I started meditating when I was 22, a couple of years after taking an interest in Taoism. Not long after beginning my practice I came across Daniel Ingram’s Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. I was very impressed with the openness and clarity of the book, and immediately dedicated myself to Vipassana meditation as outlined in the first few chapters. It didn’t take long before I stumbled across the first of many events that have convinced me that this kind of mind training is something truly invaluable and deeply empowering. I wrote more about my meeting with meditation in Answering the Demand.
Daniel’s book is at the ever-evolving heart of the Pragmatic Dharma movement, also known as the Hardcore Dharma movement due to its focus on dedicated practice and transparency regarding results and attainments. A lot of people that resonate with this approach to meditation can be found on the Dharma Overground or at Kenneth Folk Dharma
I am sometimes available to teach meditation over Skype and email, or face to to face if you live in the Bristol/Bath area in England.
For newcomers, I usually recommend Mindfulness in Plain English by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana. It is a very accessible introduction to the path and practice without compromising on the potency of what is being taught. For a more “hardcore” approach and a much more detailed look at the maps, territory and phenomena one might come across in practice, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha is unsurpassed. Full versions of both of these books are generously available for free online.
One of my favourite teachers, Rob Burbea, has also written an excellent book called Seeing That Frees. It is a comprehensive and practical guide to exploring emptiness and dependent arising.
Jack Kornfield’s A Path with Heart comes highly recommended by many diverse practitioners, and it covers a lot of ground with a strong focus on integrating insight into our daily lives. Out of the three books mentioned here, it is the most gentle introduction.
Some other teachers who I have found a lot of value in include Shinzen Young, A. H. Almaas, Adyashanti, Eckart Tolle, Rob Burbea, Leela Sarti, and Reggie Ray.
- Martin Aylward
Home of Martin Aylward—Work, Sex, Money, Dharma.
- Joan Tollifson
Home of Joan Tollifson—The simplicity of What Is.
- Dharma Treasure
Home of Culadasa. Lots of articles and audio.
- Aloha Dharma
The site of Ron Crouch, Hawaii-based meditation teacher.
- Unfettered Mind
Pragmatic Buddhism from Ken McLeod.
- Happiness Beyond Thought
A practical guide to awakening by Gary Weber.
- Ethan Nichtern
Author and Buddhist teacher.
- David Loy
David Robert Loy is a professor, writer, and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
- Buddhist Geeks
Lots of interviews and dialogues on the emerging faces of Buddhism.
- Buddha at the Gas Pump
Fascinating in-depth interviews with a wide range of ordinary awakened individuals from a variety of backgrounds.
- Dharma Seed
Thousands of freely available talks from a wide range of teachers. If you don't know where to begin, one of my favourites is Realising the Nature of Mind by Rob Burbea. If you enjoyed that, Rob annually leads a month long retreat on emptiness, and all the talks from the 2010 event can be listened to here.
- Shinzen Young videos
Lots of insightful videos from a geeky teacher who freely mixes Eastern comtemplative and Western scientific methods in his teachings. Also check out his interviews channel and web home.
Excellent introduction to the teachings of emptiness.
- Access to Insight
There are more than 2,000 web pages on this site, containing hundreds of books, articles, sutta translations, and more.
- The Hamilton Project
A pragmatic dharma flavoured blog covering many different aspects of practice, from a variety of deeply realised individuals. Also has a small discussion forum.
- Attentional Fitness Training
Becoming More at Home in Your Life with Mindfulness.
- Against the Stream
Buddhism and meditation as rebellion; uniting social action and personal insight.
Mindful Awareness Research Center.
- Daniel Siegel
Investigating mindfulness, "mindsight" and interpersonal neurobiology.
- Investigating Healthy Minds
Conducts rigorous scientific research on healthy qualities of mind such as kindness, compassion, altruism, forgiveness, mindfulness and well-being.
- Contemplative Neurosciences
Lots of interesting research lead by Dave Vago.
For anyone interested in going on retreat, I cannot recommend Gaia House enough. It is a beautiful and wonderfully well run retreat centre that hosts many great teachers.