New to Meditation


In this straightforward essay, Buddhist monk and translator, Matthieu Ricard asks and answers the important question:  “Why Should I Meditate?”

“The Dharma of Distraction” by Judy Lief,  addresses the suffering that comes with our distracted and screen-addicted culture.

Online Magazines

Tricycle: The Buddhist Review   the first magazine  to present Buddhist perspectives to a Western readership. It remains a widely read vehicle for the dissemination of Buddhist views and values.

Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Lion’s Roar foundation is dedicated to communicating  Buddhist wisdom and practices in order to benefit people’s lives and our society, and to support the development of Buddhism in the modern world.


Buddhist teacher Joseph Goldstein explains key concepts in Buddhism in a pragmatic and accessible way.  

PBS documentary narrated by Richard Gere on the Buddha’s life and teachings: The Buddha.

The North American Prison Project’s film The Dhamma Brothers by Jenny Phillips on teaching meditation in prisons.

Ajahn Nissarano clarifies how essential compassion and love are in his talk Kindness, the Heart of Buddhist Teachings.

Ajahn Sona explains “The Four Noble Truths,” the essence of the Buddha’s teachings.

In this one hour presentation, Robert Wright,  author of the book Why Buddhism is True, integrates psychology and neuroscience to explain what Buddhist meditation does and why it is so profoundly helpful.  

Online Meditation Course

Ajahn Brahmali explains the basics of meditation in this five-session course so anyone can start incorporating meditation into their daily routine. He emphasizes starting with a commitment you can keep, such as ten minutes a day. 

Insight Meditation Center guiding teacher Gil Fronsdal offers a 5-week instructional series for beginning meditators. These classes provide a good overview of insight meditation practice as well as many guided meditation sessions which help the student learn how to establish and sustain a daily meditation practice.



“Mindfulness in Plain English” by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana, a clear, pragmatic guide to mindfulness meditation, written for a newcomer to meditation.

“The Issue at Hand” by Gil Fronsdal, essays on Buddhist Mindfulness Practice. An inspiring and very accessible compilation of essays and edited talks on the Buddhist practice of mindfulness.

“What the Buddha Taught” by Walpola Rahula remains a classic introductory yet comprehensive book on Buddhism even though it was published decades ago. Ideal for those who want an education in core Buddhist concepts.

Helpful Links

Audio Dharma of Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California offers an extensive library of Dharma talks from their teachers as well as visiting teachers.

Dharma Seed offers many talks from a variety of teachers with diverse teaching styles. Subjects can be searched through their directory. 

Meditation application: Insight Timer, a free app that provides guided meditations as well as serving as a simple, meditation timer. Insight Meditation of Ventura has a group on this app which is posted with our logo and listed under the name IMV
You might also Try searching for mindfulness, breath, metta, and body scan guided meditations as a way to find a way into meditation that works for you..


Much of the information provided in our glossary comes to us through the generosity of Access to Insight and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. Contributions to this glossary by members of Insight Meditation of Ventura (IMV) are indicated in parentheses. Insight Meditation of Ventura is deeply grateful for the opportunity to make this content available as a way to contribute to the turning of the wheel of the Dhamma for current and future generations.

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“We meditate to be happy for no reason.”

– Susan Pembroke