Wildmind

Also available online at http://www.wildmind.org/newsletter/200607.html

July 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 Schedule

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 August 1, 2006:
 Mindfulness in Daily Life (4w)
 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 Skilful 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 monthly round-up of the latest international news on meditation. You'll read how meditation is being practiced in schools -- even Catholic schools -- as well as being applied in healthcare and to relieve stress amongst lawyers and brides-to-be.

We also are delighted to announce a special offer for the next twenty people who sign up for our Life Member program.

We also bring you a book reviews and our usual quote of the month and commentary.

Enjoy!


In this issue:

  • Life Membership Special Offer!
  • Summer course schedule
  • Meditation in the news
  • Buddhism Behind Bars project
  • Support our translation project
  • Quote of the month
  • Book of the month

Life Membership Special Offer!

Life membership of Wildmind's courses on sale for $100 to the next twenty people to sign up

While signing up for Wildmind courses gives access for only the time that the course is running, our Life Membership program offers unrestricted access to all of Wildmind's course materials -- for life.

The next twenty people who sign up for our Life Member program will get a special rate of $100 (normally $195).

This program currently includes four meditation courses, although we plan to add another course within the next year. The courses included are:

  • The Path of Mindfulness and Love
  • Change Your Mind
  • Opening the Heart
  • The Path of Insight Meditation

Our Life Member program includes those courses set up by Wildmind's staff, and not courses set up by outside teachers. The program includes 24/7 access to our course content and to a discussion forum, but does not include personal guidance from a teacher. This program is ideal for self-directed students.

To sign up for this limited special offer -- applicable only to the next twenty people who sign up -- click here.


Summer Course Schedule

We're having a break for retreats over the summer, but our normal course schedule resumes in August and details can be found in the column to the left. Two new courses, led by Saccanama, will be launched in September.

Mindfulness in Daily Life is a guide to bringing more awareness into your everyday activities. The course includes weekly guided meditations, practical exercises to bring more clarity and mindfulness into your daily schedule, a discussion forum, and personal guidance and feedback from Saddhamala, who has a reputation as a gentle and compassionate teacher.

saddhamala
Saddhamala

Living the Skillful Life is the first in a series exploring the key Buddhist teachings symbolized by the image known as the Wheel of Life. This course explores the nature of Buddhist psychology and Buddhist ethics and provides tools for compassionate living. The series continues with the following two courses taught by Saccanama:

Saccanama's teaching style is characterized by both depth and clarity.

saccanama
Saccanama

If you practice meditation and want to know more about Buddhism, or even if you are just curious to find out what Buddhism really has to say, then this course is ideal for you.

Online meditation courses. Sunada continues to offer our own four-week courses, including our introduction to meditation, The Path of Mindfulness and Love, which provides a systematic introduction to the anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) and metta bhavana (development of lovingkindness) practices. Sunada also teaches our courses for students already familar with these practices: Change Your Mind, Awakening the Heart, and Entering the Path of Insight. These are all four week courses.

Make sure you book your place now.

sunada
Sunada

Sunada is 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.

About our courses

All of our courses offer a content-rich and interactive experience, with online readings, multimedia content such as guided meditations in MP3 or RealAudio format that you can download to your computer, a discussion forum, and personal guidance 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.


Meditation in the News

June 24 Hiking: Take a silent walk and get in touch (The Conway Daily Sun) Many people have the opportunity to do some kind of walking meditation.

June 24 Soothing saffron for thin blue line (The Sydney Morning Herald) The Venerable Ban Ruo sees no conflict between his faith's position of non-violence and ministering to front-line police.

June 23 Bully-proof mantra (Townsville Bulletin) Eleven thousand Catholic school students from the North are learning to meditate in a world-first project to counter stress and schoolyard violence.

June 22 Meditation for life (Tenerife News) It is a way of incorporating a meditative state into your everyday existence and therefore reaping the benefits that meditation brings - relaxation and improved health - every moment of everyday.

June 21 Meditation for stressed out brides (wedlok.com) It helped her calm down and get some perspective so we could come up with some creative solutions.

June 19 Town mixed on plans for 'peace palaces' (The Wichita Eagle) The transcendental Meditation movement wants to build the World Capital of Peace in Smith Center.

June 19 MSU researches spirituality, health (The State News) Imagine getting a prescription for two hours of meditation.

June 17 Mindful meditation (Evansville Courier & Press) Local practitioners find Buddhist method brings profound peace and change to life.

June 12 Breathe your way to a stress-free life (InsideBayArea.com) It's much easier to accept all situations without feeling hassled. If you feel bad or stressed, you know that within the next minute or the next hour, things change.

June 12 Meditation may help heart patients (The Washington Post) Heart disease patients who practiced meditation for four months showed slight improvements in blood pressure and insulin levels.

June 12 Tai chi's benefits include improved muscle mass and tone, increased stamina (The Daily Times) Research has shown tai chi is a useful as a form of exercise that may improve posture, balance, muscle mass and tone, flexibility, stamina, and strength in older adults.

June 8 Yoga stretches research in new directions (CancerWise) The meditation component is very important before we implement any kind of movement in the classes for the study.

June 6 Yoga in bed (CBS News) The DVD features everything from easy-to-master physical poses to meditation practices.

June 5 Meditation in schools? (TheBostonChannel.com) Eastern philosophy gains acceptance in Bay State.

June 5 Yoga helps maintain proper life balance (uticaOD.com) Study: Meditation and the subsequent decrease in stress levels were found to be effective in healping patients free themselves from abusive substances.

June 4 Yoga benefits breast cancer patients (TechNewsWorld) Women going through treatment for breast cancer felt better when they tried yoga, according to one of the first scientific studies of its kind.

June 4 Buddhists gather to open Cleveland's mind (The Plain Dealer) Cleveland's first "Change Your Mind Day" was a success, said Dean Williams, a Willoughby businessman and Buddhist teacher.

June 4 Balance and control (The Villages Daily Sun) Tai chi is about breathing, balance control and meditative movements.

June 4 Peace is his focus, his dream (St. Petersburg Times) It's not what's in the past, it's what you do in everyday life.

June 3 Meditation: a tool for coping with modern life (RedOrbit) Meditation isn't an esoteric practice; it's a necessary survival skill.

June 2 Lawyers contemplate a new practice: meditation (Yahoo! Finance) A fair number of lawyers and others connected to the legal world embrace meditation.


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. The book will be a compilation of writings by inmates and prison volunteers about how meditation and Buddhist practice have transformed lives.

This project provides educational opportunities 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. Giving $100 to this project will provide a writing tutor to help an inmate articulate his experience of practicing Buddhism in prison.

We will also make copies of Buddhism Behind Bars available free of charge to inmates. Giving $10 will pay to produce one copy of the book and ship it to an inmate.

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.


Albert Einstein

Quote of the Month

"You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart."
Derek Walcott

The Nobel Prize-winning poet, Derek Walcott, asks us to imagine a time when we meet ourselves, with elation, at the door, and invite ourselves in to become reacquainted with this "stranger who has loved you / all your life."

It's a beautiful image, and one that has strong resonances for those who practice meditation. We are often strangers to ourselves.

Consider this: How often do we, in our lack of integration, tell ourselves that we're going to do one thing and yet, a day, or perhaps mere seconds later, we find ourselves doing another? The self who made the first decision is in some way a different self from the one who actually caused the action -- whether it be to eat that cookie after saying "enough" or to skip the gym session we committed ourselves to -- and the two selves are strangers to one another.

Consider this: Scientists have shown that unconscious electrical processes in the brain precede our conscious decisions to perform volitional, spontaneous acts. In other words a "stranger within" makes our decisions some seconds before we become consciously aware of the intent to act, while the conscious mind merely claims in retrospect to have initiated volitional acts.

But there are deeper resonances than these. Some Buddhist teachings draw a distinction between mind and consciousness, the former being comprised of the more or less deluded stream of thoughts, feelings, and other mental constructions, while the latter consists of innate, pure awareness. Consciousness is said to be like a mirror, while mind is like the images reflected in the mirror. The mirror, being inherently pure, is never touched by the images it reflects, no matter how impure they may be. The images, although we may take them to be real, are merely illusions.

We all have the tendency to identify with mind -- with the illusory and transitory images -- rather than with the mirror, despite the fact that the images are fleeting and insubstantial, while the mirror itself is primordially present and enduring. And so we are caught up in our own experience, believing that the judgments and evaluations we impose on our experience represent how things really are, thinking that our thoughts and emotions define us, and thinking in fact that they are us.

But some day, if we practice looking in the mirror and see through the images, looking deeply into their transitory and illusory nature nature, we may catch a glimpse -- perhaps more than a glimpse -- of the mirror itself. And to see that mirror will be to see the stranger who is our own deeper nature, our own uncontrived purity, and the stranger that is ourselves will be a stranger no more.

- Bodhipaksa


book cover

Book Review

In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Verses from the Pali Canon. (Wisdom Publications, 2005)

Bhikkhu Bodhi stands as one of the foremost and most prolific modern translators of the Pali canon. He has translated The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (the Samyutta Nikaya) and revised Bhikkhu Ñanamoli's translation of the Majjhima Nikaya (Middle Length Sayings). Both are published by Wisdom Publications, as is the volume under review.

Bhikkhu Bodhi's latest tour de force is this indispensible anthology -- thematically arranged -- of key teachings from each of the five sections, or nikayas, of the Pali discourses. The selected teachings are organized into ten themes such as The Human Condition, The Path to Liberation, and Shining the Light of Wisdom. This arrangement has the advantage of giving a more balanced view of the Buddha's teaching than would be gained by randomly dipping into the Buddhist scriptures, due to the fact that Buddhist teachings for lay people tend to be under-represented in relation to those intended for monastics, andthe fact that some important teachings, like flecks of gold on a stream bed, appear infrequently in the canonical texts.

The Pali teachings are vast in scope -- the Pali Text Society's translations would fill several shelves, for example -- and moreover tend to be dry and repetitive. This anthology does an excellent job of making the Pali teachings more accessible by eliding much of the repetition that is characteristic of the orally-transmitted Pali tradition, and this volume is therefore remarkably readable. Bodhi, himself a westerner, has also done an excellent job of selecting those parts of the Pali teachings that are likely to have an appeal for Westerners and for Buddhists living in modern societies anywhere in the world. The anthology includes a greater proportion of teachings addressing the existential issues at the heart of the human condition, and a greater proportion of teachings that address social issues than are found in the canon as a whole.

A highlight of the book is Bhikkhu Bodhi's insightful introduction and chapter introductions. These passages supply useful contextual, historical, philological, and even spiritual background to the teachings, and would make an interesting and substantial book in their own right.

Any anthology represents a subjective evaluation by the editor or translator. It could be argued, for example, that Bhikkhu Bodhi's selection overrepresents the scant social teachings in the Pali canon, or that teachings given in verse (such as the Dhammapada) are underrepresented. There is of course no way to take a small percentage of a vast body of teachings and to satisfy all readers that the texts selected are a truly representative sampling of those teaching. But this anthology most certainly works, due, it must be said, to the mastery that the translator has of his field. This collection may be subjectively made, but it is made with an unparalleled depth and breadth of knowledge of its subject matter. Anyone seriously interested in gaining a better understanding of the full range of early Buddhist teachings should purchase this book.

Bodhipaksa, a Buddhist teacher and author, is the founder and director of Wildmind.



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

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