How to develop Buddhist Practice Without Meditation

We are feeling creatures. Our feelings frame our reality. What we believe to be true is what we feel to be true. We accept facts or dismiss them based on how we feel about them.

We assign value to words based on how we feel about them, and then assign value to people based on those words.

So to change our reality, we must learn how to reorient ourselves. Change how we feel about the world, so that we change the view we have about the universe. We can learn how to no longer assign internal values to words and people so that we can see and accept them as they are.

If it is too challenging to do this spiritual shift through your own meditation and introspection, then transform your spirit through your actions. Because we are not body and mind but one body-mind (psycho-physical) being. How we behave effects our minds just as much as how our minds effect how we behave.

So while many Buddhist practitioners focus on meditation as the path to understanding suffering, we can assist those who wish to follow the dharma by developing other aspects of their practice: charity, volunteering, service to the temple, socratic dialogue, etc.

It is nearly impossible to develop a meditative practice in Buddhism without developing some sense of anicca and anatta, which leads to opening the doors to embodying metta, karuna, muditta and uppekka. By developing metta, karuna, muditta and uppekka through ADLs (activities of daily living) will eventually open the mind’s door to the gentleness of a meditative mind which understands anicca and anatta.

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Categories: Buddha, Dharma, Ethics, Meditation, Noble Eightfold Path, Uncategorized, Work


Joshua Hudson is a license clinical social worker with post graduate certificates in mental health. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, he has worked as an healthcare advocate for the Department of Veteran Affairs, Director of Psychological Health for the Air Force, in-patient counselor for inpatient adolescents, child and family therapist; and currently is a Prevention Interventionist for the Air Force creating programs to reduce interpersonal and self-directed violence (e.g. Sexual assault, suicide, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, etc.) in the military


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7 Comments on “How to develop Buddhist Practice Without Meditation”

  1. mindfulness exercises
    July 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    No there is not death. Consciousness was, is now and will always be. We live in the physical illusion of the body. We are not the body but consciousnesses, In consciousnesses there is no death. Eric

    • July 9, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

      This is not the teachings of the Buddha. For all things that arise are impermanent and pass away. Even the ongoing process of suffering and kharma that moves from life to life is a process that, after the liberation of nirvanna, ends.

      To look at your statements in a non-Buddhist context– there is very little evidence of an eternal existence other than the desire for it to be so. I would really love to direct you to some great work by Shelly Kagan, PhD, at Yale who teaches a class on Death and Dying.

  2. dice20015
    July 10, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    “If it is too challenging to do this spiritual shift through your own meditation and introspection,” then Buddhism is not for you. Buddhism is meditation and introspection first, and everything else second. Because it is challenging is the main reason why you need to do it. Behavior is important but it must be grounded in mental discipline. Yes, body/mind, but the body does not engage in thoughts, words and deeds which is where our sufferings come from. If you are going to go this route you might as well volunteer at the Salvation Army or Goodwill, the result will about the same.

    • July 11, 2011 at 2:24 am #

      The Noble Eightfold Path had three parts: Ethics, Wisdom and Concentration. The Five Precepts are affirmations of action. Dana are acts of giving. Buddhism is about transformation of body and mind. Those who are not ready for meditation, or not seeing progress in their meditation should certainly work the other aspects of the Eightfold Path until they have transformed enough to be willing to meditate. Those who ONLY meditate, must also take that work to apply to daily life. There are many Buddhists that only do the Buddhist work in the meditation hall and then set it down as soon as they put on their shoes to walk outside into the world. The body is the mind and the mind is the body. Meditation is not only done in the hall, but out in the world.

  3. Sha
    July 13, 2011 at 12:23 am #

    I like your replies.

  4. July 22, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    On the other hand, developing a deep sense of anicca comes from directly experiencing it in meditation.

    • July 29, 2011 at 3:05 am #

      I think that there may be some misunderstanding from the title. This is not an article stating that anyone shouldn’t meditate, but how to develop practice outside of meditation.

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