Meditation for beginners: ‘Start Here’ on the Plum Village App

Meditation is to be still: to sit still, to stand still, and to walk with stillness. Meditation means to look deeply, to touch deeply so we can realize we are already home.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Did you know that there is a special section on the Plum Village App for those new to meditation practice? The app is constantly being updated with new material, while in our library of daily practices, mediations, talks, chants, songs, and articles, those taking their first steps have a dedicated folder.   

Fittingly, it’s called Start Here. Included are short audio and video guides to dwelling happily in the present moment and how to apply meditations in the Plum Village tradition, but also to more technical considerations, like the right position for sitting meditation, or how to use the bell of mindfulness. 

Further material comprises a selection of teachings by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh and some of his disciples and dharma teachers.  

A good starting point is this short audio guide by Sister Peace, followed by an introductory video guide by Sister Chan Duc, in which she answers the following: 

  • How do we apply Plum Village guided meditations in order to benefit from them?
  • What if we don’t understand or experience the exercise?
  • What if we haven’t completed an exercise before the next one starts?
  • Are Plum Village guided meditations visualizations?
  • Should we stay with one guided meditation until we understand it, before moving to the next?
  • Why is there such an emphasis on breathing and the body in Plum Village guided meditations?

Consider following this with a guide in which Brother Phap Luu takes viewers through a first sitting meditation, to summon up relaxation and joy, with tips about cultivating mindfulness, correct postures, solutions for those unable to sit cross-legged (do you know what a half lotus position is?), and basic breathing techniques.  

Sister Dang Nghiem takes us through the powerful ritual of inviting the bell, and speaks about the healing properties it can have on one’s mind and body. 

You can finish off your initial session with three short audios from Thich Nhat Hanh on walking meditation, mindfulness, concentration, and insight, and how to dwell happily in the present moment

In the third title, Thay explains why it’s important, in the face of difficult moments, to bring the mind back to the body, in order to open ourselves to the many conditions of happiness that are available in the present moment. When we are present, we can touch the beauty around us and inside of us; a practice that can be very healing. Listen to the teaching here:

All of this introductory material can be accessed both on the app and on its YouTube channel

Once you have taken these first steps, you can go on to deepen your practice by experiencing the many guided meditations and contemplations in the app’s Meditations folder. Enjoy! 


References:

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
Sister Peace
Sister Chan Duc (True Virtue)
Brother Phap Luu (Dharma Stream)
Sister Dang Nghiem (Sister D)  


☁️ As has been the case with Buddhist teachings for millennia, there is no charge for the Plum Village App and its digital content. However, if your means allow, please consider offering a donation to support our small team’s continued work on the app.

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