Wildmind

Also available online at http://www.wildmind.org/newsletter/200606.html

June 2006


Our Online Meditation Courses

A student writes...

"The readings were very thought provoking and gave me glimpses of insight and direction. But the most rewarding parts were your insights and encouragement. I feel renewed in my determination to continue down this path whole-heartedly. Thank you very much."


Course Schedules

Plan ahead if you're interested in taking one of our courses! You can sign up for any course at any time.

Upcoming course dates are:

Starting May 29, 2006:

The Path of Mindfulness and Love (4w)
Change Your Mind (4w)
Awakening the Heart (4w)
Entering the Path of Insight (4w)

Starting September 5, 2006:

""The Path of Mindfulness and Love (4w)
""Change Your Mind (4w)
""Awakening the Heart (4w)
""Entering the Path of Insight (4w)
""Living the Skillful Life (8w)
""Karma, Rebirth, and the Psychology of the Six Realms (8w)
""Conditionality: The Central Teaching of Buddhism (8w)
""Mindfulness in Daily Life (4w)


Seven Great Reasons to take a meditation course online:

  1. Personal attention: In your online journal you’ll have an ongoing practice discussion with your teacher, who will give you encouragement and personal feedback based on many years’ experience of meditation.
  2. Personal attention: In your online journal you'll
  3. Depth: As you reflect in your journal, get feedback, and gain new insights, you’ll take your meditation practice to a new level of effectiveness.
  4. Quality: Access to outstanding written and audiovisual materials online.
  5. Support: You’ll benefit from the discipline of a structured four-week course.
  6. Convenience: Log on when you want, fitting classes into your schedule when it’s convenient.
  7. Flexibility: Download audio files that will guide you through meditation at any time.
  8. Availability: There are many opportunities each year to take a course. See the dates above for details.

Dear Wildmind Subscriber,

In this month's issue, we bring you our usual round-up of the latest international news on meditation. What's remarkable about this set of stories is how as a whole, they are a barometer of how much meditation is becoming an accepted part of our culture. You'll read about meditation in schools, its role in different contemporary faiths, how it serves as one man's inspiration for dance, and other diverse stories reflecting many different realms of our everyday modern lives.

We also bring you a review of a book by Thich Nhat Hanh on the Zen response to terrorism, as well as our usual quote of the month.

Enjoy!


In this issue:

  • Wildmind's meditation courses
  • Meditation in the news
  • Our new policy: courses by donation
  • Buddhism Behind Bars project
  • Support our translation project
  • Quote of the month
  • Book review: Thich Nhat Hanh on terrorism

Our next online meditation courses start Monday, May 29.

Meditating has been shown in clinical studies to boost the cerebral cortex, to slow the brain's aging, to improve the body's ability to fight disease, and to promote feelings of wellbeing.

If you've ever been curious to find out more about meditation's powerful potential for reducing stress, staying healthy, and for encouraging conscious relaxation, sign up for one of our convenient online meditation courses.

These four-week courses offer a content-rich experience and interactive experience, with online readings, guided meditations in MP3 and RealAudio format that you can download to your computer, a discussion forum, and personal attention in your online journal. And you have access to all these things 24/7.

Our courses are suitable for anyone from complete beginners to more experienced practitioners. You'll learn powerful techniques for reducing stress and developing patience, relaxation, and calmness in a friendly and supportive environment.

Our March online courses will be led by Sunada, an experienced teacher who has been meditating for over ten years. Having established her own practice while working full-time in high tech and then in arts administration, she understands the challenges of balancing a meditation practice with a busy life.

sunada

Our next online meditation courses -- for all levels from beginners onwards -- start Monday, May 29. Make sure you book your place now.


Our new policy: courses by donation

We've decided to make our courses available by donation. traditionally, Buddhist monks and nuns went from door to door, where householders would donate food to help support them. And the monks and nuns would practice meditation and give teachings. The alms that householders were giving were not regarded as "payment" for the teachings they received.

We think that an "economy" based on mutual giving is a beautiful ideal and we've decided to emulate that. So now, rather than having fixed charges for our courses we have suggested donations, based on how much it costs to support a teacher and the infrastucture that we need in order to teach. Generally, for a four-week course this comes to $90, while for an eight-week course it's about $150.

Students are free to give more or less, depending on their circumstances. We're going to try this policy on an experimental basis for a few months and see how it goes!


Meditation in the News

May 23 Everything is interconnected - meditation for reflection (BellaOnline) We see variety in the world; different looking people and objects. But, going a little deeper within each form on the physical level, we find all are made up of atoms.

May 23 Find peace with Warwick Buddhists (Leamington Spa-Courier) Lessons in the useful art of meditation are also on offer, which can help in everyday life.

May 22 Exercise in pain relief (Swindon Advertiser) More than 5,000 years of Chinese medicine and meditation has come to help relieve arthritis pain.

May 22 Disease opens door to meditation (The Warrnambool Standard) A complete life overhaul came as she found a new spiritual calling towards the calming technique of meditation.

May 21 Lin draws on human spirit for inspiration (CNN.com) Lin began experimenting with the dance form, drawing ideas and inspiration from areas such as Asian folklore, the art of meditation and the discipline of Tai Chi.

May 21 Calming the mind (Gilroy Dispatch) trapped upside down in his car after it flipped over on a slippery Hecker Pass Road in Gilroy in April, John Martinu did the only thing he could think to do under the circumstances: He practiced his Buddhist meditation exercises.

May 20 Meditation has a role in our faiths (The Kansas City Star) It turns out meditation is one of those techniques or traditions that crosses all kinds of religious lines.

May 19 Cultivating a quiet mind (Star tribune) A Minneapolis Buddhist center advocates meditation as the best way to understand and help oneself and others.

May 19 Lodge's lovely setting is part of cancer treatment (Newhouse News Service) Western doctors now incorporate the Eastern therapies of acupuncture and meditation, even at such traditional facilities as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

May 17 Buddhist spectrum (Daily News Online) From meditation arises wisdom. Without meditation wisdom wanes.

May 16 Meditation brings calm in medical storm (Burlington Free Press) Through the use of meditation you can reach a point where you feel pain but you don't suffer.

May 16 Yoga lessons for Hyderabad jail inmates (IBN Live) Prison Smart, the yoga programme aimed at stress management and rehabilitation training of the prisoners has been introduced in the Central Prison of Cheralapalli.

May 16 Large NCI grant will test the effect of Tibetan yoga on women with breast cancer (Medical News Today) A large randomized trial will compare Tibetan yoga versus simple stretching or usual care in women who will also be undergoing chemotherapy.

May 13 Nourish the soul (Gilroy Dispatch) Everyday life at the monastery involves rituals of meditation, meals, and the upkeep of the grounds and buildings.

May 11 Unable to talk about Katrina, kids draw (The Boston Globe) Shaffer (trained in stress relaxation, art therapy, music therapy and meditation) says they start out with a fresh perspective on their existence, which is gratitude for being alive.

May 10 The hidden side of happiness (Psychology Today) The phenomenon is akin to what Zen Buddhists strive to attain in meditation or what people report about religious rapture.

May 10 Meditation, peace of mind (Tenerife News) All types of meditation have a similar goal: to relax the mind, change and control negative thought patterns and to improve awareness of ourselves and others.

May 9 In Karma we trust (eMedia Wire) "We're taking a risk," says Bodhipaksa, director of Wildmind, "but we feel it's important for these classes to be available to anyone, regardless of how much money they have."

May 8 Lessons on meditation from spiritual masters old and new (Catholic News Service) The author is a "disciple of Jesus" whose spirituality has been nourished by the practice of mindfulness meditation and the teachings of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

May 8 Meditating brains (ScienCentral News) Certain areas of the cortex -- the outer layer of the brain that contains our thinking, reasoning and decision-making functions -- were significantly thicker in meditators.

May 7 Your guide to yoga (Asbury Park Press) Let go of stress and anxiety by making the mind-body connection.

May 6 Conference promotes meditation in school (The Boston Globe) To sit quietly in a deep rest for 20 minutes at the start and end of the school day allows the brain to tap into a reservoir of energy and intelligence.

May 6 Meditation improves mental health (SooNews) The best way to avoid [depression] relapse isn't medication, but meditation.

May 5 Students learn to relax with weekly meditation classes (News Shopper) Some pupils are already showing signs of increased concentration in class.

May 4 Preksha meditation can cure heart diseases (Ludhiana Newsline) Strong scientific evidence was provided for the efficacy of Jain method of preksha meditation and preksha yoga in managing heart diseases.

May 3 treatment options, from medicine to meditation (The Seattle Times) The practice of transcendental meditation has worked wonders for some children [with ADHD].

May 3 Health benefits of meditation (Mathaba.net) No longer just for Buddhist monks and New-Age types, meditation is now appealing to mainstream business professionals, medical doctors and even health care companies.

May 2 Visual meditation (myss.com) An on-line meditation video developed by Caroline Myss, Ph.D.

May 2 At one with dual devotion (Los Angeles Times) `JuBus' blend the communal rituals of Judaism with the quiet solitude of Buddhism.

May 1 The Yoga of Sound (Vision Magazine) A large part of our consciousness revolves around sound and music.

May 1 TIME honors UW professor (The Badger Herald) Davidson's research led to the groundbreaking discovery that activities like meditation could in fact "train" the mind to react to situations with positive emotions.


buddhism behind bars

 

Support the Buddhism Behind Bars project

Buddhism Behind Bars is a book that Wildmind plans to publish in late 2006 or early 2007. It will be a compilation of writings by inmates and prison volunteers about how meditation and Buddhist practice have transformed lives. We're making this project an educational opportunity for inmates. Each writer is assigned a writing mentor who will help the prisoner to find his voice in order to tell his story effectively.

We will also make copies of Buddhism Behind Bars available free of charge to inmates. To help us reach as many inmates as possible, please consider making a donation to support our work.


begging monk

Support our translation project

Our mission is to benefit the world by promoting mindfulness and compassion 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 are tax deductible and go to our translation fund, which aims to help us translate Wildmind into other languages. We now have French, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian versions of the site online, and a Polish version is in preparation.


Duke Ellington

Quote of the Month

"I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues." - Duke Ellington

We all have days when we feel like pouting - when we feel angry, irritable, upset, depressed, hurt, lonely, or any number of unpleasant feelings. And when we feel that way, it seems only natural to want to avoid our pain. So we come up with all sorts of ways to try and throw it off - we blame others for our misfortune; wish for a better job, more money, a different partner or what have you; and tell ourselves all sorts of "stories" of how it used to be or could be if only things were different. But really, these approaches aren't helpful at all. We're either making things worse by spreading our bad mood around, or at best shoving our problems under the proverbial rug and not really dealing with them.

Duke Ellington had a much better approach. He faced his pain squarely, right in the eyes, and got to understand his humanity so well that he could use it to touch other people's hearts. This takes tremendous courage - to sit with our pain, really feel it, be with it, and open ourselves up to our inner softness and vulnerability. It's a radical notion. To befriend our own pain sounds quite counterintuitive. But in fact, it can be the key to unlocking our capacity to connect with others through our shared experience of this fallible human life.

Even if we don't have the talent of Duke Ellington, it's still something that we all could do more of. Rather than spending all that energy avoiding our suffering, we could try to befriend it openly. It's when we find the courage to let down our guard - those brick walls we build around our hearts to keep out the pain - that we find ourselves more able to open up to the beauty in life. It draws out our compassionate hearts, which can't help but reach out to others and see the loveliness and lovable in midst of all the suffering in our world.

Meditation can help us to find our way into our compassionate hearts. Developing our capacity for mindfulness helps us to be more aware of our emotions and how we respond to them day by day. The Metta Bhavana, which is a practice for cultivating loving-kindness, helps us to nourish our hearts and allow our natural ability to love grow and flourish. The most constructive thing we can do for our messed up world out there is to work on our own worlds within ourselves.

- Sunada


book cover

Book Review

Calming the Fearful Mind: A Zen Response to Terrorism, by Thich Nhat Hanh. (Wisdom Publications, 2006)

Vietnamese Buddhist monk and human rights activist Thich Nhat Hanh has a way of speaking with simple, direct compassion. In this response to the age of terror, he eschews complex political analysis or critique of institutions and talks about the response of the individual human heart. In place of isolationism based on fear, he has a vision of an America at ease with itself and the world. He addresses himself to soldiers, entertainers, Members of Congress, but mostly to ordinary American citizens of all political and religious persuasions.

He begins by looking deeply at the nature of suffering, drawing from his realization during the Vietnam War that the Americans, as well as the Vietnamese, were suffering. When he saw this, he found that his anger turned to compassion. Nowadays, seeing that America’s action in the world is still based on misunderstanding and fear, he suggests that the way to lessen it is not through ever-tighter security, but through understanding and compassion. He then goes right to the roots of the problem, exploring the consequences of ordinary day-to-day actions, such as the food we eat and the movies we watch. He invites us to consider our deepest desires in life, to be more conscious of our minds and actions. There will be peace in the world, he says, when we truly come home to ourselves.

In places, the truths spoken in the book sound as if they come from wide-eyed unworldliness. Yet they come from a man whose counsel has been sought by very powerful people, and who inspired Martin Luther King to make public his opposition to the Vietnam War. truth is at its most telling when simply stated and when free from blame or hatred.

Thich Nhat Hanh seeks to understand the fear and anger of ordinary people. He sets out constructive suggestions that honor our need for security, while not ignoring our deep need for peace and well-being. These include both individual actions, as well as ways in which we can come together more harmoniously.

To those in the peace movement, the book is a challenge to see peacemaking as a continuous process, resisting the tendency not to do anything until the worst happens. And the book ends by drawing attention to an often neglected and yet momentous subject—a plea to reassert the ideal of the United Nations as a true family of nations, where national interests can be put aside in the name of global community.

This is a book for anyone who wishes to heal the fear and divisiveness born of our current world situation, either within themselves, or in other people.

Akuppa is a Buddhist who works on peace and ecological issues in the UK and is author of "Touching the Earth: A Buddhist Guide to Saving the Planet."


Copyright (c) 2006, Wildmind Meditation Services.
Wildmind Meditation Services Inc., PO Box 212, Newmarket NH 03857, USA.
1-8777-MEDIT8

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