Stephen Synder

Stephen Snyder began practicing daily meditation in 1976. Since then, he has studied Buddhism extensively–investigating and engaging in Zen, Tibetan, and Western nondual traditions. Stephen was authorized to teach in 2007 by the Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, a Burmese meditation master and renowned scholar. In 2009, he coauthored Practicing the Jhānas, exploring concentration meditation as presented by Pa Auk Sayadaw. 

This interview was recorded in January 2021

In this episode we discuss:

tephen is in Michigan at the time of the interview.
We are focusing on the deeperr dimension of meditation.
Stephen was born in California but raised in Guam and Hawai’i among other places.
An early calling to spirituality with an encounter with a running monk.
How he came to study meditation in the Theravadan tradition.
How and where did Stephen practice Zen?
Stephen and Tina Rasmussen’s book Practicing the Jhanas and it’s demystification of the deeper levels of meditation.
Issues with the watering down of meditation and yoga.
People and their karmic affinities.
What is meditation actually?
How Stephen got started in meditation himself.
What is anapana meditation / vipassana meditation?
The initial stages of meditative development leading to jhana.
A detailed look at the jhanas and the jhana factors.
The importance of a teacher to guide one through these stages.
Comparisons with the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
How can someone get started with mediation?
The importance of going on retreat and more intense periods of practice.
Discussing Stephen’s new book Buddha’s Heart.

Stephen’s Links:


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