Meditation

  • Mindfulness in Plain English and Beyond Paid Member

    The examiner.com has posted a short and sweet slide show of Bhante Henepola Gunaratana's Bhavana Society, the Appalachian Buddhist refuge tucked in the wilds of West Virginia. Bhante G, as he is affectionately called, is perhaps most widely known as the author of the bestselling classic Mindfulness in Plain English. Now, after nearly two decades, the Sri Lankan monk has followed up with an introduction to deeper states of meditation—Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English, currently available from Wisdom Publications. More »
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    From Guantanamo to Shangri-La Paid Member

    Robert Wright, author of The Evolution of God, is heading off to a meditation retreat tomorrow. He describes his feelings about the upcoming retreat and a silent retreat he attended five years ago)in The New York Times: So with the retreat approaching, I should be as eager as a kid on Christmas Eve, right? Well, no. Meditation retreats — at this place, at least — are no picnic. You don’t follow your bliss. You learn not to follow your bliss, to let your bliss follow you. And you learn this arduously. If at the end you feel like you’re leaving Shangri-La, that’s because the beginning felt like Guantanamo. You can find the rest here. And you can also read Tricycle's interview with Wright, from our Spring 2003 issue. More »
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    "Thinking too much can bring unbalance." Paid Member

    In the August 17, 2009 Science section of the New York Times, Natalie Angier writes: ...the brain can think too much, extracting phantom threats from every staff meeting or high school dance, and over time the constant hyperactivation of the stress response can unbalance the entire feedback loop.... Robert Sapolsky, a neurobiologist who studies stress at Stanford University School of Medicine, said, “This is a great model for understanding why we end up in a rut, and then dig ourselves deeper and deeper into that rut.... The truth is, Dr. Sapolsky said, “we’re lousy at recognizing when our normal coping mechanisms aren’t working. Our response is usually to do it five times more, instead of thinking, maybe it’s time to try something new.” Read the entire piece here. More »
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    Brain activity in nondual meditators and Alzheimer's sufferers "strikingly similar" Paid Member

    "[S]tudies suggest that there could be a striking similarity between the brains of meditators and those of people with dementia or depression." It's true, but it's not quite what it sounds like. While ordinary brains switch between two neural networks—one externally focused and the other internally focused—skilled meditators who reach "a state of oneness" seem to keep both networks going at once. Surprisingly, the same holds true for and those suffering from dementia, depression, or Alzheimer's. More »
  • Buddhism: Religion, Science, Both? Paid Member

    The "secularization" of Buddhism in the West has its countless proponents. But its secularization may often be little more than a wrong-headed denial of its religious roots. At least that's what we hear from our favorite Buddhist Geek Vincent Horn, who has posted to the Interdependence Project's "One City" blog, hosted by Beliefnet. While Horn acknowledges some of the positive effects of the secularization of Buddhist practice, in general, the trend doesn't sit well with him: More »
  • Does Buddhism serve as a bridge? Paid Member

    Can Buddhism strengthen ties to the church? An article in Sunday's Denver Post suggests that it does. Author Electa Draper investigates a growing interest in the meditative and spiritual aspects of Buddhism amongst Christian Americans, finding that many employ eastern religions as a tool to forge a deeper connection to their Christian beliefs. For many Christians cut off from the past, or alienated from the faith of their upbringing, Buddhism has served as the bridge to ancient wisdom. "The problem is the contemplative tradition in the Christian Church has had its ups and downs over the centuries," said Father Thomas Keating, a Trappist monk and leader in the Centering Prayer movement, a modern revival of Christian contemplative practice. "We sensed that the Eastern religions, with their highly developed spirituality, had something we didn't have," Keating said. More »