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Nov 05, 2014

An open letter to President Obama from the Buddhist Teachers Network

"Official portrait of Barack Obama" by Pete Souza, The Obama-Biden Transition Project - http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/new_official_portrait_released/. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Official_portrait_of_Barack_Obama.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Official_portrait_of_Barack_Obama.jpgTO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
from the BUDDHIST TEACHERS NETWORK

URGING YOU TO ADDRESS ANTI-MUSLIM VIOLENCE AT THE UPCOMING ASEAN MEETING IN BURMA/MYANMAR

Dear President Obama,

We as 381 Buddhist Teachers in America represent a large community that is deeply concerned about the growing anti Muslim violence in Myanmar and across Asia, and the plight of the 1.3 million Rohingyas, many forced to live against their will in inhumane internment camps and permanent ghettoized communities. We know you have been supportive of all Burmese people and have encouraged peace and reconciliation …

Meditation may benefit breast cancer survivors

wildmind meditation newsPractising mindfulness meditation can have a positive physical impact at the cellular level in breast cancer survivors, a new study has found.

Canadian researchers from Alberta Health Services’ Tom Baker Cancer Centre and the University of Calgary Department of Oncology have demonstrated that telomeres – protein complexes at the end of chromosomes – maintain their length in breast cancer survivors who practise meditation or are involved in support groups, while they shorten in a comparison group without any intervention.

Although the disease-regulating properties of telomeres aren’t fully understood, shortened telomeres are associated with several disease states, as well as cell ageing, while longer …

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Researchers link mindfulness to healthy body, lifestyle

wildmind meditation newsElena Weissman, Brown Daily Herald: Practices of mindfulness, such as meditation, may affect more than just the mind. According to a recent study conducted by University researchers, these activities may also potentially benefit cardiovascular health.

Headed by Eric Loucks, assistant professor of epidemiology, the research team measured cardiovascular risk factors and levels of mindfulness among 382 middle-aged people in 2010 as part of the wider New England Family Study. They found a significant correlation between mindfulness and four of the seven risk factors, as well as a positive relationship with physical activity and a negative one with smoking, BMI and fasting glucose.

Mindfulness …

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Nov 03, 2014

Step three: Embracing impermanence to show us that our suffering can end

sand in handsAs I reflect on this step, I can’t but help say a prayer for my dear friend, who hung herself last month, because as she wrote in her note, ‘life was too painful’. Sadly my friend is not unique in thinking this, many people have these thoughts, and some of these people eventually take their lives.

Is there anything we can do to help someone who expresses such pain?

Whatever we do it has to be unconditional. That said, the Buddhist teachings can be so optimistic, so liberating if we are ready for the teachings to appear in our lives. Living with the truth of impermanence can help us to find freedom. …

Nov 02, 2014

Check out Stoic Week 2014

stoicism

Stoic Week 2014 is an online international event taking place from Monday 24th to Sunday 30th November. The week is part of a multi-disciplinary project called Stoicism Today, which is helping to revive the ancient philosophy of Stoicism in modern life.

I’ve mentioned stoicism on this blog before, in articles based on quotes by Marcus Aurelius, who I’ve described as “the original Western Buddhist” because of stoicism’s striking similarities …

Oct 31, 2014

Another great self-compassion resource

hands holding heart-shaped leavesThis morning I shared some resources I’d put together on the subject of self-compassion, but I just realized that there’s another great resource of mine that I can point you to. It’ll be especially ideal if you can’t make it to my November 22 workshop at the NY Insight Meditation Center, or a good primer if you can.

This resource is a video presentation on “How to Stop Beating Yourself Up,” on En*Theos Academy, which is a kind of Netflix for spirituality and personal development.

This class presents my latest teaching shared in a fun, high energy, 30-minute video format (you can also download MP3s and a PDF for …

Oct 31, 2014

How to stop beating yourself up

Marmorherz“How to stop beating yourself up” is a workshop I’m teaching at the New York Insight Meditation Center on November 22. In this workshop I’ll be introducing, step-by-step, the skills of self-compassion. If you live in the area I hope you’ll be able to join me. Click here for more information on the workshop.

But we have a world-wide community here, and most of you won’t be able to attend.

I hear from a lot of people around the world who create suffering for themselves through self-criticism and self-hatred, and so I want to share some articles on self-compassion that I hope will be helpful. (And if you do live near NYC, …

The ‘mindfulness’ craze: headaches to come

wildmind meditation newsRob Asghar, Forbes: How did something like “mindfulness” become the latest workplace craze anyway? And why are its fans increasingly egging on their colleagues, insisting “You gotta try this stuff”?

The simple answer is that many people now see mindful meditation as a powerful way to quiet their minds, calm their emotions and experience psychological and medical benefits as a result. Many practitioners now liken it to a movement, something that could save our world.

As it spreads, I suspect we’ll see some pushback:

  • Some of its more zealous fans will show the proselytizing zeal you associate with those Jehovah’s Witnesses who knock …

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Oct 31, 2014

The teaching of the zombie Buddha

fasting bodhisattaBy day I’m a peace-loving Buddhist; by night a fearless zombie slayer.

That second part isn’t entirely true. Last night I didn’t actually slay any zombies, and I certainly wasn’t fearless. In fact I was terrified as I cowered inside my car as a ravening undead creature tried to force its head through the half-open window, growling and gnashing with its fearful, gaping maw. I tried to stab at it with a pointed stick, but never quite made contact. (Pointed sticks are for vampires, I know, but you have to use the tools available to you, and that’s what I had at hand.)

As it happens, this was just one of the …

Mindfulness and meditation: two steps toward better health

wildmind meditation newsRichard Taite, Psych Central: Regular meditation along with a mindful lifestyle path can help individuals control and recover from many mental health disorders. Meditation is a practice of training the mind to induce another state of consciousness or bring attention to a particular point. Mindfulness refers to a psychological quality that involves bringing one’s complete attention to present experience on a moment-to-moment basis, in a specific way and nonjudgmentally.

A recent study examined associations of mindfulness with mental health and the mechanisms of mindfulness in experienced meditators practicing various meditation styles. Researchers wanted to know if mindfulness and meditation helped people overcome anxiety …

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