meditation retreats

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 …

Read the original article »

Read More

Ten tips for setting up a meditation practice

The benefits of meditation come with regular practice, and that means making it part of your life. That’s one of the great challenges of learning meditation, so here are ten tips for establishing a meditation practice.

1. Get some instruction

You can learn the techniques of meditation from books and CDs: there are some good ones around (check out our shop). There are also meditation apps. But it helps a lot to learn from a live class if you can make it to one. Take a course – or go to a class where you can ask questions about the issues. In time, it helps to have friends or teachers who are more experienced meditators than you are.

2. Settle on a practice that suits you

On an meditation course there are three main practices – the mindfulness of breathing, the body scan and mindful movement, and there are many others out there. It’s worth experimenting a bit and then settling on the practice, or combination of practices, that work for you.

3. Find a regular time for practice

You might start off thinking you’ll just try fitting meditation into your day somehow or other, but establishing a practice means finding a time that works for you. For many people, first thing in the morning before the day starts up is a good time; others prefer the evening. There are pros and cons with either so you’ll need to experiment.

4. Set up a meditation place

You can meditate anywhere, but if you sit down amid clutter it has an effect. So set aside a space that evokes the feeling of meditation. Some flowers, a candle or an image on a table can be enough to encourage the feeling that you’re leaving aside the usual preoccupations. It also helps to set aside the cushions or chair that need for meditation, and it’s worth thinking about getting some meditation cushions or a stool.

5. Talk to your family or housemates

To avoid people barging in or turning up the music just as you start to get settled, talk to the people you live with and let them know what you are doing. Don’t worry if they thing you’re weird: if they notice you’re calmer and happier they’ll soon change.

6. Meditate with others

It’s hard to keep anything going on your own, at least to start with. We all need encouragement and guidance. Many people find a setting where they can meditate with others: Buddhist centres, sitting groups, and even virtual settings, like a videoconference or app.

7. Go on retreat

Retreats are a chance to get away from all the things that usually fill up our lives. They vary in length: you can find day retreats or residential retreats for a weekend or longer. Just being quiet and meditating several times a day lets everything settle down so your experience can go deeper. On an intensive retreat you don’t do much apart from meditate, but there are less demanding options as well.

8. Take your practice off the cushion

If you think of meditation as something that only happens in the formal practice time, it will be hard to maintain. So look for ways to keep the thread of mindfulness and meditation alive through the day. The Three Minute Breathing Space gives you time to stop and connect with mindfulness, and you can find many more, informal ways to do the same.

9. Reflect on your values

Most of us get enthusiastic, every so often, about a certain kind of exercise or studying a particular subject. But, looking back, we only maintain a few of these. They are the ones that touch on the values at the core of our lives. If you can make the connection between something that is a deep-seated drive like helping others or understanding the truth, or a pressing concern like not getting depressed or being more effective as a parent, then you’re much more likely to be able to sustain it.

10. Be patient … and persistent

Establishing a regular meditation practice is a long-term project. You may miss days, get discouraged or just forget about meditation for a while. The key thing is to keep going. If you force yourself to meditate when you really don’t feel like it, you’ll probably have a reaction to the whole idea; but if you wait until you do feel like it before you pick your practice up again, it may never happen. But with time, you figure out ways to make your practice happen.

Read More

Meet the monk who spent spent 19 years in one room after China invaded Tibet

Joyce Morgan, Sydney Morning Herald: After China invaded Tibet in 1959, a young monk went into solitary confinement. He remained in a tiny dark room in the capital Lhasa for 19 years.

Choden Rinpoche’s confinement was self-imposed and he spent the two decades secretly meditating and reciting sacred texts he had memorised.

Rinpoche had none of the ritual objects, no altar, or books associated with a monk, just a set of rosary beads he hid under his blanket. Even retaining these was dangerous.

“If you kept even one scripture text, that is a serious crime – more serious than keeping a gun,” he said through an …

Read the original article »

Read More

Transcendental billionaire

Naazneen Karmali, Forbes: Every day busloads of tourists arrive in Gorai, a seafront suburb of Mumbai, and head to Esselworld and Water Kingdom, two popular theme parks built by Indian billionaire Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group.

Since 2008 the traffic to Gorai has jumped several-fold. Around 10,000 of those people are seeking something other than a ride down a water slide. They are going to the giant golden pagoda. You can see it from miles around rising from the trees in a sharp fingerlike spire aimed at the clouds.

The people are going to the pagoda to sit in Vipassana, an ancient Buddhist meditation style seeing …

Read the original article »

Read More

Ten days meditating in search of enlightenment

wildmind meditation news

Maarten Dankers, Globe and Mail: I never thought I’d look forward to brushing my teeth. It’s not a task I consider particularly exciting. But late last November, it came to that. After eating an apple for dinner, I found myself rushing toward the bathroom for some quality dental hygiene time. That’s what happens when you’re not allowed to partake in many activities of ordinary life.

For 10 days this past fall, I subjected myself to a meditation retreat. Along with about 70 other souls, I was confined to a basic compound in the woods along the shore of Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island. We were left without the freedom to speak, read, write or exercise, among other things. There were no cellphones, no e-mail and basically no communication allowed.

These are the rules of Vipassana, an ancient Buddhist meditation technique that aims to purify the mind by eliminating the root causes of suffering. I had dabbled in meditation before, but nothing more than a few hour-long sessions, so this was a big leap. I first heard of it about five years ago after meeting someone who described it as a life-changing experience. Other people told me it gave them increased mental clarity, focus and patience.

Since finishing a master’s program in sustainability last summer, I had been in a prolonged and uncertain state of transition. Unemployed and unsure what to do with my life, I decided a Vipassana retreat would be the perfect opportunity to tame my wild mind and have a break to focus. Plus, I always like a good challenge…

Read the original article »

Promo for Wildmind's meditation initiative

Wildmind is a Community-Supported Meditation Initiative. Click here to find out about the many benefits of being a sponsor.

Read More

Life on a 10-day ‘Buddhist boot camp’ in the Himalayas

wildmind meditation news

Matthew Green, Financial Times: The guru looked troubled. A spry 75-year-old, who could have passed for 60, he usually wore an expression as pure as his ivory robe. Peering into my cell, he watched as I wept harder than I could remember, for a reason my mind could not fathom. Then he beamed. “You are very lucky,” he said. “This is a very big sankara leaving your body – perhaps it was an illness that even a doctor could not cure.”

Perplexing as his words sounded, their meaning would become clear later. All I could grasp then was that the Indian meditation master believed that my mysterious meltdown had taken me a step closer to enlightenment. The Himachal Vipassana Centre clings to the flank of a valley above the town of McLeod Ganj, in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India, where exiled Tibetans, led by the Dalai Lama, co-exist with a backpackers’ nirvana of hostels, trinket shops and bars. Smiling monks sporting off-the-shoulder purple habits scurry past temples swathed in incense, while earnest-faced Europeans, Japanese and Israelis zigzag along paths of self-discovery. Late-night singalongs of Bob Marley classics with guitar-playing strangers are virtually compulsory; Vipassana is optional. Just as well: it is the closest thing on offer to a Buddhist boot camp…

Read the original article »

Bodhipaksa

Wildmind is a Community-Supported Meditation Initiative. Click here to find out about the many benefits of being a sponsor.

Read More

David Duchovny shoveled horse manure at Zen monastery

wildmind meditation news

Wenn, Contact Music: Actor David Duchovny recently spent a weekend shovelling horse manure as part of a Buddhist meditation retreat.

The Californication star escaped to upstate New York for a few days to join a monastery programme aimed at helping guests find inner peace through meditation.

But Duchovny admits the stay wasn’t as relaxing as he thought it would be – because he was put to work as soon as he arrived.
He says, “I just went on a retreat to a zen monastery in upstate New York. It’s a type of Buddhism and meditation is a big part of it…

“I’m a beginner, I’ve only been meditating for a little while. You pay a fee to go for this weekend and what I didn’t know is that even though you pay a fee they put you to work immediately. You go there and first you bus some tables after you eat and they had me working in the garden everyday for an hour-and-a-half. It was fun, I was shovelling horse s**t out there. You pay money and then you shovel horse s**t!”

The actor found himself struggling to obey the strict meditation rules which forbid him from fidgeting while in-session, and he soon discovered a way

Read the original article »

Bodhipaksa

Wildmind is a Community-Supported Meditation Initiative. Click here to find out about the many benefits of being a sponsor.

Read More

Getting far, far away from it all

Hilary Stout: On a Friday morning in October — Oct. 21, to be exact — Mark Trippetti, an advertising consultant from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, surrendered his laptop and iPhone to storage at a remote mountainside center in southern Colorado and prepared to drop out of human contact for a month.

The previous week he had begun the withdrawal process, leaving word with clients, cutting back his use of technology and giving up caffeine. Before checking out completely, he made one final call to his girlfriend, Jee Chang.

By careful design, Mr. Trippetti would not see or communicate with anyone until Nov. 20. At his spartan cabin …

Read the original article »

Read More

Mumbai attacks survivors preach forgiveness

On the third anniversary of the start of the deadly attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai that left 165 people dead, the BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan reports on some of the survivors who are preaching forgiveness in a newly published book.

The Mumbai 25 – as they were known – were in Mumbai on 26 November 2008 as part of a meditation retreat.

Two members of the group were killed in the attacks, but the survivors hope that showing compassion will bring something good from a terrible tragedy.

It was a last-minute cancellation that led Linda Ragsdale to travel from the US to Mumbai in November 2008.

She …

Read the original article »

Read More
Menu