Also available online at http://www.wildmind.org/newsletter/200604.html

April 2006

Featured product

Kindly Awareness CD

Kindly Awareness CD: Managing Pain, Illness, & Stress with Guided Mindfulness Meditation. These guided meditations help us to develop a welcoming and accepting attitude towards our experiences, including those that are painful. ($14.95)

Our Online Meditation Courses

A student writes...

"This course has made me much more aware of my thoughts and emotions in all the rest of my life, not just on the cushion. I feel much happier, and I feel I've had some important realizations about myself and my life, and my relationships with other people, probably as a result of just taking some time to be with myself in such a calm and contemplative way."

Life member program

  "The Path of Mindfulness and Love" (Suggested donation $90)

  "Change Your Mind"
(Suggested donation $90)

  "Awakening the Heart"
(Suggested donation $90)

  "Entering the Path of Insight" (Suggested donation $90)

  Life Member Program ($175)

Course Schedules

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:

  Apr 3 to 29
  May 1 to 26
  Jun 4 to 30

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. 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.
  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: 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 -- much of which focuses on meditation as a non-sectarian or secular approach to spirituality and peace. We also feature news of Wildmind's meditation courses, which as an experiment, we are offering this month on a donation basis. Rounding things out are two book reviews -- one on an extraordinary Buddhist teacher and another on meditation for beginners.


In this issue:

  • Wildmind courses offered on donation basis
  • About Wildmind's online courses
  • We want your opinions on future courses
  • Meditation in the news
  • Buddhism Behind Bars project
  • Support our translation project
  • Two Featured Books of the Month
  • Quote of the Month

Wildmind Courses Offered on Donation Basis

As an experiment, we are offering our courses on a donation basis. The suggested donation is $90, which is the amount we need to cover our costs. Your donation primarily goes toward paying the teacher a living wage, as well as other infrastructure costs. If you can't afford that, please pay what you can. Of course, if you can afford more, we'd be truly grateful! You can feel good in knowing that you're helping others gain the benefits of meditation.

To learn more about our courses, and how to sign up, read on...

Our next online meditation courses start Monday, April 3.

Meditating has been shown in clinical studies to boost the cerebral cortex, to slow the brain's aging, to improve the body's ability to fight disease, and to promote feelings of wellbeing.

If you'd like first-hand experience of meditation's powerful potential for reducing stress, staying healthy, and for encouraging conscious relaxation, sign up for one of our convenient online meditation courses.

These four-week courses offer a content-rich and interactive experience, with online readings, guided meditations in MP3 and RealAudio format that you can download to your computer, and a discussion forum to interact with other students. In addition, an online journal gives you a chance to discuss your practice with an experienced teacher, who provides personalized feedback and suggestions. Past students have found this to be the most valuable part of the course. 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.

Our April online courses will be led by Sunada, 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.


Our next online meditation courses -- from all levels from beginners onwards -- start Monday, April 3. Make sure you book your place now.

We want your opinions on future courses

A couple weeks ago, we sent out a survey request asking people to help us shape the future direction of Wildmind's online courses. Over 700 of you have already responded -- thank you very much! We're still accepting responses through March 31, so if you haven't done so already, we'd really appreciate it if you took a couple minutes to give us your opinions.

As an incentive, we're giving everyone who completes the survey a 5% discount off a purchase at our online store. And we'll also enter you into a drawing for one lucky winner to receive a $100 Wildmind gift certificate. We'll announce the winner in the May newsletter.

So please give us a piece of your mind and complete our short survey now!

Meditation in the News

Mar 27 Real-life role models: moving meditation (The Albuquerque tribune) Tai chi keeps 88-year-old Rick Cramer healthy, alert and active in the community as he teaches the martial art to others.

Mar 27 Meditation and secular spirituality (Bella Online) Secular meditation can be practiced without interfering with one's belief system.

Mar 24 The divine within (Southern Voice) Meditation breaks through thoughts and pattern, and opens up new things.

Mar 24 Meditation for people on the go (Mathaba News Network) Effectively learn the methods of meditation before you attempt to meditate in unusual surroundings.

Mar 24 All you need is ten seconds a day to find peace and serenity (PR Web) Meditation Master, Jeffery Beach, shares secrets to peace of mind any time, any place, in Ten Seconds to Peace: An Everyday Approach to Mindful Living.

Mar 24 RSO Spotlight: Students International Meditation Society (Daily Vidette) The RSO puts on presentations at the meetings to help members understand meditation and work it into their lives.

Mar 21 'Building a Noble World' unleashes the power of meditation to end terror (PR Web) The book offers practical spirituality for solving problems at personal and global levels.

Mar 21 Meditation Balances the Body's Systems (Web MD) The mind, heart, and body can improve with regular meditation.

Mar 20 Indie travel Notebook: Buddhist Meditation in Thailand (Yahoo! News travel) Allow yourself to wander away from the wats and see how normal Thais practice their Buddhism.

Mar 20 Yoga teacher launches "Start meditation, stop smoking" program (PR Web) New multi-media PDF ebook makes it possible for people to practice meditation at home and break their smoking habit in a natural and permanent way.

Mar 19 Stressed executives opt for sleep-inducing pills (The Hindu) Meditation eases the mind and helps people sleep better.

Mar 19 It's elementary (News.com.au) Meditation focusing on the elements is practised in traditions as diverse as Buddhism, Taoist meditation, Quigong and Ayurveda.

Mar 17 Join a 'moving meditation' (Statesman Journal) Freestyle dance gatherings are about personal expression.

Mar 15 Secrets of meditation (Saga Health) It's simple, it's free and practising it for a few minutes each day can have a real effect on your mental and physical wellbeing.

Mar 14 Staying cool when things get tense (Psychology Today) In the longer term, anxiety-reducing habits such as Pilates, listening to classical music, meditation, running or cooking also help.

Mar 14 Far out, man. but is it quantum physics? (The New York Times) Have science and spirituality tied the knot?

Mar 11 Meditating Nepalese teenager goes missing (The Sydney Morning Herald) A teenage boy in Nepal whose followers believe is the reincarnation of Buddha has suddenly gone missing after 10 months of meditation.

Mar 10 Harvard's crowded course to happiness (The Boston Globe) Studies show that optimism is a skill that can be taught and learned

Mar 10 Meditation helps control mind and soul (OhmyNews.com) Meditation comes in diverse forms and has been shown to enhance one's physical, psychological, and emotional well-being.

Mar 9 Hurry up -- and meditate (The Boston Globe) A Newmarket Buddhist wants to help people hurry up and relax through a CD called "Guided Meditations for Busy People".

Mar 9 Meditation group is present, not tense (The Upper Cape Codder) Those wishing to practice meditation with the Cape Sangha don't have to switch religions, pay dues or study esoteric teachings.

Mar 8 Peace and punishment (Riverfront Times) St. Louis judges turn to transcendental Meditation to rehab convicted felons.

Mar 7 Hi, anxiety (The Kansas City Star) Chicagoan Heather Parish, a consultant to nonprofit organizations, says she controls worrying through meditation.

Mar 6 Wellness program teaches relaxation techniques (Georgetown University Blue & Gray) There are little things people do every day to put themselves in a meditative state, perhaps without even realizing it.

Mar 6 Medical: ADHD meditation (WJLA-TV) There's a solution for treating your child's ADHD that doesn't involve drugs.

Mar 6 Lifestyle choices help control arthritis pain (eMaxHealth.com) Meditation, prayer and guided imagery are some ways people calm their minds.

Mar 4 Monk fills his days with meditation, teaching (The Muskegon Chronicle) The words "Buddhist monk" evoke images of old men living in monasteries and spending their days chanting.

Mar 4 Create a Loving Society One Person at a Time (PRWeb.com) There is a volunteer movement underway to heal society one person at a time through the practices of an ancient Korean program called Dahn Yoga.

Mar 2 The Pursuit of Self-Storage Nirvana (insideselfstorage.com) From an initial association in transcendental meditation (TM) to their ongoing partnership in self-storage and real estate, Jeff Quinn and Ken Weiner are living proof you can combine operation of a thriving company with a higher purpose in life.

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. It will be a compilation of writings by inmates and prison volunteers about how meditation and Buddhist practice have transformed lives. We're making this project an educational opportunity 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.

We will also make copies of Buddhism Behind Bars available free of charge to inmates. 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 awareness 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 and Spanish versions of the site online, and Chinese, Polish, and Russian versions are in preparation.

Dipa Ma

Featured Book of the Month #1

Dipa Ma: The Life and Legacy of a Buddhist Master
by Amy Schmidt
(New York: BlueBridge, 2005)

In this highly enjoyable book, we are offered a moving and inspiring account of one woman's journey from misery and heartache to the calm and steady freedom brought about by learning to let go. The secret to her success? Simple awareness, the core of what the Buddha himself cultivated in his own struggle to gain inner freedom from the cycles of suffering caused by emotional reactivity. As Dipa Ma often reminded her students, "The whole path of mindfulness is this: Whatever you are doing, be aware of it."

For this remarkable woman, an Indian "householder" with a daughter and young grandson, daily life included all of the mundane tasks we might be tempted to use as excuses for avoiding practice: doing the dishes, washing the laundry, changing diapers (all of which, she assured her students, were perfectly workable contexts for sharpening awareness and increasing one's patience). In short, Dipa Ma made it very clear, through her own example, that living a "worldly" life need not impinge upon one's "spiritual" path, and in fact demonstrated the absence of any such distinction in reality.

This book consists of the first-hand accounts of many of Dipa Ma's students and family members, collected by Schmidt over the course of the 8 years following Ma's death in 1989. Amongst her students are Insight Meditation Society founders Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield.

As well-known teacher Sylvia Boorstein says, "Reading these reflections of Dipa Ma rouses the faith that being in her presence always did; a mind at peace and a heart of complete lovingness is a human possibility." These collected memories shine through with the love that pours forth from a heart released from its own conditioning and fear. As Salzberg states, simply and to the point, "Dipa Ma was the most loving person I ever met." May this excellent book be a reminder to all of us (busy householders and career holders included!) that such a heart beats (potentially) in all of our chests.

Josh Nute. Josh is Wildmind's office manager and has been a practicing Buddhist for about 5 years.

Maya Angelou

Quote of the Month

"I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver."
Maya Angelou

It's been an interesting process, deciding (as an experiment) to make our courses available on a donation basis rather than having fixed charges.

Why did we decide to do this? Well, we like the idea of being generous by allowing people to participate in our courses in return for whatever they feel moved to give, and we also like the idea of giving people the opportunity to practice generosity themselves. What a great start to a relationship is could be to say to people, "Come on board. Join us. Take what you need and give what you can."

Although we've always been flexible with our class fees, allowing people to take our courses for little or nothing if they request it, a fee is still a fee; it's still us saying to a potential student, "Give us the money and we'll teach you." We felt very happy to experiment in this way.

But it's been challenging as well. Quite a few people have given very small amounts - some have given as little as a dollar - and we've had to come to terms with that. Our initial response was, to be honest, "They've got to be kidding! Here we are offering them in-depth personal feedback and guidance from an experienced meditation teacher for a month, and these people think that's worth less than a cup of coffee!"

We wondered what to do when people offered such small amounts. After all, it costs us about $90 for each student who participates in the course: teachers need housing, food, transport, clothes, medical insurance. What were these people thinking? Could they really only afford a dollar? Had they misunderstood that this course involved personal feedback? Were they trying to rip us off? Could we have communicated ourselves better? Might this whole experiment be a big mistake?

In the end though, we realized that it was liberating to let go of attachment to the idea that people "should" give us a certain amount. Sure, we have needs, but let's take people on board first, establish a relationship, and then see where that goes. If people have misunderstood and thought that perhaps they were just paying for a PDF download or something of that nature, then at least we'll be able to explain what our costs are and they'll have an opportunity to consider giving more. And if they could only afford a dollar, then fine, we're happy to accept that if it's all they can afford to give. That's what we've always done.

So we're giving this experiment a shot. And you know what? So far Maya Angelou is right, and giving has been liberating.

Copyright © 2006, Bodhipaksa.
Wildmind Meditation Services Inc., PO Box 212., Newmarket NH 03857, USA.

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