www.wildmind.org Wildmind

October 2003

Dear Wildmind Subscriber,

Welcome to Wildmind's latest newsletter! As usual, we have a roundup of recent news-stories about meditation, a book recommendation, a quote of the month with commentary by Bodhipaksa, and of course news about our forthcoming courses.

Our next online meditation courses start Monday, October 6. Our courses can help you to deal more effectively with stress, so that you can experience more joy and creativity in your life. Make sure you book your place now so that you can experience the benefits of meditation.

In this issue:

  • Meditation in the news
  • Interview with Joseph Goldstein
  • Give $1 to Wildmind
  • Our online courses
  • Book of the month
  • Quote of the month

Meditation in the news

We've been busy collecting together recent news stories concerning meditation. The news has recently been full of meditation stories because of the Dalai Lama's visit to the US, and in particular his Mind and Life seminar with leading Buddhists and neuroscientists at MIT.

The Healing Power of Meditation (MSN)

Meditation has newfound popularity (Billings Gazette, Montana)

Dalai Lama: Moment for Meditation (MSN)

Log on and bliss out: It's virtual meditation (Globe & Mail, Canada)

Man's mission is to bring meditation to blacks in U.S. (Star Telegram, Texas)

Meditation's Real Effects on Health (Mercola.com)

Meditation medication of the future (The Star, South Africa)

Dalai Lama takes message to arena (Boston Globe)

Tense teens, adults flock to meditation (Contra Costa Times, California)

Buddhism and mind science (Hindustan Times, India)

The Buddha of suburbia (Boston Globe)

Karmapa's tutor released (Phayul, India)

Religion in the News (Sun Herald, Mississippi)


Interview with Joseph Goldstein

Last week Bodhipaksa traveled down to the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where Joseph Goldstein took a break from a three month retreat to talk about his latest book, One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism (see "Book of the Month", below). The results of this fascinating discussion will be published in Dharma Life magazine, published in the UK by the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. We'll let you know when the article appears.

begging bowl


Give $1 to Wildmind

Our mission is to benefit the world by promoting awareness and compassionate values through the practice of meditation.

If you've benefited from our site and would like to give something back, then making a small donation can help us enormously. Of course you can feel free to give more than a dollar!

Title: Seven great reasons to learn meditation with Wildmind
  1. Personal attention: In your online journal you'll have an ongoing practice discussion with Bodhipaksa, who will give you encouragement and personal feedback based on 20 years' experience of meditation.
  2. Depth: As you reflect in your journal, get feedback, and gain insights from learning new practices, you'll take your meditation practice to a new level of effectiveness.
  3. Quality: Access to outstanding written and audiovisual materials online.
  4. Support: You'll benefit from the discipline of a structured four-week course.
  5. Convenience: Log on when you want, fitting classes into your schedule when it's convenient.
  6. Flexibility: Download audio files that will guide you through meditation at any time.
  7. Availability: Courses start every month -- check the website for dates.

A Current Student Speaks

"The Mindfulness of Breathing has helped in getting me to calm down at home and being able to practice mindfulness in my every day life. When I feel tension, I take a few deep breaths and think "Relax". I guess the neurons and synapses are starting to get the message. I get relaxed pretty quick now."

Jerry, Michegan, USA.

Our online courses

We offer four online courses as well as our popular Life Member Program. For more information, click on any of the photographs or links and you'll be taken to our online store, where more details are available.

Our next online courses start on Monday, October 6.
Book your place now!

Life member program
Life Member Program

Lifelong access to all of our course materials, but without personal feedback and guidance. Suitable for self-directed students. ($95)

The Path of Mindfulness and Love

"The Path of Mindfulness and Love"

Our introduction to meditation, helping you to transform your life through mindfulness and lovingkindness, and helping you to set up a regular practice. ($65)

Change Your Mind

"Change Your Mind"

A level two course, introducing advanced techniques for combating negative mental states and for cultivating calmness, energy, contentment, and concentration. ($65)

Entering the Path of Insight
"Entering the Path of Insight"

Introducing the practice of insight meditation, which helps us to appreciate the interdependent nature of the reality we live in. ($65)

Awakening the Heart
"Awakening the Heart"

An alternative level two course, introducing the cultivation of lovingkindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and emotional balance. ($65)

book cover

Book of the month

One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism by Joseph Goldstein (Paperback, $17.47)

If you want to buy this book from Amazon.com, click on the cover or title above. To purchase from Amazon.co.uk, click here.

This is the second month in a row we've reviewed a book by Joseph Goldstein. Yes, we like Joseph's books! Goldstein has been meditating in the Theravadin tradition since the 1960's, and is one of the founders of the Insight Meditation Society. So it's interesting that for the last few years he's also been practicing in a Tibetan meditation tradition called Dzog-chen.

Although the practices of Insight Meditation and Dzog-chen are quite similar, their theoretical and metaphysical underpinnings are very different indeed, and One Dharma has emerged from the creative tension that comes about from practicing two very different forms of Buddhism.

Goldstein is not alone in following teachings from more than one Buddhist school. In the cultural melting-pot that is the West, more and more people are seeking spiritual advice from more than one teacher. This inevitably brings up important questions such as, what is essential in each tradition? Strip away the cultural accretions, and what are you left with? If traditions differ on important points, is only one of them right? Or could it be that all Buddhist teachings are simply "Skillful Means" -- fingers pointing at the truth, where the finger itself is just showing the way? This is the territory that Goldstein explores.

He expounds an approach to the Buddhist path that is nonsectarian, and which is based on the practice of Mindfulness and the cultivation of Wisdom and Compassion. He skillfully outlines the universally applicable practice of Buddhist ethics, gives an explanation of mindfulness and lovingkindness (practices taught on Wildmind), explains various approaches to cultivating Compassion, and elucidates the cultivation of Wisdom through the practice of non-clinging.

This is an ambitious book, and with any ambitious project there is scope for improvement. The meditation instruction is rather thin, for example. But on the whole this is a fascinating book, of interest to anyone who is exploring the Buddhist path and who is trying to make sense of the bewildering array of Buddhist teachings on offer in the West. Goldstein offers a clear outline of the most fundamental Buddhist principles. Having understood those we are in a far better position to reconcile apparently contradictory teachings and approaches.

This book is, as Daniel Goleman says on the dust-jacket, "a brilliant map of the spiritual path."

If you want to buy this book from Amazon.com, click on the cover or title above. To purchase from Amazon.co.uk, click here.

w h murray

Quote of the month

"Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

that the moment one commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way."

W. H. Murray (1913-1996)

I've experienced the truth of W.H. Murray's observation many times in my own life. Providence may not put in an immediate appearance when one commits oneself, but when we sincerely try to undertake an act of creation, we start to notice opportunities that didn't seem to be present before.

I won't go into too many details about my own experiences, but I found that by taking a risk and dedicating my life to teaching meditation, many offers of help came in, from CD companies wanting me to collaborate, to offers of magazine articles or workshops.

There's even a scientific explanation for this. When we hold a goal firmly in mind we kick-start a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System. What this little gizmo does is to watch out for things that are significant in our environment. Have you ever learned a new word and start seeing it everywhere? Or bought a blue Subaru and suddenly it seems like the streets are full of them? That's the Reticular Activating System at work, helping you to notice things that are significant to you, that may have been there all along but that you have previously "tuned out" as irrelevant ( because your Reticular Activating System was busy watching out for something else).

If we dedicate our lives to living creatively, we'll start to notice opportunities that were previously invisible to us. Life starts to become an exciting adventure, and the problem becomes not a lack of opportunities but deciding which opportunities are going to be the most helpful in realizing your goals. It's not a bad problem to have.

Meditation can help here in many ways. The practice of mindfulness helps us to still the mind so that we can detect our goals by discovering what is most important in our lives. Often or minds are too busy for us to notice what's essential in life, but as we develop more calmness we start to learn things about ourselves, including what our deepest dreams are.

The ability to concentrate that comes from meditation helps us to keep our goals firmly in mind. Without the power to concentrate, it's impossible to stay focused on a goal, and as our ability to stay focused increases the more likely it is that we'll achieve what we want (and need) in life and that we'll receive the help of providence in attaining our goals.


Copyright © 2003, Bodhipaksa.

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