Developing Sit Down and Practice was only possible thanks to the many great resources have helped both of us learn to practice. This article acknowledges both what we have built upon and also to provides further links and references to continue your journey.
To begin it is particularly important to mention the huge role that Buddhist traditions and practices play in underpinning and making accessible this work. We took the Buddha’s original advice to "come and see for yourself" and both found that many of the teachings of Buddhism deeply resonated with our own experience. Buddhist teachings have given us incredibly helpful advice and pointers on how to understand ourselves and the world and how to practice to move towards peace and happiness. Over many years we've sat, walked, listened, studied, and shared the good spirit, kindness, and generosity of many Buddhist traditions and communities. We've found incredible value in the teachings of Buddhist traditions.
However we also believe that these practices to train the mind and live well in our modern world can and should continue to evolve forwards in ways that best reflect the needs of the time.
To this end, we both believe that the call to action to practice meditation and experience the benefits can stand apart from the theory, philosophy, and religions that have formed around it. We've done what we can here to present the fundamentals of meditation with integrity, in a clear accessible way that hopefully helps more people to understand it and gain value from it.
Our own experience as learners has taught us that finding the right entry points that are clear, direct and communicated using accessible language yields great results. We hope once you've experienced this for yourself, you may also find yourself looking further into the traditions and lineages from which these ancient teachings derive.
There are a number of resources that were highly influential on our own practices and inspirational in putting together Sit Down and Practice. The instructions here are strongly influenced by the insight meditation tradition and the practice of mindfulness as it is practiced in South-East Asia and more recently in the West. We have found much inspiration in the teachings of Shinzen Young and the Unified Mindfulness system. We also draw greatly on Rob Burbea's work and particularly his exploration of "ways of looking" that is written about in the book Seeing That Frees. We draw upon Tara Brach's teaching of mindfulness, and Sharon Salzberg's invitation to practice Loving-kindness. The S.N. Goenka taught silent vipassana retreats have also been a significant influence in this work. We also really like Michael Taft's teaching, including his take on mindfulness meditation and his more recent non-dual awareness meditations. The text The Mind Illuminated was also a touchstone in the detailed and clear way it lays out the progression of śamatha-vipassanā practice.
Kynan would also like to acknowledge the huge influence that Tucker Peck and Upasaka Upali have had on him, as well as the various teachers that have shared knowledge and provided support on this journey. Kynan is incredibly grateful for Rob Burbea and the incredible archive of teachings that live on. Thanks to all the students, teachers, and explorers who have done what they can to make these practices accessible and helpful into the future.
Ants would like to acknowledge the Thai Forest traditions, especially the Tam Wua Forest Monestary in Mae Hong Son, Northern Thailand, the S.N. Goenka vipassana retreats and the work of Plum Village and Thich Nhat Hanh. Vince Horn’s work with Buddhist Geeks as a door opener and bridge builder and Rohan Gunatillake’s work bridging formal practice with ‘practice anywhere modern mindfulness’ have been big inspirations for this project. Ram Dass, Alan Watts, J Krishnumarti and Joseph Campbell are among many others who lived as significant bridges between ancient, Eastern religious traditions and our modern, globalised society. Their work continues to be a strong influence.
There are lifetimes of videos, books, courses, teachers and interpretations of meditation, mindfulness and how to best apply these concepts to your life.
You are the guide of your own journey forwards. To effectively navigate through this often confusing landscape you will need to filter what is helpful and useful by being grounded in what your goals are. You will need to guide your understanding by first recognizing what it is you want to learn and why.
To further aid your journey, we have curated a list of teachers, books and other practice resources that influenced this training programme that you may find useful. Check it out here.
All the very best with your journey.
Ants & Kynan