www.wildmind.org Wildmind

http://www.wildmind.org/newsletter/200405.html


May 2004


Our Online Meditation Courses

Life member program

  Life Member Program ($95)

  "The Path of Mindfulness and Love" ($65)

  "Change Your Mind" ($65)

  "Awakening the Heart" ($65)

  "Entering the Path of Insight" ($65)


Course Schedule for 2004

Bodhipaksa is taking a few more breaks this year in order to go on retreats, to teach a summer course at the University of New Hampshire, and to concentrate on writing projects, so please remember to plan ahead if you're interested in taking one of our courses. You can sign up for any course at any time.

Courses start on the following dates:

  May 3, 2004
  Sept 6, 2004
  Oct 4, 2004
  Nov 1, 2004
  Nov 29, 2004


Seven Great Reasons to take a meditation course online:

  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 over 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: There are many opportunities each year to take a course. See the dates above for details.

A current student writes...

What can I say? These weeks went by astonishingly quickly. I enjoyed the 'talks' we had so very much, as I did the discussions at the forum. I have digitally saved every morsel of information - be they RealAudio recordings or PDF files - and I feel quite certain they will be used and revisited quite frequently . I am very much interested in taking further online courses at Wildmind.

 

Dear Wildmind Subscriber,

Welcome to our latest, and slightly redesigned, newsletter.

Once again we bring you a roundup of recent news-stories about meditation, a book recommendation, a quote of the month with commentary -- and of course news about Wildmind's forthcoming online meditation courses as well as a workshop Bodhipaksa is leading in New York City..

Our online meditation courses can help you to achieve your full potential, so that you can experience more freedom from stress, happiness, and creativity in your life. Make sure you book your place now so that you can experience the benefits of meditation.

Our next online meditation courses start Monday, May 3. This is the last course before Bodhipaksa's summer break, when he'll be visiting the UK, teaching at the University of New Hampshire, and concentrating on writing. The following course will be in September.


In this issue:

  • Meditation in the news
  • Support our translation project
  • Workshop in NYC
  • Our online courses
  • Book of the month
  • Quote of the month

Meditation in the news

Here are last month's news stories concerning meditation, from meditation being taught to stressed executives on Indian airplanes, to the health benefits of meditation in reducing blood pressure in African-American teens.

Air Sahara introduces meditation sessions for passengers (Khaleej Times, India)
An Indian airliner has decided to introduce meditation sessions on flights beginning on Thursday to help passengers use their flight time to relieve stress.

How Buddhism was reincarnated (The Toronto Star, Canada)
By rights, Tibetan Buddhism should have faded like the dying light in a thousand butter lamps before a thousand knowing Buddhas. But something extraordinary happened after the Dalai Lama rode a mountain pony into exile in 1959, disguised as a soldier, his glasses in his pocket: Tibetan Buddhism found a new incarnation.

The Pursuit of Happiness (Phayul, Tibet)
Erin Gammel is a shoo-in for the Canadian Olympic swim team. Canadian record holder, champion backstroker - unless something wildly unexpected happens, she's going to Athens. But four years ago she was a sure bet for the Sydney Olympics, too. "Everyone kept telling me you're a shoo-in," she says. "And we had the strategy and everything was perfect. And I thought this is it, I'm going to the Olympics."

Review: 'In Praise of Slowness' a manifesto on deceleration (Star tribune)
A few years back, Canadian journalist Carl Honore decided to put the brakes on his life after hearing about an absurd concept: The one-minute bedtime story. Honoré was bothered by the idea of a 60-second "Little Red Riding Hood," but he was bothered more by how much it initially appealed to him. However hyperactive modern life is, he realized, fast-forwarding through quality time is even worse. There is, he notes, "a gnawing disconnect between what we want from life and what we can realistically have, which feeds the sense that there is never enough time."

Spirituality Joins S*x, Shoes in Women's Magazine (Yahoo! News)
Is this a sign of the times or what? The British edition of Cosmopolitan, the glossy bible of s*x and shopping for the single girl, has launched a new monthly column on spirituality.

Self-exploration is key to finding the spiritual in your work (The Arizona Republic)
Socrates was right: "The unexamined life is not worth living." But for 21st-century Americans, self-examination is unnatural. Some people, especially men, act as if personal reflection is only for wimps. We find it easy to criticize others, from the boss to co-workers to the "system," but many of us are reluctant to shine a critical light on ourselves.

Giving new meaning to food for thought (Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Indiana)
Last summer, while vacationing at Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York, I caught a lecture by a psychologist from Florida. I can't remember what he talked about. But I can still see him, neatly groomed and quiet spoken, telling those gathered about his plans for dinner that night. He had already packed his food in a brown bag, he said. He intended to spend a full hour eating alone in an open, grassy area, where he would chew each bite and savor each taste. What he described was the practice of eating mindfully.

A monk's milieu (The Statesman, UK)
Till the age of 21, Tenzin Norbu had not seen a car. Or a television set. Or even the household refrigerator. In fact, he had not even seen a tree. He might have been living in a different planet altogether. Actually, that's how most people regard Jupal, the village he comes from.

Stop meditating our children (Globe and Mail, Canada)
David Lynch's latest production may not involve talking logs or dancing dwarves, but it is, nonetheless, bizarre. The Twin Peaks auteur, who has been meditating for 90 minutes twice a day for the past 30 years, recently became the spokesman for an initiative called the Committee for Stress-Free Schools, which aims to introduce transcendental meditation into classrooms across the United States as a way to combat the stress of high school and improve grades.

Buddha's way is best if you want to combat stress (The Times, London)
In case more than 20 centuries of gruelling spiritual journeys towards harmony and balance have not persuaded you, scientists have now proved that Buddhist meditation relieves stress. Researchers at Wisconsin University monitored the brain activity of 25 randomly chosen individuals and concluded that Buddhist meditation causes a significant reduction in anxiety and correspondingly increased levels of positive emotions.

Proponents want schools to introduce meditation (Access North Georgia)
A group of people who practice transcendental Meditation want officials to consider introducing the technique into Lexington's public schools.

Christian Meditation: Death of the Self (The Times of India)
The practice of Christian meditation dates back to the beginning of Christianity; its objective is to daily 'empty the self' to experience the fullness of God. It is consonant with Jesus's invitation to his disciples to take up their cross daily and follow him. It is central to Easter celebrations, 'dying' to rise to a New Life.

Meditation Lowers Blood Pressure in Teens (Health Day)
Black teens at risk of becoming hypertensive adults lowered their pressures with just two 15-minute meditation sessions a day, a Georgia physiologist reports.

A Forest Monk's Lesson in the New York Jungle (New York Times)
The stolen bag did not contain much in the way of material value. But its sudden absence greatly distressed the Buddhist monk who had been victimized, and so the police were summoned to the scene of the crime: a Starbucks at the opulent trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.


Bodhipaksa

Meditation Day in NYC, June 6

Bodhipaksa will be leading a day exploring Mindfulness in New York City on Sunday, June 6, from 10 am to 4 pm. The seminar will take place at 17 West 95th (apartment 3, "Fletcher") and costs $30. The nearest subway is the B or C line on West 96th.

Call (212) 749-0942 for further information.


begging bowl

Support our translation project

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 donation can help us enormously. You can give as little as a dollar, but of course feel free to give as much as you want!

All contributions will go to our translation fund, which aims to help us translate Wildmind into other languages in order to help people around the world develop mindfulness and compassion.


 

marcus antonius

Quote of the month

"Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief, than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved. "

-- Marcus Antonius

Shantideva, an 8th Century Indian teacher, said that although we all desire happiness, we destroy it as if it were an enemy, and that although we all want to avoid suffering, we embrace it as if it were an old friend.

The difference between what we want in life and what we actually get is delusion -- our inability to connect our actions and the consequences those actions give rise to. We tend to assume on some level that anger will help to protect us, and yet the "protection" can often be more painful to us than the thing we're trying to guard ourselves against.

Meditation helps us to notice what's actually happening in the mind. It allows us to notice that at the very moment we're angry we are suffering as a result of that anger. It also allows us to see other suffering that emerges later on as a consequence of our anger -- regret, perhaps, or maybe that other people are fearful or aggressive around us.

As we develop a greater degree of mindfulness, we start to consider the consequences of our actions even before we perform them. As we see anger arising, we can consider where it is likely to take us so that we can consider whether we actually want to go there. Now of course there may well be times when anger is appropriate and helpful, but there are undoubtedly many more times when it is not. The important thing is that without mindfulness we are unable to recognize that we even have a choice.

Bodhipaksa


book cover

Faith: trusting Your Own Deepest Experience
by Sharon Salzberg (paperback, $10.40)

(Click on the title to purchase from Amazon.com, or click here to purchase from Amazon.co.uk, paperback £14.79)

I read Sharon's latest book shortly before going on a recent retreat that she was leading. When I had the opportunity to talk to her about it, I mentioned that I considered it to be, in terms of quality and depth, a quantum leap ahead of anything else she had written. She answered simply, "I know".

That answer actually says a lot to me about the effect that writing "Faith" has had on Sharon's life. Writing "Faith" has evidently been a practice in its own right, and one of the most noticeable qualities that has emerged from the process is ... faith. Her "I know" was not a statement that communicated arrogance; there was nothing inflated about it. Instead it was a simple acknowledgment of what she took to be the truth. It was a statement of confidence -- of faith.

"Faith" is a work of spiritual autobiography, but the thread that hold everything together is not so much the chronology of events in Sharon's life -- a succession of teachers, for the most part -- but a deepening understanding of, and confidence in, herself. It is this confidence that is known, in Buddhism, as faith.

Two events in the book stand out for me. One is Sharon's account of spending time with her friend Ram Dass after his stroke in 1997, a stroke that left this unusually fluent teacher with only halting powers of speech. He asks how her new book ("Faith") is coming along. She replies that it's never been so hard to reach inside herself, then corrects herself; it's never been so hard to reach inside herself and to bring it outside in words. Ram Dass answers, "It's like that for me every day now".

The other account that particularly moved me was her visit, with Joseph Goldstein, to see their Tibetan teacher, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche, as he was dying of cancer. She describes the realization she had that she had been going for refuge to Rinpoche rather than with him; bathing in the glow of his wisdom and marveling at his insights, rather than using those insights to change her own life.

From such incidents Sharon shows how from experiences of suffering can arise great faith; how life in fact is our greatest teacher. She writes with a complete honesty and total lack of sentimental gloss, showing in her style what she shows in her words; that when we embrace life, with its often painful changes, we embrace our own potential for wisdom and compassion -- and for a truly meaningful and satisfying life.

This is a message that is profoundly encouraging, and Sharon is evidence that although you can have an immense amount of suffering in your life, you can face up to that and come through the other side as a warm, compassionate, and wise being.

I consider this to be one of the most important works of spiritual autobiography in modern times, and highly recommend it as a source of inspirations to all struggling beings everywhere.

Bodhipaksa


Copyright © 2004, Bodhipaksa.
Wildmind, PO Box 212, Newmarket NH 03857, USA.

If you were forwarded this newsletter by a friend and want to sign up, you can join our mailing list here.