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Abiding in Peace, Here and Now

  • When? Saturday and Sunday June 13 and 14, 9am-12pm (Pacific time) both days.
  • Where? On Zoom (link will be sent after registration).
  • How much? By donation.

In follow-up to his transformative retreat in April, Bodhipaksa will introduce further radical yet simple approaches to meditation that allow experiences of peace, joy, and calmness to unfold effortlessly within us.

These tools are accessible regardless of whether or not you attended his first retreat.

As well as new meditation skills, you’ll come away with an understanding of the significance of dhyana (meditative absorption) in the Buddha’s path to Awakening, and especially how it leads to insight. And crucially, you’ll come away with a deeper appreciation of how peace and joy can be found in every moment.

Register Online

If you would like to attend this online class, please register through the San Francisco website at the link below by Thursday June 11. You’ll receive a Zoom link by the end of Friday June 12.

REGISTER HERE

About the Teacher

Bodhipaksha has taught meditation around the world and online for many years. He is also the author of several books, most recently This Difficult Thing of Being Human: The Art of Self-Compassion, and the founder of Wildmind Meditation<.

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Get daily meditation guidance on your iPhone

Version 2 of the Bodhi Mind app includes a unique feature called Sitting With Bodhi. Each day you have the opportunity to be guided in your meditation practice by Bodhipaksa, who has been meditating for 36 years.

Before you Sit With Bodhi, first choose how long you want to meditate. You can sit for 12 minutes, or 20, or 40. It’s your choice. Bodhipaksa will then guide you for the first ten minutes, leaving you with a suggestion that you can put into practice in the remainder of the time you chose. The meditation concludes with a gentle bell.

The next day, there will be another guided meditation, and another opportunity to Sit With Bodhi. If you don’t want to follow that meditation on that particular day, that’s no problem. The meditation will stay on your phone until you’re ready.

The Bodhi Mind app was launched just over a year ago, bringing you a library of Bodhipaksa’s guided meditations. At the moment there are 300 meditations, covering basic mindfulness of the breathing, lovingkindness and compassion meditations, and practices for awakening insight.

As you listen to the Sitting With Bodhi meditations they’ll be added to your library so that you can return to them later. The Bodhi Mind app also allows you to add meditations to a favorite list, and to download tracks for offline listening.

The app is free to download, so you can test it our to see if it’s for you. There will always be content available to you even if you want to stick with the free version. And if you want continued access to Sitting With Bodhi and the entire library, there are inexpensive options to subscribe monthly, annually, or for a lifetime.

Click here to download the app now

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Arriving Jan 29: Version 2 of the Bodhi Mind app!

The Bodhi Mind app was launched just over a year ago, bringing you a library of Bodhipaksa’s guided meditations. At the moment there are over 300 meditations, covering everything from basic mindfulness of the breathing, to lovingkindness and compassion meditations, to practices for awakening insight. Now it’s time for the next step.

Arriving Jan 29!

Version 2 of the app (which is for iPhone and iPad, includes a series of daily meditations to help support your practice in a deeper, more intimate way. It’s called Sitting With Bodhi, which reflects that each day you have the opportunity to sit in meditation, receiving guidance that comes from Bodhipaksa’s 36 years of practice.

Each meditation starts with 10 minutes of guidance from Bodhipaksa, followed by a silent period, and concludes with a bell. The length of the silent period is up to you. Before you sit you choose how long the meditation will be in total. You can sit for just 12 minutes, or 20, or 40. It’s your choice.

The next day, there will be another guided meditation, and another opportunity to Sit With Bodhi. If you don’t want to follow that meditation on that particular day, that’s no problem. The meditation will stay on your phone until you’re ready.

The app remains free to download, so you can test it our to see if it’s for you. There are options to subscribe if it is. And a certain amount of content will always be available to you even if you want to stick with the free version.

Click here to download the app now

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“Looking In, Looking Out: Exploring Art, World, and Self”

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Paintings by Lena Levin

I’m really looking forward to co-leading “Looking In, Looking Out: Exploring Art, World, and Self” — a course on art and meditation — with the very talented artist and teacher, Lena Levin. The course starts Feb 1.

A couple of years ago I took an online course with Lena and was impressed by how skillfully she was able to teach us to see in new ways. It was quite mind-blowing to see the extent to which what we see isn’t what’s there, but our mind’s approximation of what’s there. I felt, in some ways, that I was seeing for the first time. Also I was struck by the parallels between the techniques she taught and various approaches to meditation that I’ve explored over the years, although those are more to do with how we “see” the body — not literally but in terms of how the body is perceived internally.

In Lena’s portion of the course we’ll be looking with Lena at eight paintings, literally learning to see them — and by extension the world — in fresh ways. And in my meditations I’ll be doing the same, but with ourselves — and, again, by extension the world.

If you feel interested in learning more, click here.

I’ve put together a little promo video for this course. It’s a new departure for me, and this one’s a little basic. But I hope you enjoy it!

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Developing the evidence base for mindfulness therapies

Rick Nauert PhD, PsychCentral: Therapeutic mindfulness interventions have grown in popularity over the past two decades. But some of the field’s leading researchers are concerned that the evidence base for such practices is not yet robust enough.

A new study from Brown University shows how a rigorous approach to studying mindfulness-based interventions can help ensure that claims are backed by science.

Researchers say that an analysis of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) is complicated as the therapies sometimes blend practices, which makes it difficult to measure how each of those components affects participants.

To address that issue, the …

Read the original article »

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Buddhist monastery site uncovered in China

Archaeology: An excavation in northwest China has uncovered a 1,000-year-old ceramic box containing cremated human remains said to have belonged to Siddh?rtha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, according to a report in Live Science.

An inscription on the box explains that two monks, named Yunjiang and Zhiming, of the Mañju?r? Temple of the Longxing Monastery collected the more than 2,000 pieces of cremated remains, including teeth and bones, over a period of 20 years, and buried them in the temple on June 22, 1013, as a way to practice and promote Buddhism. More than 260 Buddhist statues, and the remains …

Read the original article »

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Bodhi Mind meditation app now available for free download

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The Bodhi Mind app for iPhone and iPad is now available for download on the app store. Our app offers a library of well over 200 guided meditations, and the number will keep on growing. We intend that Bodhi Mind will be Wildmind’s main publishing platform from this point on.

You’ll find all the guided meditations from my CDs and meditation courses, plus materials that I’ve recorded for other purposes. Some live recordings from retreats and workshops have been added, with more on the way!

The app is free to download. Go get it now!

All of the meditations are available for a two week trial. After that you’ll have access to a selection of tracks, and you can unlock the rest by signing up for a subscription.

For Android users: we do intend to create a version of Bodhi Mind for your platform, but we need to make sure this version is successful first, so please tell your iPhone-using friends about the app!

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Bodhi Mind meditation app is coming soon!

Bodhi Mind meditation app for iPhoneAfter some last-minute tweaks the Bodhi Mind app has now been submitted to the app store.

This free app (for iPhone and iPad) will offer access to a large library of my guided meditation recordings. It allows you to create a favorites list and you can also download recordings for offline play.

All going well, Bodhi Mind will go live in the app store in one to two weeks. At the moment there are about 150 meditations available, but more will have been added by the time the app is available. The app is looking gorgeous and working flawlessly.

We’d like to thank all those who supported our Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which made this possible. (Incidentally, it’s not too late to contribute to our campaign if you want to get a discounted subscription to the app.

I’ll let you know as soon as the app is available on the App Store!

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Mindfulness and meditation need more rigorous study to identify impacts

Dependable scientific evidence has lagged worrisomely behind the rapid and widespread adoption of mindfulness and meditation for pursuing an array of mental and physical wellness goals, wrote a group of 15 experts in a new article in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The article offers a “critical evaluation and prescriptive agenda” to help the burgeoning mindfulness industry replace ambiguous hype with rigor in its research and clinical implementations.

Recent years have seen a huge surge not only in media and scientific articles about mindfulness and meditation, the authors wrote, but also in the implementation of medical interventions for everything from depression to addiction, pain and stress. The widespread adoption of therapies has put the field at a critical crossroads, the authors argued, where appropriate checks and balances must be implemented.

“Misinformation and poor methodology associated with past studies of mindfulness may lead public consumers to be harmed, misled and disappointed,” they wrote.

Co-author Willoughby Britton, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University said: “We are sometimes overselling the benefits of mindfulness to pretty much any person who has any condition, without much caution, nuance or condition-specific modifications, instructor training criteria, and basic science around mechanism of action. The possibility of unsafe or adverse effects has been largely ignored. This situation is not unique to mindfulness, but because of mindfulness’s widespread use in mental health, schools and apps, it is not ideal from a public health perspective.”

Lead author Nicholas Van Dam, a clinical psychologist and research fellow in psychological sciences at the University of Melbourne in Australia, said that the point of the article is not to disparage mindfulness and meditation practice or research, but to ensure that their applications for enhancing mental and physical health become more reflective of scientific evidence. So far, such applications have largely been unsupported, according to major reviews of available evidence in 2007 and again in 2014.

“The authors think there can be something beneficial about mindfulness and meditation,” Van Dam said. “We think these practices might help people. But the rigor that should go along with developing and applying them just isn’t there yet. Results from the few large-scale studies that have been conducted so far have proven equivocal at best.”

Added co-author David E. Meyer, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, “Sometimes, truly promising fields of endeavor get outstripped by efforts to harvest them before they’re really ripe; then workers there must step back, pause to take stock, and get a better plan before moving onward.”

A young, undefined field

Among the biggest problems facing the field is that mindfulness is poorly and inconsistently defined both in popular media and the scientific literature. According to the authors, there “is neither one universally accepted technical definition of ‘mindfulness’ nor any broad agreement about detailed aspects of the underlying concept to which it refers.” As a result, research papers have varied widely in what they actually examine, and often, their focus can be hard to discern.

“Any study that uses the term ‘mindfulness’ must be scrutinized carefully, ascertaining exactly what type of ‘mindfulness’ was involved, what sorts of explicit instruction were actually given to participants for directing practice,” the authors wrote. “When formal meditation was used in a study, one ought to consider whether a specifically defined type of mindfulness or other meditation was the target practice.”

“Without specific, well-defined terms to describe not only practices but also their effects, studies of interventions such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) cannot provide valid and comparable measurements to produce reliable evidence.” As part of its proposed remedy, the new article offers a “non-exhaustive list of defining features for characterizing contemplative and medication practices.”

Greater rigor

Along with specific, precise and standardized definitions, similar improvements in research methodology must also come, the authors wrote.

“Many intervention studies lack or have inactive control groups,” Van Dam said.

The field also has struggled to achieve consistency in what it is being measured and how to measure those things perceived to be of greatest importance to mindfulness.

Van Dam said the situation is akin to earlier psychological research on intelligence. This concept proved to be too broad and too vague to measure directly. Ultimately, however, psychologists have made progress by studying the “particular cognitive capacities that, in combination, may make people functionally more or less intelligent,” he and his co-authors wrote.

Thus, the authors wrote, “We recommend that future research on mindfulness aim to produce a body of work for describing and explaining what biological, emotional, cognitive, behavioral and social, as well as other such mental and physical functions, change with mindfulness training.”

Clinical care

A wide variety of contemplative practices have been studied for an even larger variety of purposes, yet in both basic and clinical studies of mindfulness and meditation, researchers have rarely advanced to the stage where they can confidently conclude whether particular effects or specific benefits resulted directly from the practice. Measured by the National Institutes of Health’s stage model for clinical research, only 30 percent of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) have moved past the first stage, and only 9 percent have tested efficacy in a research clinic against an active control.

“Given the absence of scientific rigor in much clinical mindfulness research, evidence for use of MBIs in clinical contexts should be considered preliminary.,” the authors wrote.

The proposed agenda for future research is rigorous and extensive, Van Dam said.

“Replication of earlier studies with appropriately randomized designs and proper active control groups will be absolutely critical,” the authors continued. “In conducting this work, we recommend that researchers provide explicit detail of mindfulness measures, primary outcome measures, mindfulness/meditation practices and intervention protocol.”

Researchers and care providers involved with delivering MBIs have begun to become more vigilant about possible adverse effects, the authors wrote, but more needs to be done. As of 2015, fewer than 25 percent of meditation trials actively monitored for negative or challenging experiences.

Contemplating contemplative neuroscience

Van Dam said recent efforts to assess the neural correlates of mindfulness and meditation with technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetoencephalography, may perhaps have the potential to bring new rigor to the field. Nonetheless, he and his co-authors also express concern in the article that these technologies so far have not fulfilled this potential.

The authors note that technologies such as MRI depend on subjects remaining physically still while being tested, and image quality can be affected by subjects’ rate of breathing. Experienced meditators may be better suited to maintaining ideal physiological states for MRI studies than are inexperienced individuals or non-meditators. Due to such problematic factors, between-group differences in brain scans might have little to do with the mental state researchers are attempting to measure and much to do with head motion and/or breathing differences.

“Contemplative neuroscience has often led to overly simplistic interpretations of nuanced neurocognitive and affective phenomena,” the authors wrote. “As a result of such oversimplifications, meditative benefits may be exaggerated and undue societal urgency to undertake mindfulness practices may be encouraged.”

Ultimately that’s the authors’ shared concern: Insufficient research may mislead people to think that the vague brands of “mindfulness” and “meditation” are broad-based panaceas when in fact refined interventions may only be helpful for particular people in specific circumstances. More, and much better, scientific studies are needed to clarify these matters. Otherwise people may waste time and money, or worse, suffer needless adverse effects.

“This paper is a coordinated effort among concerned mindfulness researchers and meditation scholars to rectify this gap to maximize benefit and minimize harm from MBIs,” Britton said.

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