Where Do Thoughts Come From? What is Dying?

Excerpts from a question and answer session with Toni Packer at the Buddhism in America conference in Boston in January, 1997. Questioner: I have a fundamental question about all the thoughts that fill us. It certainly takes sitting to allow you to watch your thoughts. It’s incredible to me, the thoughts that arise. And I … Read More

End of the Story, from Tricycle Magazine

This interview of Toni Packer, conducted by Helen Tworkov in April, 1996, has been adapted from an article first published in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Summer, 1996. Tricycle: So often you speak of clear seeing and just listening. What makes this distinct from “regular” seeing and listening? Packer: Have you ever listened to breathing without … Read More

Tracking the Two Bodies, with Lenore Friedman

Excerpted from the anthology Being Bodies (edited by Lenore Friedman and Susan Moon). Reprinted by permission of Shambhala Publications. Toni and Lenore are sitting in front of the fire in Lenore’s living room, two days before Toni’s annual nine-day retreat in California. It is the end of a rainy afternoon in late December. People will … Read More


by Toni Packer Awareness cannot be taught, and when it is present it has no context. All contexts are created by thought and are therefore corruptible by thought. Awareness simply throws light on what is, without any separation whatsoever. Awareness, insight, enlightenment, wholeness — whatever words one may pick to label what cannot be caught … Read More


The following article was adapted from a talk by Toni Packer on Day 5 of the September 1998 retreat. Let’s talk about anger. Everyone experiences it at one time or another. Can something be done about anger? A retreatant reported experiencing lots of energy during sittings, mostly generated by feeling angry about the sitting itself. … Read More