Culadasa is coming to the East Coast!

Be sure not to miss Culadasa’s East Coast tour this summer, with events at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY, New York City, and Gloucester MA!


Maximize Your Meditation, a retreat with Culadasa

June 19-24, 2016 at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York

Understanding Attention & Awareness as Mindfulness Tools

For more information and to register click here.

To ask Culadasa questions about the retreat, email him


The words “attention” and “awareness” are often used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing. A clear understanding of these two ways of knowing is important if you want your meditation practice to truly soar.

Buddhist teacher and neuroscientist Culadasa (John Yates) guides you on an exploration of how to skillfully work with attention and awareness to cultivate mindfulness and ultimately change your thoughts, feelings, and habits for the better.

Through lecture, discussion, exercises, and meditation, you play with attention—a process of exclusion where you single out and hone in on something to analyze or interpret it. And you practice awareness, which is more open and inclusive and takes in the larger view to provide overall context for your experience.

As you begin to work skillfully with attention and awareness, you see the potential for mindfulness—the optimum interaction between the two—to completely transform who you are.

Beginning and seasoned meditators are welcome; no previous experience is necessary.

Upasaka Culadasa, Eve Smith, and Matthew Immergut

at New York Insight Meditation Center

June 24 & 25, 2016


Friday, June 24th, 7 pm – 9 pm
Eve Smith, Matthew Immergut
Offered by donation; pre-registration is not required


Saturday, June 25th, 10 am – 330 pm

Engaged Compassion: The Relationship Between Inner and Outer Peace. July 1 & 2 at Wisdom’s Heart

Culadasa returns to Wisdoms’s Heart in Gloucester, MA over the 4th of July weekend!

Compassionate engagement and dealing with harmful emotions, thought patterns, and actions – on a global, friends&family, and internal/personal level.


Suggested Donation:  $20 Friday.  $20 Saturday.

No one turned away for lack of funds. Please contribute as you are able.

The Mind Illuminated is the Amazon #1 New Release in Buddhism

Amazon Ranking


The Mind Illuminated, my Complete Meditation Guide is officially out this week, and it’s been getting some great response, including several days in the Amazon Top 10 in Cognitive Psychology and Buddhism.  It’s the fruition of a multiple years journey writing, producing, and releasing this book, for myself and my wife Nancy, the hard-working co-authors Matthew and Jeremy, and the editors, artists, promotional team that did so much to help, as well as the whole Dharma Treasure Buddhist Sangha community.  A huge thank you to everyone who helped bring this book to life!

You can get the book yourself on Amazon right now:


Attention and Awareness Article on Elephant Journal!

Elephant Journal has just published another article by Matthew Immergut and myself.

“Attention, Awareness and How to Meditate Successfully”

Think about consciousness for a moment. What we consciously experience are sights, sounds, smells and other external objects arising and passing away. So too, thoughts, feelings, moods and memories move through our internal landscape.

Looking a bit closer we notice our conscious experience comes in two different forms: attention and awareness. When we focus our attention on something, it takes center stage in our conscious experience. At the same time, we can remain more peripherally aware of things in the background. For example, right now your attention is focused on what you’re reading. Yet, you’re also most likely aware of other sights, sounds, and maybe a few thoughts, feelings or sensations in the periphery…

In meditation, we need to work with both attention and awareness. We do this by anchoring attention on an object like the breath, while at the same time sustaining awareness. Try it now. Close your eyes and bring your attention to the sensations of the breath at your nose. At the same time, remain aware of what you’re doing and your surroundings—the sounds in the room, bodily sensations, and thoughts and feelings arising and passing in the background. Discover this gentle balance for yourself.
Read on at:

Elephant Journal



Come and See for Yourself

urban prayer flags
Someone recently wrote to me:

Many aspects of the Buddha’s original teachings resonate with me. I currently work in social services, and find that my ego often gets too caught up in my interactions with people. I also have generalized anxiety disorder, and think that meditation might help me with both these things. However, the highest priorities in my life are fighting for environmental and social justice.

My concern is that, despite its noble intentions, Buddhism has never taken hold as a popular movement for real social and political change. I just couldn’t be comfortable participating in a sangha that doesn’t explicitly share my concern for social justice. Also, I took a college course called “Buddhist Cosmology” where I learned about the great diversity of different forms of Buddhism. Since then, I’ve been uncomfortable with any statement about what, in fact, constitutes Buddhism, since there is clearly no unity of Buddhist practice in Asia. Are there any Buddhist communities moving toward critical awareness, the “checking” of race and class privilege, and cultivating meditation as a means to more effectively change the “system”?

I replied:

Most forms of Buddhism in the East are religions, pure and simple, and exist for the same cultural and political purposes as religions everywhere – to preserve social order, rather than change the “system.” Their diversity is a reflection of the different cultural and political environments they grew up in.

If the Buddha were alive today, I’m certain he would not belong to any of these religions. He was a renegade, highly critical of the religions of his own time and of the social order they justified. He never intended to found a religion, and was critical of philosophical and cosmological systems based on religious beliefs. He encouraged open-minded, empirical investigation, saying “come and see for yourself.”

Buddhism first came to the West as transplants of all these exotic “Buddhisms,” but Buddhism has a way of taking on a new form whenever it encounters a new culture. Some of the most unique characteristics of Western culture are the sciences, including psychology and the social sciences, and the notion of political democracy. And never before has Buddhism experienced a rebirth into a global culture, or in a world in such a high state of crisis as ours is today. Finally, Buddhism has never before entered a culture with such a high level of literacy and critical thinking, nor has there ever been such ready access to information of so many different kinds. As might be expected, something very interesting is happening with Buddhism in the West.

Westerners are comparing and contrasting these different Buddhisms and asking, “What kind of wisdom is hidden in all these different religions that it has managed to last so long and spread so far?” One uniquely Western development is a movement toward rediscovering the original, pre-religious teachings of the man called the Buddha – a search for a “naturalized” Buddhist wisdom, stripped of its “supernatural” religious accretions. Another is a socially and environmentally conscious, politically engaged Buddhism that seeks to make a real difference in the world.

I can understand the concerns you feel when looking only at the traditional forms of Buddhism, or their yuppie New Age off-shoots. But should you look at some of the newer modifications, like Roshi Joan Halifax’s Upaya Zen, or Thich Nhat Hanh’s Socially Engaged Buddhism, I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

Then, should you take the time and trouble to look into the wonderful and interesting things emerging with the evolution of a truly “Western” Buddhism, I think you might start to feel right at home. I highly recommend reading David Loy’s, “Money, Sex, War, Karma” or Ken Jones’s “The New Social Face of Buddhism”. Or go to and listen to the weekend teaching retreats on “When the Buddhadharma Came to the West” and “What the Buddha Thought,” or the series of Thursday evening talks called the “Dharma Treasure Curriculum.”

I welcome your comments below…