Quotes from Daniel Ingram (mainly Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha)

This is a page of quotes from Daniel Ingram, mostly from two versions of his book, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha. There are maybe five great books I have read about meditation, and this is one of the Top 5, maybe #1.

All of the following quotes come from Mr. Ingram.

The quotes from Daniel Ingram

Until you gain access concentration, you ain’t got squat.

... if we can simply know our sensate experience clearly enough, we will arrive at fundamental wisdom.

Insight practice is all about ... grounding attention in our six sense doors and their true nature.

There are six sense doors. Sensations arise and vanish. Notice this for every sensation.

The gold standard for training in concentration is how quickly we can enter into specific, skillful, altered states of consciousness...

The gold standard for training in wisdom ... is that we can quickly and consistently perceive the true nature of the countless quick sensations that make up our whole reality...

From Al, these are notes I wrote in his book:

  • Your body is a sensing machine
  • The only reality you know is the reality you sense
  • Sensate reality vibrates
    • It appears, exists, then vanishes

When doing insight practices, it just happens to be much more useful to assume that things are only there when you experience them and not there when you don’t.

Vibrations. That’s right, vibrations. That’s what this first characteristic means: that sensate reality vibrates.

Instant by instant, try to know when the actual physical sensations are there, and when they are not.

(At this point I have a note that he starts talking about what I know as the First, Second, and Third Nen (or Nens).)

(As he starts writing more about “vibrations per second,” he mentions, “This is insight practice (insight meditation).”)

... exploring vibrations can be a lot like any other sport: ... this playful, game-like attitude can help a lot. “We’re out to bust some vibrations!”


Dukkha ... a powerful statement that our moment to moment separate self-experience cannot, does not, and will never provide lasting satisfaction.

... awakening is not a thing or mind state or a thought; it is an understanding of perspective without some separate entity that perceives.

The misperception of reality, called ignorance, then leads the mind inclining towards pleasant sensations (“attracttion”), away from negative ones (“aversion”), and regularly tuning out in general.

(On page 31 of the first edition he has a favorite exercise for examining dissatisfaction (dukkha).)

Emptiness ... Means that reality is empty of, devoid of, or lacking a permanent, separate, independent, acausal, autonomous self.

One of my teachers wisely said, "If you are observing it, then by definition, it isn't you."


The big practical trick to understanding egolessness is to tune into the fact that sensations arise on their own in a natural causal fashion, even the intention to do things.

Don’t struggle too much with reality, except to break the bad habits of being lost in stories, poor concentration, and lack of understanding of the Three Characteristics.

Related to effort and surrender: If, when meditating, you can perceive the arising in passing a phenomena clearly and consistently, that is enough effort.

So don’t make stories, but know this: things come and go, they don't satisfy, and they ain’t you. That is the truth. It is just that simple.

A useful teaching is conceptualizing reality as six sense doors.

Bare experience is just dancing, flickering color, form, energy and space, and basically the knowledge of these. Try to stay close to that level when you practice.