Briton jailed in Burma for ‘insulting’ Buddha image named prisoner of conscience by Amnesty

October 9, 2015

wildmind meditation newsPhilip Sherwell, The Telegraph: A British bar manager jailed in a notorious Rangoon prison for insulting Buddhism is to be named as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International as his family and human rights activists campaign for his release.

Philip Blackwood’s case has become embroiled in the political ascendancy of radical Buddhist nationalist monks in the run-up to landmark elections in Burma next month.

His supporters have argued that his prosecution for religious defamation for uploading an image of Buddha wearing headphones to advertise his bar was a maneuver by the military-backed government to court nationalist support in the former British colony also …

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Cuddly robot monk is here to answer your questions on Buddhism!

October 8, 2015

wildmind meditation newsDaniel Paul, Shanghaiist: The future has landed in the form of a chubby robot monk unveiled at Beijing’s Dragon Spring Temple earlier this week. Developed with the help of artificial intelligence experts, “Xian’er” is able to sense his surroundings and answer deep questions about Buddhism.

He is already known as the young and affable main protagonist of an animated cartoon series developed by Longquan Comic and Animation Group. The short stories he stars in are created by monks and volunteers and dispense little nuggets of Buddhist wisdom in an easy to understand and relatable way.

Their aim is to engage with new and contemporary …

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Teaching nirvana: can you learn happiness?

October 1, 2015

wildmind meditation newsMalone Mullin, The Student Newspaper: Maybe it’s not so easy to buy happiness, but what about learning it? That’s what the Dalai Lama and UK glad-mongers Action For Happiness offer in a free class launched last Monday. The 8-week mindfulness course promises to “leave people happier and more likely to help others”, but journalists everywhere remain skeptical of wellbeing’s accessibility, asking whether meditation can really act as a cure-all for life’s woes.

To investigate, I contacted the Mahabodhi Kadampa Buddhist Centre, a registered charity in Edinburgh that offers its own mindfulness courses. “We tend to look to science for the final or definitive answer …

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What is mindfulness and what can it do for you?

September 18, 2015

wildmind meditation newsBlayne Pereira, CMI: What is it? Like many buzzwords, it can be difficult to pinpoint an exact (and concise) definition for ‘mindfulness’.

Professor Mark Williams of the University of Oxford, one of the world’s leading researchers in the field, has given a comprehensive description of mindfulness.

“It is a translation of a word that simply means awareness,” he says. “It’s direct, intuitive knowing of what you are doing while you are doing it. It’s knowing what’s going on inside your mind and body, and what’s going on in the outside world as well. Most of the time our attention is not where we intend …

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‘Rebel’ female Buddhist monks challenge Thailand status quo

September 14, 2015

wildmind meditation newsDenis D. Gray, ABC News: On a rural road just after daybreak, villagers young and old kneel reverently before a single file of ochre-robed women, filling their bowls with rice, curries, fruits and sweets. In this country, it’s a rare sight.

Thailand’s top Buddhist authority bars women from becoming monks. They can only become white-cloaked nuns, who are routinely treated as domestic servants. Many here believe women are inferior beings who had better perform plenty of good deeds to ensure they will be reborn as men in their future lives.

Yet with the religion beset by lurid scandals, female monastics or “bhikkhunis” are emerging …

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Inviting Mara to tea

August 5, 2015

Tea set, Tea Cup with Teapot and Rose

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!…
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

One of my favorite stories of the Buddha shows the power of a wakeful and friendly heart. The night before his enlightenment, the Buddha fought a great battle with the Demon God Mara, who attacked the then bodhisattva Siddhartha Guatama with everything he had: lust, greed, anger, doubt, etc. Having failed, … Read more »

Toward a socially responsible mindfulness

July 15, 2015

MaiaDuerrbannerThe big news in the Buddhist world recently was a gathering of Buddhist teachers and leaders at the White House – yes, that White House. My heart leaped with joy when I saw photos of members of the group holding up three banners with these words:

The Karma of Slavery is Heavy
I vow to work for racial justice

The Whole Earth is My True Body
I vow to work for climate justice

U.S. Militarism Breeds Violence Not Safety
I vow to work for peace and freedom

The banners were lovingly hand-painted by members of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship in the San Francisco Bay Area. BPF is an organization near and dear to my heart … Read more »

Mindfulness has lost its Buddhist roots, and it may not be doing you good

wildmind meditation newsMiguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm, The Conversation: Mindfulness as a psychological aid is very much in fashion. Recent reports on the latest finding suggested that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is as effective as anti-depressants in preventing the relapse of recurrent depression.

While the authors of the paper interpreted their results in a slightly less positive light, stating that (contrary to their hypothesis) mindfulness was no more effective than medication, the meaning inferred by many in the media was that mindfulness was superior to medication.

Mindfulness is a technique extracted from Buddhism where one tries to notice present thoughts, feeling and sensations without judgement. The …

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Eight ways not to think about meditation

wildmind meditation newsBarry Morris, The Practical Buddhist: In Zen, meditation is about sitting, standing, or walking in total awareness. Steve Hagen, Lead teacher at the Dharma Field Zen Center in Minneapolis, MN and author of the best book on meditation I’ve ever read, Meditation Now or Never, puts it this way:

“Meditation, and it’s Japanese translation ‘Zen,’ is the practice of awareness, openness, and direct experience of here and now.

That’s what we need to know about meditation. It’s not about becoming more relaxed, healthy or even enlightened. In fact, the moment we think we’re going to get something out of meditation, we take ourselves …

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125 U.S. Buddhist leaders to meet at the White House

wildmind meditation newsMichelle Boorstein, Washington Post: Are we about to enter the era of the political Buddhist?

On Thursday about 125 U.S. Buddhist leaders from across the spectrum will gather in Washington for what organizers say may be the biggest conference ever focused on bringing their faith communities into public, civic life. After the conference, the group will meet with officials at the White House, which longtime writers on U.S. Buddhism say is a first.

The daylong conference represents, some experts say, the start of a civic awakening not only among U.S. Buddhists, …

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