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March-April 2004

Dear Wildmind Subscriber,

Welcome to our latest newsletter.

As ever, we bring you a roundup of recent news-stories about meditation, a book recommendation, a quote of the month with commentary -- and of course news about Wildmind's forthcoming online meditation courses.

Our courses can help you to achieve your full potential, so that you can experience more joy, freedom, and creativity in your life. Make sure you book your place now so that you can experience the benefits of meditation. Our next online meditation courses start Monday, April 5.

In this issue:

  • Bodhipaksa's new CD now available!
  • Wildmind in German and French and more
  • Meditation in the news
  • Give $1 to Wildmind
  • Our online courses
  • Book of the month
  • Quote of the month

Bodhipaksa's new CD now available!

cd cover

"Calm, impressive, and effective." -- Gerhard Riemann, Random House publishers.

We're very excited to announce the arrival of Bodhipaksa's new guided meditation CD, which will be available in early April and which you can order now.

"Guided Meditations for Relaxation, Acceptance, and Insight" ( known as "Guided Meditations II" for short) contains two meditations taught on Bodhipaksa's stress reduction courses.

The first of these gentle exercises is a deep relaxation meditation called a "body scan", where the attention is systematically guided around an exploration of the body in order to bring about progressive relaxation in every muscle.

The second exercise is a meditation for developing acceptance, where we practice the art of welcoming rather than resisting uncomfortable experiences in order to change our relationship to them, so that we can come to the insight that our experiences, whether pleasant or unpleasant, are not an inherent part of our personalities.

Wildmind in German...

We're pleased to announce that Goldmann-Arkana, Random House's Body, Mind, and Spirit division in Germany, plans to bring out both of our guided meditation CDs (including the new title) in German-language editions.

...and French

And if you're a French speaker you'll no doubt be interested to know that some of our meditation instruction is now available on the web in French at http://france.wildmind.org.

...and more!

Chinese, Spanish, German, and Polish versions will also be launched over the next two years, as part of our mission to promote awareness and compassionate values through the practice of meditation -- worldwide.

Meditation in the news

Here are last month's news stories concerning meditation, from meditation finding acceptance -- and controversy -- in schools, to meditation being used as a sentence for a convicted criminal.

Dalai Lama a hit before setting foot in Canada (C-News, Canada)
His Toronto event will be held at SkyDome and in Vancouver, tickets for two spiritual teaching events held in a 4,000-seat auditorium were snapped up in 20 minutes.

Zen meditation (Valley Morning Star, Texas)
Community members practice path to peaceful living

Time to reflect called religion (Charlotte Observer, North Carolina)
What started as an unheralded effort to open Cabarrus County's first charter school became a battle this month after local residents raised questions about the school's plans to teach transcendental Meditation.

Youngsters take to meditation (Hobart Mercury, Australia)
Meditation classes for children are gaining popularity in Tasmania as young people look for tools to combat stress.

Daily moments of mindfulness (Financial Express - New Delhi, India)
"Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold." The Irish poet WB Yeats wrote these evocative lines a hundred years ago, and although written in a different context, they are resonant of what life feels like much of the time today. Things fall apart with frightening regularity under the pressure of time shortages, money woes, broken relationships. The unstable centre cannot hold. The result is frustration and despair.

Who Let Buddha In? Infusing Therapy With the Eastern Spirit (Washington Post -- registration required)
Tara Brach tells the story of a meditation student who came to her enraged after a class in which Brach had discussed forgiveness. "Her husband, she had found out, had been having numerous affairs. She said, 'Tara, how can I forgive him? I want to kill him.' The first thing I said was, 'Don't bother trying right now. This isn't the time to try to forgive him.' "

Meditation distanced from Buddhist roots (Toronto Star)
Not so long ago, the practice of meditation was considered something exotic or eccentric. Not anymore. In recent years, it has definitely moved into the mainstream of Western culture. Everyone from neuroscientists to sociologists, educators and medical researchers is seriously investigating its effects and benefits.

Opposition is building to Buddhist monastery (San Diego Union tribune)
About 200 residents have signed petitions against a Buddhist monastery and meditation center proposed for a hillside above the San Luis Rey Downs Country Club.

I sentence you to: tea (The Times, London)
Standing in the Santa Fe Municipal Court listening to the judge hand down her sentence, Megan Rodriguez thought that she must be on Candid Camera. After pleading guilty to one charge of domestic abuse (hurling a lamp at her boyfriend), Rodriguez, 19, was sentenced to a Japanese tea ceremony, t'ai chi classes, acupuncture and 12 weeks of meditation.

Oasis of peace in a turbulent world (Times Union, Albany, NY)
When members of several religious denominations floated the idea of creating an interfaith prayer and meditation room during construction of the new terminal at the Albany International Airport several years ago, planners weren't sure the notion would fly.

Hard-wired for God (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
Only something extraordinary could entice the Carmelite nuns of Montreal to break their vow of silence and venture out of the cloister, Anne McIlroy says. They have joined forces with science to look for a concrete sign from God -- inside the human brain

Clear the mind, treat the body (Courier-Journal, Kentucky)
Meditation is gaining support for relieving stress and easing symptoms.

Study: Meditation Cuts School Stress (KSL TV, Utah)
A University of Michigan study shows two ten-minute meditation sessions per day in a public school setting reduces stress in children and teens.

Buddhist monk's big Inland plans (Press Enterprise, California)
Nguyen Dat wants Warner Springs meditation center to become one of the largest monasteries in California. (Registration required).

Buddhism: the new religion of choice for 30-somethings (Sunday Herald, Scotland)
WHEN the Dalai Lama visits Scotland this summer he will find fertile ground for his teachings. Experts believe the number of Buddhists in the country has risen past the 10,000 mark and is growing. The Glasgow Buddhist Centre has had to set up waiting lists for its meditation classes, informal Buddhist meditation and teaching groups have sprung up across the land and the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery, in Dumfries, is expanding to accommodate the increase in visitor numbers .

Improved discipline, grades as SWAHA pupils Meditate (trinidad Express)
School employs non-religious meditation and yoga to assist students in controlling their tempers and dealing with stressful situations.

Researcher Promotes Power Of Meditation (News Channel 10, Rhode Island)
Mindfulness Can Combat Stress, Anxiety, Illness.

Opening Up to Happiness (Psychology Today Magazine)
One reason we have so much trouble attaining happiness is that we don't even know what it is. We keep trying to annihilate anxiety and other disturbances. But happiness has more to do with broadening your perspective, says a ground-breaking psychiatrist who blends Western and Eastern thinking.

64 Falun Gong Torture Deaths in China in 3 Months (Scoop, New Zealand)
Labor camps routinely release practitioners on the brink of death to avoid responsibility; most die days after release.

I Gave Up A Life Of Riches With My Millionaire Love To Live In A Buddhist Hut (Daily Record, Scotland)
As a Buddhist nun, Kelsang Machig leads a simple life. She shaves her hair, doesn't wear any make-up and doesn't have many material possessions. She's celibate, teetotal and loves to spend time on her own in empty huts meditating. A far cry from the life she could have had if she hadn't chosen to become ordained.

Scare the Heck Out of Your "Self" (Beliefnet.com)
Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman explains the value in 'realizing your selflessness.'

Starting all over again (CricInfoIndia)
Interview with Indian cricket star, Ajay Ratra. "...Meditation is essential for keepers. I joined an institution for meditation which I visit whenever I'm in Faridabad. It has helped me deal with and control my thoughts in adverse conditions..."

How I Learned to Love Meditation (Yoga Journal)
Cautiously relinquishing her reservations about meditation, a Vermont writer signs up for a nine-day silent retreat.

First Online Dating Service for Buddhists Debuts (Buddhist News Network)
In a sign of the times, Buddhists now have their own online dating site. Launched in February, DharmaDate, at www.dharmadate.com, aims to bring together Buddhist laypeople from around the world for friendship, dating and marriage.

Zen and the art of good business (Sydney Morning Herald, Australia)
Buy Phan and Ter's book now - not because it's flawless (it's not) - but because its Zen Buddhist path to business and management/leadership will be the next big thing for touchy-feely weekends and MBA curricula. The book could easily have been named "Feng Shui For Your Business", or "Goodbye Western Aggro, Hello Eastern Calm" but neither are as sexy or saleable as dotZEN.


begging bowl


Give $1 to Wildmind

Our mission is to benefit the world by promoting awareness and compassionate values through the practice of meditation.

If you've benefited from our site and would like to give something back, then making a small donation can help us enormously. Of course you can feel free to give more than a dollar!

Title: Seven great reasons to learn meditation with Wildmind
  1. Personal attention: In your online journal you'll have an ongoing practice discussion with Bodhipaksa, who will give you encouragement and personal feedback based on over 20 years' experience of meditation.
  2. Depth: As you reflect in your journal, get feedback, and gain insights from learning new practices, you'll take your meditation practice to a new level of effectiveness.
  3. Quality: Access to outstanding written and audiovisual materials online.
  4. Support: You'll benefit from the discipline of a structured four-week course.
  5. Convenience: Log on when you want, fitting classes into your schedule when it's convenient.
  6. Flexibility: Download audio files that will guide you through meditation at any time.
  7. Availability: Courses start every month -- check the website for dates.

A Current Student Writes

"The journal writing was far more rewarding than I expected. I really didn't think I would have much to write, but with each entry I would be suddenly struck by a flood of thoughts and questions. Your responses were always so thoughtful, intelligent, and sensitive that I felt free to let go and explore subjects I might normally have felt were too vulnerable or half-baked to have brought up. I felt assured that I would always receive a considered and insightful answer from you."
Borgna, Boston, Mass.

Our online courses

We offer four online courses as well as our popular Life Member Program. For more information, click on the links and you'll be taken to our online store, where more details are available.

Our next online courses start on Monday, April 5.
Book your place now!

Life member program
  Life Member Program ($95)

  "The Path of Mindfulness and Love" ($65)

  "Change Your Mind" ($65)

  "Entering the Path of Insight" ($65)

  "Awakening the Heart" ($65)

Course Schedule for 2004

Bodhipaksa is taking a few more breaks this year in order to go on retreats, to teach a summer course at the University of New Hampshire, and to concentrate on writing projects, so please remember to plan ahead if you're interested in taking one of our courses. You can sign up for any course at any time.

Courses start on the following dates:

  Apr 5, 2004
  May 3, 2004
  Oct 4, 2004
  Nov 1, 2004
  Nov 29, 2004

book cover

Book of the month

Insight Meditation: A Step-By-Step Course on How to Meditate
Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein (paperback/2 CDs, $20.97)

(Click on the title to purchase from Amazon.com, or click here to purchase from Amazon.co.uk, paperback 14.79)


As a Scot, I'm always partial to a bargain, and I was really astounded by this this package, which represents incredible value for money. What you get is a handsomely presented box with a Velcro fastener; inside there is a beautifully-produced spiral-bound book, a set of flash-cards containing key Buddhist teachings relating to meditation, and two CDs of guided meditations, each containing three guided meditations led by Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein.

Salzberg and Goldstein are, of course, two of the most famous meditation teachers in the world. They founded the Insight Meditation society in 1976, and have been teaching intensively since then, as well as practicing under the direction of teachers such as Dipa Ma, Sayadaw U Pandita, Munindra-ji, Goenka-ji, and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. Not only is this package inexpensive, but it's also excellent quality and has impeccable credentials.

The book itself, based on a correspondence course developed by the two teachers, contains a rich variety of systematic teachings on Metta (lovingkindness) meditation and of course Vipassana (insight) meditation. transcriptions of question and answer sessions help bring a sense of spontaneity and humor to the book (both teachers are well known for being very humorous). The material amounts to a comprehensive guide to a very coherent system of meditation, albeit one which has a rather different flavor from the teachings found on Wildmind.

The guided meditations on the two CDs are, like my own CDs, very straightforward; just a voice leading the listener through a number of meditation practices without the aid of background music. The guidance is sensitive and effective, and I spent two enjoyable and productive weeks making these guided meditations the focus of my own practice.

I'd highly recommend this package to anyone interested in exploring the practices of metta bhavana and insight meditation.


marting luther king jr

Quote of the month

"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude."

- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

I find, in talking to meditation students, that there is a lot of confusion about forgiveness. Some people, for example, think that forgiveness involves somehow forgetting or overlooking hurtful things that another person has done. Thinking in this way, they either hold onto their grievances in order to protect themselves, or end up getting walked over because they don't recognize the reality that they do need to be careful in their relationships.

But forgiving is not the same as forgetting. Forgiveness means letting go of the anger we have in our hearts towards someone we think has hurt us. Instead of nursing our anger and thinking thoughts that replay our role as a victim or transform us into an avenging hero, we let go of our anger and in time -- perhaps after a long time -- we embrace the other person with lovingkindness, or metta.

We can still be very aware of the fault in the other person, and be cautious and aware that the fault may show itself in action once more, but we cease demonizing the other person and seeing them exclusively in terms of what they've done wrong. Rather, we see them as being, like we are, a flawed being struggling and often failing to be happy.

In this way the power to love (to see another person with their good traits and bad traits) gives us the power to forgive of which the Reverend King spoke with such eloquence.

Forgiveness ultimately is a state of living in love. This is not something that either happens or doesn't happen; that we are graced with or that bypasses us. Love is a quality that can be cultivated, and in the Buddhist tradition there are a number of tools to help us develop and strengthen our love, including the development of lovingkindness (metta bhavana) practice, and the system of ethical living that Buddhism recommends, and that is based on respect for the well-being of all sentient beings.


Copyright © 2004, Bodhipaksa.
Wildmind, PO Box 212, Newmarket NH 03857, USA.

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