bullying

Why teaching kindness in schools is essential to reduce bullying

Lisa Currie, Edutopia: Phrases like “random acts of kindness” and “pay it forward” have become popular terms in modern society. This could perhaps be best explained by those who have identified a deficiency in their lives that can only be fulfilled by altruism.

It seems there are good reasons why we can’t get enough of those addictive, feel-good emotions, as scientific studies prove there are many physical, emotional, and mental health benefits associated with kindness.

As minds and bodies grow, it’s abundantly clear that children require a healthy dose …

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ACLU sues Bible Belt school for allegedly bullying Buddhist student

wildmind meditation news

Carol Kuruvilla, New York Daily News: Scott and Sharon Lane say a teacher at Negreet High School belittled their Buddhist son and told him his religion was ‘stupid.’ The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Sabine Parish School Board on the Lanes’ behalf.

For one sixth-grader, it’s no fun being Buddhist in the Bible Belt.

A Louisiana couple is claiming faculty and students at Negreet High School bullied their Buddhist son so badly that he became physically sick every morning before going to class.

Sharon and Scott Lane are suing the Sabine Parish School board for religious harassment and

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We are what we think

This month I share my dharma talk – given on TEDx – it could have been called many names, like the Power of Loving Kindness. I explore through my personal and professional experience how our ‘stinking thinking’ can be our biggest addiction. It is the cause of heedlessness – and it has been said: ‘That those who are heedless are like the dead, and those who are heedful do not die.’ When we are heedful we are mindful, attentive and aware. When we are heedless we are negligent, thoughtless and undmindful.

When we are addicted to our ‘stinking thinking’ we are on the path of the death, there is no room for mindfulness. Yes of course the body dies, but when we become aware of the flow of direct experience from moment to moment, we are freed from identifying with the self, with our thoughts, feelings and emotions. We are in essence heedful.

Renounce your ‘stinking thinking’ because it clouds the mind, deludes the mind, agitates the mind and causes great suffering. Mental proliferation is the second dart of suffering. And the great news is, that it is possible to be free of this type of suffering. Renounce and discover a new freedom and happiness. How? Take a listen to my TEDx talk below.

For a free sample chapter of Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha’s Teachings To Overcome Addiction please email: eightstepsrecovery@gmail.com

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Prominent journalist encourages uniting against China’s bullying

Harold Mandel, Examiner.com: There has been an intensification of negative feelings among activists worldwide in dealing with China’s policies ever since Tibetans began self-immolating in protest of Chinese rule over the years. Phayul.com reported on May 18, 2013, ‘West must unite against China’s bullying.’ Prominent journalist Edward Lucas has written a hard-hitting article which advocates for democratic governments in the West to unite in resisting “Chinese bullying” against those who meet with Tibet’s exiled leaders.

Lucas, who is International Editor of The Economist, has argued in his article, “The Tibetan Test,” which has been published online by European Voice, that Chinese bullying is working and that…

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Meditation in schools

wildmind meditation news

Maureen Mack, TMJ4:  Meditation could help put an end to bullying in schools.

Researchers at the Center for the Investigation of Healthy Minds in Madison is testing that theory, with some high-powered backing: The Dalai Lama himself.

Here’s the theory: If kids know how to relax and focus their minds, they won’t lash out or react with anger.

Jamie Shields started meditating before and after school a few years ago, and said it has helped her performance in high school.

“Wake up in the morning and go home at night and just meditate and you just forget about everything and stress just rolls off and i’m able to focus more what i’m working on – homework, studying in school. I can stay more alert throughout the day,” Shields told us.

The researchers in Madison want to bring that focus to a younger group. They believe kids entering middle school would benefit most, as that is a tumultuous age. Puberty hits, there’s more school pressure, and middle school can be especially tough for kids who feel “different.”

Richard Davidson heads the Center for the Investigation of Healthy Minds, and has been studying meditation for decades.

“Our research has now identified the brain systems that are imporatnt for attention and emotion regulation and we’ve shown these brain systems are impacted by regularly practicing meditation,” he said. Davidson added, meditation will not only help students perform better in the classroom, but it could make them happier overall.

“Certain qualities like the capacity to cooperate and be kinds to other people, come from meditation,” he explained.

Laura Pinger, a former teacher who now works at the center, will teach meditation in the classroom. She told us pre-middle school is the perfect age for children to start.

“I think in some ways it makes them more receptive to it because they have that need for something to help calm them or help find some other way to deal with things that are stressful in their life,” she said.

Students in other parts of the country say meditation is helping both in the classroom and at home. Madison Stephens and her sister Ali, both middle school students, enjoy the time they spend meditating.

“It helps us be a lot nicer to each other and it helps me do a lot better with school,” Madison said.

Ali agreed. “I don’t get mad at my friends or my family and stuff and it just takes away all my stress.”

In fact, researchers have discovered meditation causes changes in the brain itself. People who meditate have a higher pain tolerance and react much more calmly to stress.

Richard Davidson explained. “There are certain universal value that are part of the healthy mind, one of those is kindness, the other is compassion it seems when people are exhibiting those qualities they feel better about themselves,” he said.

Researchers here want kids to learn one important belief about who they are.

“In our classroom we listen to each other, we stand up for each other when there’s a problem, if someone asks us to stop, then we stop and this is who we are whether anyone else is looking,” Pinger explained the classroom motto.

The Center is launching the meditation program in two Madison schools and hopes to expand to other cities.

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Richard Davidson heads the Center for the Investigation of Healthy Minds, and has been studying meditation for decades.

“Our research has now identified the brain systems that are imporatnt for attention and emotion regulation and we’ve shown these brain systems are impacted by regularly practicing meditation,” he said. Davidson added, meditation will not only help students perform better in the classroom, but it could make them happier overall.

“Certain qualities like the capacity to cooperate and be kinds to other people, come from meditation,” he explained.

Laura Pinger, a former teacher who now works at the center, will teach meditation in the classroom. She told us pre-middle school is the perfect age for children to start.

“I think in some ways it makes them more receptive to it because they have that need for something to help calm them or help find some other way to deal with things that are stressful in their life,” she said.

Students in other parts of the country say meditation is helping both in the classroom and at home. Madison Stephens and her sister Ali, both middle school students, enjoy the time they spend meditating.

“It helps us be a lot nicer to each other and it helps me do a lot better with school,” Madison said.

Ali agreed. “I don’t get mad at my friends or my family and stuff and it just takes away all my stress.”

In fact, researchers have discovered meditation causes changes in the brain itself. People who meditate have a higher pain tolerance and react much more calmly to stress.

Richard Davidson explained. “There are certain universal value that are part of the healthy mind, one of those is kindness, the other is compassion it seems when people are exhibiting those qualities they feel better about themselves,” he said.

Researchers here want kids to learn one important belief about who they are.

“In our classroom we listen to each other, we stand up for each other when there’s a problem, if someone asks us to stop, then we stop and this is who we are whether anyone else is looking,” Pinger explained the classroom motto.

The Center is launching the meditation program in two Madison schools and hopes to expand to other cities.

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“Taneesha Never Disparaging,” by M. LaVora Perry

Taneesha Never DisparagingTaneesha Never Disparaging is billed as a young adult novel, but it’s a perfect read for all ages, exemplifying how spiritual principles can help us face up to our fears and transform hatred into love.

Taneesha Bey-Ross is a typical fifth-grader, facing her weaknesses and challenges in home, school and daily life. Taneesha is funny, creative, honest, and a loyal friend to Carli, a girl she befriended in first grade. Carli lives with her father and wears leg braces. Taneesha is African-American, while Carli is white. It is on their walks home together after school that they encounter their tormentor — a girl twice their size who bullies them and awakens Taneesha’s “evil twin” Evella, who embodies Taneesha’s inner doubts and becomes her inner tormentor. Through Taneesha we learn that we can conquer our fears and self doubts with humor, compassion, patience and love. In the end Taneesha realizes the bully is exactly the same as herself — with her own frailties, fears, and suffering, and that her bullying is a way of coping with this. This recognition allows Taneesha to connect with her enemy on a human level, and the two become friends. Taneesha’s Buddhist background, and the work she does on herself, makes this possible.

Title: Taneesha Never Disparaging
Author: M. LaVora Perry
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
ISBN: 0-86171-550-0
Available from: Wisdom, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.com.

Taneesha’s parents are Buddhist and have raised her in their faith. The family together shares the rituals, teachings, and spiritual vacations, all along the way chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo (“I devote my life to the wonderful Law of the Lotus Flower Teaching of the Buddha”). Taneesha has been practicing Buddhism since she can remember, and like most children growing up in a faith she does so out of love and respect for her parents. However as she grows into her eleventh year she begins to understand on her own the significance of her beliefs and the power of love. “In that moment, an invisible, cozy blanket wrapped around me and I realized something: It was true, I had to face life on my own. But I wasn’t alone. Even when my parents weren’t with me, their love was. And it always would be.”

M. LaVora Perry has herself been a practicing Buddhist since 1987. She was born and raised in Ohio, where she still lives with her own family. She has received numerous awards and is a contributing writer for many publications.

Perry makes Taneesha Never Disparaging an easy and engaging read. Its two hundred pages offer young readers to explore life in the company of a peer. The writing is powerful and profound, and Perry investigates and explores the inner worlds of young people with respect and compassion. She reminds us all the value of family and the wisdom of parental guidance. She reminds us of the important of the personal quest, and of the need to be heard and to make a difference in the world. This is a must-read for young people, especially in these times, where we are all struggling with conflicts, learning how to love one another in the faces of difference, and faced with the need to cherish ourselves through helping others.

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