Amber Bemak has engaged in a formal meditation practice for twenty-four years. She was raised attending family retreats at the Insight Mediation Center in Massachusetts and began her own practice at the age of fourteen. She studied with Michele McDonald for many years and practiced in the Therevadan tradition until 2001, when she was exposed to Tibetan Buddhism and met her teachers Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and Phakchok Rinpoche. She then embarked on the path of Vajrayana practice and has been on this path ever since.
Originally from the United States, she has spent a great deal of time living as a foreigner away from her home country- first living between India and Nepal from 2006-20012, and then moving to Mexico from 2014-2016. During this time, she occupied the position of resident filmmaker for Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery in Nepal on and off over a nine year period, and collaborated with Tibetan NGOs in India on a series of media activism projects during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, among many other amazing adventures, films, and projects. She is currently a professor of film at Southern Methodist University.
Amber Bemak offers instruction on samatha and metta meditation, two techniques which are often practiced together in the Therevadan branch of Buddhism.
The instruction is based on the Mahasi Sayadaw lineage of Therevadan practice. Samatha is focused on concentration and calming the mind, whereas metta is a practice of lovingkindness.
The Mahasi Sayadaw tradition of Therevadan practice comes from Burma, and is currently practiced in many countries, such as Thailand and Burma. In the US, this practice is often referred to as “Insight Meditation.”
Samatha mediation is a beginner’s technique and the entryway meditation practice for both Therevada and Vajrayana mediation practice. It is geared towards focusing and quieting the mind, a necessary state to create in order to do the real exploration that meditation offers.
Metta practice involves actively sending oneself and others (including your friends and enemies) love and good wishes. It is also a concentration practice, although in a different way. It is an incredibly healing and powerful practice.