Mammoth pyramid meditation centre set to be opened

December 17, 2012

Nemmani Sreedhar, The Hindu: Faith, they say, can move mountains. But with a firm belief in their system, the faithful have literally created a mountain near the capital.

Spread over 150 acres, Pyramid Spiritual Trust is developing a grand meditation centre at Kadtal village on Hyderabad-Srisailam highway, the star attraction of the centre being a 114-foot tall ‘Maheshwara Maha Pyramid’.

Made of steel and concrete, this structure is the biggest pyramid in the world built exclusively to facilitate meditation, V. Lakshmana Rao, a trust member claimed.

“With practice and observation we have found that pyramids have great healing powers. Human body gets rejuvenated while …

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Retreating into meditation

December 11, 2012

Robert Wright, the Atlantic: At the moment this post is published–Monday evening–I’m probably miserable. But I can’t say for sure.
Monday is the third full day of a week-long silent meditation retreat I’m attending. Since being on a silent meditation retreat means cutting off all contact with the world, I had to write this post before the retreat started. But since this isn’t my first week-long meditation retreat, I can with some confidence predict how I’ll be feeling three days into it. And it’s not a great feeling.

As I put it a couple of years ago in a piece I wrote about …

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Zen and the art of switching off

November 26, 2012

Nina Karnikowski escapes the frenzied pace of her everyday life with a meditation, yoga and detox retreat in the hills of Bali.

I’m a chronic multitasker. A restless sleeper. A compulsive mental to-do list compiler. A neurotic over-analyser. Put simply: my head is an exhausting place to be.

People have often told me meditation could help me shush things up top, and I have tried it a couple of times. There was that session a girlfriend convinced me to attend 10 years ago because “the monk running it is so hot” (he was), and those couple of Buddhist meditation classes I did half-heartedly last …

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The sound of silence

October 18, 2012

Sarah Berry, The Age (Australia): What’s the point of being completely silent for three days? You could just be drinking cocktails by the pool.

“You’re doing this for fun?” confused friends ask before I leave. After spending three days in ‘noble silence’ and meditating for 11 hours a day, several people with me on the silent retreat are asking the same question.

At the end of the final day, when the silence is finally broken, one woman admits she spent a fair bit of the time wondering why she hadn’t just “booked into a resort and spent the weekend by the pool, sipping cocktails …

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Four days of silence

October 17, 2012

Beverly Willett, Salon: Still grieving my divorce, I went to a Buddhist retreat and discovered the challenge — and joy — of not speaking.

“A retreat is a good idea,” my meditation teacher, trained in the U.K. by a Tibetan monk, said when I consulted him about my persistent urge to get away. “And I recommend a silent one.”

My husband had left me for another woman. I was juggling two kids, in and out of divorce court, and felt my lid about to blow.

As luck would have it, I’d just turned 50, too. Even I knew I needed time for introspection, but why the …

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Former Benedictine monastery finds new life as retreat center

October 1, 2012

Bill Sherman, Tulsa World: A dozen people sang a prayer of invocation and then sat for 20 minutes of silent meditation in a round, sunken prayer room at the Osage Forest of Peace retreat center.
A bell chimed to end the meditation. They rose, bowed and sang another prayer.

It was a ritual repeated three times a day, every day, at the center, an interfaith contemplative community on 43 wooded acres four miles west of Sand Springs.

Osage Forest of Peace was founded more than 30 years ago as a Catholic Benedictine monastery by Sister Pascaline Coff, who modeled it after an ashram in India that …

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Entrusting yourself to the waves

September 6, 2012

I was drawn to my first Buddhist mindfulness retreat during a time when my son, Narayan, was four, and I was on the verge of divorce. During a slow, icy drive through a winter snowstorm on the way to the retreat center, I had plenty of time to reflect on what most mattered to me. I didn’t want a breakup that would bury the love I still shared with my husband; I didn’t want us to turn into uncaring, even hostile, strangers. And I didn’t want a breakup that would deprive Narayan of feeling secure and loved. My deep prayer was that through all that was happening, I’d find a way to stay connected with … Read more »

The quiet hell of extreme meditation

August 24, 2012

Michael Finkel, Men’s Journal Magazine: These are my final words: “Why a camp chair?” I speak them to a man named Wade. Wade from Minnesota. I’m in line behind him, waiting to enter the Dhamma Giri meditation center, in the quiet hill country of western India, for the official start of the 10-day course. Wade tells me that this is his second course and that he learned a valuable lesson from the first. “I’m so glad I have this,” he says, indicating the small folding camp chair tucked under his arm. I utter my last question. It’s never answered. One of the volunteers …

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Buddhists’ delight

June 18, 2012

James Atlas, New York Times: was I in a tent in northern Vermont? Much less a tent in the woods at a Buddhist meditation center, reading Sakyong Mipham’s “Turning the Mind Into an Ally” by the light from my smartphone?

If you really want to hear about it (to borrow a phrase from Holden Caulfield), I was on retreat. Perhaps I should say, I was in retreat, from a frenetic Manhattan life, hoping to find the balance and harmony that have formed the basis of the Buddhist tradition ever since Siddhartha Gautama discovered enlightenment around 2,500 years ago while sitting under a Bodhi tree …

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Retreat in the desert ends in a grisly death

Fernanda Santos, New York Times: The rescuers had rappelled from a helicopter, swaying in the brisk April winds as they bore down on a cave 7,000 feet up in a rugged desert mountain on the edge of this rural hamlet. There had been a call for help. Inside, they found a jug with about an inch of water, browned by floating leaves and twigs. They found a woman, Christie McNally, thirsty and delirious. And they found her husband, Ian Thorson, dead.

The puzzle only deepened when the authorities realized that the couple had been expelled from a nearby Buddhist retreat in which dozens of …

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