Listening to the Music of the Mind: Meditation Practice and the Buddhist Understanding of the Mind

Event Info

Andrew Olendzki, noted Buddhist scholar and teacher, will use musical practice as a metaphor for meditation practice and the Buddhist understanding of the mind. The workshop will include lecture, discussion, and periods of meditation (both guided and silent).

Listening to music is a skill that can be learned and enhanced by practice. As one comes to understand certain formal structures of music, along with the unique features of specific genres of music, one's 'musical intelligence' is enhanced and the experience of listening deepens.

The same can be said of meditation, the activity of looking closely at—or, one might say, of listening carefully to—the rhythms and melodies of the mind. In this workshop we look closely at the basic structures of the five aggregates and the six sense spheres, observe the steady arising and falling away of mind moments, and discern the difference between harmonious (wholesome) and dissonant (unwholesome) mental and emotional states.

The workshop demonstrates the basic principles of integrating study and practice, and helps develop enhanced skills of 'phenomenological intelligence'. It consists of equal parts lecture and discussion, as well as sessions of both guided and silent meditation.

The workshop is open to the public and is suitable for anyone with interests in Buddhism, meditation, and the workings of their own mind.

The Saturday workshop is sponsored by Princeton Insight Meditation and the Princeton Dharma Practice Group. The Princeton University Office of Religious Life will sponsor a talk Friday evening, September 28, 7-9pm. More information at 

About the Artist:

Andrew Olendzki is a Buddhist scholar, teacher, and writer living in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has been the executive director of both the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and has taught at numerous New England colleges. He is the author of Unlimiting Mind: The Radically Experiential Psychology of Buddhism (Wisdom 2010) and Untangling Self: A Buddhist Investigation of Who We Really Are (Wisdom 2016). He is the founder of the Integrated Dharma Institute, an online educational
resource, and is currently a Visiting Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies at Hampshire College.