind. But nowadays some
people in India where various types of meditation are found engage
in meditation, particularly in Yoga for weight loss.
One may not spell out the benefits of meditation in complete form
for its countless values involving a state of consciousness that
cannot be expressed by words. One of the most remarkable benefits
of meditation is the gain in a deeper level of peace of mind,
relaxation, happiness, and calmness as one frees from worries and
stress. “Studies have shown that meditating regularly can help
relieve symptoms in people who suffer from chronic pain.”
“Meditation can relax the nerves, control or reduce the blood
pressure, make us zestful by stemming the dissipation of energy
through tensions, improve our health, and keep us fit.” In the words
of Sri Chinmoy, “Meditation simplifies our outer life and energizes
our inner life. Meditation gives us a natural and spontaneous life, a
life that becomes so natural and spontaneous that we cannot
breathe without being conscious of our own divinity.” Richard
Pettinger also believes that meditation streamlines our outer life,
energizes our inner life, and is a practical solution to relieve stress
and tension. Moreover, meditation can help us to unlock our creative
potential as a consequence of deep concentration. In brief,
meditation not only brings physical and mental calmness but also
enhances willpower, memory, intuition, inner strength, and peace
of mind leading to spiritual enlightenment. Meditation is to stop the
mind from rushing about in an aimless stream of thoughts and to

still the mind. It might also lead to spiritual enlightenment. This
depends on how much enthusiastic we are, how much energy and
time we devote to it, and on our inner ripeness.

In the next Dhamma Journal, this chapter with continue with “Buddhist

Huts (Kuṭis) Fund Raising

Dear Mahapajapati Dhamma friends,

Recently, there are a lot of meditators signing up small huts for self-retreat at Mahapajapati. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough huts to accommodate them. Therefore, Mahapajapati needs 4 more huts (kuṭis) to provide accommodation to meditators.

Each hut estimate costs $5,000. One can donate one hut, or donate as much as one can afford. Please please Zelle your  donation to this email address:

April 2023 Dhamma Journal – Popularity of Meditation within the Domain of Medical Science

Dear Mahāpajāpati Dhamma Friends,

This month we continue the Comprehensive Survey of Buddhist Meditation chapter with the Various Interpretations of the term ‘Meditation’.

May you be well, happy, and peaceful.

1.2. Various Interpretations of the term ‘Meditation’

The word ‘meditation’ comes from the Latin word ‘meditāriī’, which has a range of meanings including reflecting on, studying, and practicing. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines the term meditation as the practice of thinking deeply in silence, especially for religious reasons or in order to make your mind calm. Likewise, the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary explains that “meditation is the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or a way of becoming calm and relaxed.” In the opinion of Sarah Kalvin, a competent meditation teacher, “meditation refers to the way, the method, path or process by which one is led from within, to a universal center of calm awareness and inspired intuition.”

To some westerners, meditation means stress management or self-management of disease. It is also interpreted as an effective form of practice in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness for achieving peace of mind and stress reduction. Some regard meditation as “a state of profound, deep peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent, yet completely alert.”
In the eyes of Arvind Narayan, a zealous practitioner; “meditation, a sort of mental practice which relaxes the body, calms the mind and minimizes stress and tension is the science related to human consciousness.” In the words of Godwin Samararatne , an international Buddhist celebrity, meditation is “knowing the mind, shaping the mind, and freeing the mind.” According to Paramananda, a spiritual teacher, meditation is “the art of getting to know one’s own mind; getting to know one’s own mental and emotional states; getting to know oneself more deeply.”

“In the most general definition, meditation is a way of taking control of the mind so that it becomes peaceful and focused, and the practitioner becomes more aware.” However, as claimed by Ajahn Brahm, an inspirational spiritual leader of modern times, “meditation is the way of letting go; letting go of the complex world outside in order to reach a powerful peace within.” He maintains that the more one controls, the more he or she craves because of attachments, and thus the less peaceful he or she gets. Conversely, the more one lets go, the more cravings he or she abandons, and the more he or she gets out of the way and consequently the happier he or she feels.

On the contrary, Thera Piyadassi asserts that control of the mind is the key to happiness; it is the force behind all true achievement; it is owing to lack of control that conflicts of diverse kinds arise in our mind. In this connection, contrasting opinions of different meditation masters should be taken into consideration. In light of this work, meditation, in fact, is not a way of taking control of the mind, but knowing and seeing the mind and matter as they really and truly are via thorough observation. In the course of meditation, a practitioner has to establish concentration and then observe the mind and matter with rapt attention. As his or her zest, mindfulness, and concentration grow stronger, he or she will come to realize the true nature of mind and matter i.e. impermanence (anicca), un-satisfactoriness (dukkha), and non-soul (anatta). Accordingly, he or she will clearly comprehend that there is nothing to grasp the constantly changing phenomena of mind and matter as this is ‘mine’, this is ‘I’. Consequently, he or she will let the notion of ‘self’ go and will feel free and happy. It is, therefore, convinced that ‘meditation is the way of letting go’ and ‘letting go makes one happier.’

In the next Dhamma Journal, this chapter with continue with “Purpose and Benefits of Meditation”

Earth Day, Saturday, April 22nd, 2023

Dear Dhamma friends,

The recent welcoming rains have brought cleaner air and fresher water to us all.  They also brought out the weeds and bushes.  Our large and open monastery has seen a vast amount of weeds that are growing beyond the limited resources that we have to keep them at bay.

The monastery is organizing a clean-up day on this upcoming Earth Day, Saturday, April 22nd, 2023.

We are welcoming volunteers to come give us a hand from 8 AM-5 PM on Earth Day, Saturday, April  22nd, 2023, to keep the weeds and bushes from making our monastery inaccessible. 

Please contact us at if you are able to volunteer, and please help bring available tools.

Together we can make a difference on this upcoming Earth Day.

May all be well, happy, and peaceful!
With loving kindness,
Mahāpajāpati Foundation.

March 2023 Dhamma Journal – Popularity of Meditation within the Domain of Medical Science

Dear Mahāpajāpati Dhamma Friends,

This month we continue the Comprehensive Survey of Buddhist Meditation chapter with Meditation’s popularity in the Medical Science domain.

May you be well, happy, and peaceful.

1.1. Popularity of Meditation within the Domain of Medical Science.

Researchers have learned that meditation has been used since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions.   It is compelling to note that great precedence is given to meditation in the modern world for the healing process of psychiatric disorders as well as for physical sickness apart from religious practices. Several studies on meditation have yielded concrete evidence that meditation is a safe and effective way to counteract the effects of emotional stress and nervous tension.
David Midgley, a freelance philosopher and founding director of the Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds, rightly claims that “meditation is a natural part of the human experience and it is increasingly used as a therapy for promoting good health and boosting the immune system.” Thera Piyadassi, one of the world’s most eminent Buddhist scholars affirms that through meditation, one can overcome one’s “psychological or psychosomatic problems and anxiety disorders, emotions and impulses, and gain mental calm and peace.”   
Today, people regardless of faith increasingly come to realize that to lead a happy and healthy life, meditation plays a crucial role in addition to medication. In the words of Osho, one of the most inspiring spiritual teachers of the twentieth century, medication enables one to be free from diseases at the physical level of the body. However, even when freed from all his diseases, man does not become free from the basic disease of being a human. Osho convincingly argues that the disease of being a human is a ‘perpetual desire’ and the cure for it may only be possible through meditation. He also points out that while medications naturally depend on their chemical constituents to alter the physical matters in the brain; meditation hinges upon consciousness.
Remarkably in this Advanced Technological Age, the study of meditation has entered research labs throughout the United States. Scientists are exploring the states of the brain associated with meditation practices as well as other physiological effects and major changes in the body. Numerous studies have proved that various methods of meditation have been linked to changes in metabolism, blood pressure, brain activation, and other bodily processes. Meditation, thus, has been widely used in clinical settings as a method of stress and pain reduction. Research studies show that hundreds of youths who were addicted to narcotic drugs gradually recover after joining some meditation courses.
Numerous Electroencephalogram (EEG) readings have proven that the meditation on Mindfulness of Breathing is capable of synchronizing the working of the two sides of the brain. “This reduces the patient’s oxygen needs, reduces the heartbeat, blood pressure, and breathing rate.” It is noteworthy what Visuddhacara, an avid meditation practitioner, has stated in the book entitled ‘Invitation to Insight Meditation’. He indicated:
“Western doctors have found that the state of mind has a bearing on the physical health of a person. Diseases are sometimes caused by unhappy states of mind. Prolonged depression, anxiety, fear, unhappiness, etc. can lead to chemical imbalances and other disorders which can even cause diseases such as cancer and heart ailments. Studies showed that anger or agitation causes the production of the chemical, epinephrine, which increases blood pressure, heartbeat, and oxygen consumption. Fear and anxiety cause the secretion of far more than the normal amount of acid which attacks the intestinal membranes resulting in ulcers. Prolonged states of nervous tension are known to impair the autonomic nervous system in such a way that it affects the digestive function and elimination of waste products. This results in constipation and self-poisoning.
On the other hand, it is found that peaceful states of mind are conducive to physical health. Because diseases have a relation to the mind, doctors have encouraged patients to take up meditation which can have a healthy effect on both body and mind. According to the scriptures, when there is samādhi, we experience mental rapture (pīti) and bliss (sukha). This brings about the production of healthy cells or matters in the body (cittajarūpa i.e. matter born of mind). Thus, in addition to mental well-being, meditation is conducive to physical health.”
These findings confirm that meditation is of great help both for physical and mental fitness. Moreover, they validate the claims made by the Buddha in the discourses on Sickness (Gilāna-suttas). This discourse speaks about the recovery of the Blessed One from severe sickness just by contemplating enlightenment factors (bojjhaṅga). During meditation, the superb values of the seven enlightenment factors arise in the mental stream of a practitioner. Because of these superb values, ailments, and illnesses, even chronic diseases have been eliminated and thus a practitioner becomes apparently energetic, both physically and mentally. They also verify the central claims of the Buddhist Philosophy (Abhidhamma) that mind (citta) and matters (rūpa) are completely interdependent and closely interrelated. Remarkable findings from several research works on meditation have elevated meditation’s popularity within the domain of medical science.

In the next Dhamma Journal, this chapter with continue with “Various Interpretations of the term ‘Meditation”

February 2023 Dhamma Journal – A Comprehensive Survey of Buddhist Meditation

Dear Mahāpajāpati Dhamma Friends,

How are you? Hope you are all doing well. We would like to inform you that from now on, every month we will share with you a topic regarding our thesis. Hopefully, it will help to strengthen your knowledge of meditation.

May you be well, happy, and peaceful.

Chapter 1 – A Comprehensive Survey of Buddhist Meditation

The main focus of this chapter is to provide a comprehensive survey of Buddhist meditation in Theravāda tradition with reference to the canonical and the post-canonical texts, particularly to the Suttanta and the Abhidhamma Piṭaka.

Prior to this, a general and non-specific view of meditation along with its major benefits is going to be discussed in brief. In doing so, this work will offer an elucidation of the term ‘meditation’ to a certain extent and the efficacy of practicing meditation in the
health sector, both physical and mental alike. In addition, it has attempted to examine why meditation is popular among medical scientists. Furthermore, with regard to the domain of Buddhist meditation, this chapter has devoted ample space to the clarification of the technical terms used, their origin and development, and noteworthy differences between two types of Buddhist meditation:

Tranquillity (samatha) and Insight (vipassanā).

Moreover, it has tried to analyze slight variations between the meditation subjects (kammaṭṭhāna) and the meditation object (kammaṭṭhānārammaṇa) as they often appear easily confusable for beginners. Additionally, this chapter has discussed the meditation subjects along with six temperament types with reference to the Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga). Also, a lucid and detailed exposition of the four Foundations of Mindfulness (satipaṭṭhānā) on which the Enlightened One put a great emphasis as a basic framework for developing insight meditation has been scrutinized in this chapter.

In the next Dhamma Journal, this chapter with continue with “Popularity of Meditation within the Domain of Medical Science”

Mahapajapati Foundation Announcement

Dear Mahāpajāpati Dhamma Friends,

We have good news!

After consultation with the elder bhikkhus, the bhikkhunī Sanghas, and the Mahāpajāpati community, and after meeting with the Board members.  we have made the decision to keep the Mahāpajāpati Foundation intact. 

This is in honor of Mahāpajāpati, the aunt of the Buddha.  This is also in honor of Ayya Gunasari, the first abbess who had given the name “Mahāpajāpati” to the Foundation.
May all be well, happy, and peaceful!
With loving kindness,
Ayya Ñāņadīpa and the board the of Mahāpajāpati Foundation.

Welcome To 2023

Dear Dhamma Friends of Mahāpajāpati !

Welcome to all!

My name is Ayya Ñāņadīpa, the new Abbess of Mahāpajāpati Foundation.

As we start 2023, I would like to wish you, your family members, relatives and friends a healthy, happy and prosperous new year.

May the power of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha protect you and your family throughout the year!

May all be well and happy!

With loving kindness,
Ayya Ñāņadīpa