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Vipassana experience

30 Jan

My wife recently did a 10-day Goenka Vipassana course and wrote about it.

Here it is: my-vipashyana-experience

Tibetan v/s Vipassana

3 Nov

A few months back I wrote and presented a short paper on my comparative experience with Tibetan and Vipassana (Goenka) styles of meditation retreats.

Here it is: Dhamma or Dharma

Get Real. With Meditation

31 May

Excellent piece, “Get Real” by Thanissaro Bhikhu.

Here’s an extract: “Recently I’ve been looking through a field guide on nature observation. The author, when he was a child, was trained by an old Native American. One day the child asked the old man, “Why is it that you’re not afraid of heat and cold?”
The old man looked at him for a while and finally said, “Because they’re real.”
And this is our job as meditators: to try to learn not to be afraid of things that are real.
Ultimately, we discover that things that are real pose no danger to the mind. The real dangers in the mind are our delusions, the things we make up, the things we use to cover up reality, the stories, the preconceived notions we impose on things. When we‘re trying to live in those stories and notions, reality is threatening. It’s always exposing the cracks in our ideas, the cracks in our ignorance, the cracks in our desires. As long as we identify with those make-believe desires, we find that threatening. But if we learn to become real people ourselves, then reality poses no dangers.
This is what the meditation is for, teaching yourself how to be real, to get in touch with what’s really going on, to look at your sense of who you are and take it apart in terms of what it really is, to look at the things that you find threatening in your life and see what they really are. When you really look, you see the truth. If you’re true in your looking, the truth appears.”

Get Real_Thanissaro Bhikkhu

The Dark Side of Meditation

17 Sep

There seems to be a cure-all attitude towards meditation, as if it were a panacea for all types of illnesses. This is a dangerous trend in the West, where meditation seems to be de-linked from its ‘spiritual’ (and ethical) component and used as a tool or instrument to solve certain medical problems, thus creating a sort of “spiritual bypassing”.

Here’s the news item from TIME magazine that provoked a lot of comments:

http://healthland.time.com/2013/09/17/aaron-alexis-and-the-dark-side-of-meditation/

 

Here’s the abstract of a scientific report that claims that meditation is only moderately (or not really) better than other forms of traditional therapies for treating anxiety,depression, stress/distress, positive mood, mental health–related quality of life, attention, substance use, eating habits, sleep, pain, and weight control.

http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1809754

 

And finally here’s an excellent interview with one of the most serious investigators in this area, from Brown University and it also includes the issue of lack of scientific validity with a lot of the research done on the effects of meditation:

http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-nation

 

In my opinion, the larger issue seems to be the de-linking of meditation from its centrality in Buddhist practice, which includes many other factors as outlined in the Eight-Fold Path.

Cherry-picking just one arm of this eight-fold path reduces and maybe even completely eradicates its real significance – which is the development of insight into reality and the associated characteristics of non-self, impermanence and unsatisfactoriness (anatta, anicca and dukkha).

In order for meditation to be truly meaningful in this sense, it needs to be given an ethical context within the five precepts and the skilful development of the Eight-Fold Path.

Meditation is the new jogging

27 Aug

I hope none of us on this blog needs any more motivation to meditate – but if we still do, here’s something that might help.

Dan Harris the famous news anchor on meditation:

 

The Master’s Journey

10 Jul

Mastering meditation is like mastering any other skill or sport. And this is what the journey looks like (from ‘Mastery’ by George Leonard)

 

                 The Mastery Curve

 

Master's Curve
There’s really no way around it. Learning any new skill involves relatively brief spurts of progress, each of which is followed by a slight decline to a plateau somewhat higher in most cases than that which preceded it. The curve above is necessarily idealized. In the actual learning experience, progress is less regular; the upward spurts vary; the plateaus have their own dips and rises along the way. But the general progression is almost always the same. To take the
master’s journey, you have to practice diligently,striving to hone your skills, to attain new levels of competence. But while doing so—and this is the inexorable fact of the journey—you also have to be willing to spend most of your time on a plateau, to keep practising even when you seem to be getting nowhere.

 

Is Meditation enough?

29 Jun

is meditation enough

“Meditation is used as therapy, to calm people down, as healing (to lower blood pressure, for instance, or deal with pain), and even as a way to get ahead in business, or win at sports. It is gradually becoming part of the mainstream. This is not unlike what has happened to the practice of yoga, once viewed as a sophisticated system of spiritual training, and now offered regularly. The technique may be there, but there is no heart. There is a danger that the practice of meditation could be similarly reduced. The very technique designed to undermine the power of ego-fixation could become another feather in our ego-cap.”

~ Judy Lief is a senior student of Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, who authorized her as a teacher in the Buddhist and Shambhala traditions.

 

What do you think she means by “The technique may be there, but there is no heart”?

 

Read more here –> Is meditation enough

 

Sati Pasala

Sati Pasala aims at sharing mindfulness with students, teachers, and entire school and university communities, as well as those in other relevant sectors.

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