By Dave Asprey November 15, 2018
As the holidays approach, it’s time to think about “being grateful.” Gratitude may be a built-in part of many traditions—from Thanksgiving to Christmas and Hanukkah—but it’s actually more wired-in than woo-woo.
What you put in your body determines what you get out of it. That’s true for food and exercise, and it’s also true for your thoughts. During this celebratory, gluttonous time of year where we’re hyper aware of what we should (and shouldn’t) be eating and drinking, we should also consider what we’re thinking, too.
There is real science behind the power and benefits of practicing gratitude. more...
Donald Hoffman of the University of California Irvine explains how quantum mechanics, including the free-particle wave-function, can be derived from a mathematically precise model of consciousness on his theory.
Psychedelics aren’t a shortcut for Buddhist practice, because practice involves every moment of life—especially the boring ones.
By Brad Warner SEP 07, 2018
People get mad when I say it’s not right for drugs to be promoted as Buddhism. But that’s OK with me. Sometimes you have to make people mad.
When a recent spate of articles espousing drug use as dharma practice appeared in popular Buddhist magazines, like this one, they required a strong rebuke from someone with the proper credentials to say, “No, it isn’t.” I knew no one else was going to step up. So I did.
I was mean and ornery. I frothed at the mouth. I called people bad names. I said they were charlatans. It was ugly. But I felt like it had to be done. more...
For some Buddhists, experiences of selflessness induced by hallucinogens are tools for practice. But others see distraction and even danger.
By Gabriel Lefferts JUL 27, 2018
Nearly ten years ago, in the middle of a monthlong meditation retreat, Spring Washam had a sobering experience.Far from entering one of the blissful states of concentration that often mark the jhanas, the progressive stages of meditative absorption outlined in Theravada Buddhism, she entered a state of trauma.
An experienced Buddhist practitioner and teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Washam insists that the Buddhist teachings were not at fault. It was the form of the practice—being silent, being still, being alone—that unraveled unconscious levels of pain to an unbearable degree.
“What I realized there,” she recalled, “was that the form of sitting in silence wasn’t alleviating the symptoms; it was making it worse.” more...
BY JILL SUTTIE | SEPTEMBER 5, 2018
New research corrects some common misconceptions about cultivating moment-to-moment awareness.
Mindfulness meditation can help us lead happier, healthier lives . . . at least according to science. Yet many of us still balk at the idea of practicing it ourselves. Perhaps we fear that meditation is too new agey, or it might slow us down or lead to complacency. Some might fear mindfulness could come at the expense of productivity, a moral compass, or even the vitality that gives us our edge. more...
31/05/2018 - Coming to Grips with the Implications of Quantum Mechanics (Bernardo Kastrup, Henry P. Stapp, Menas C. Kafatos)
By Bernardo Kastrup, Henry P. Stapp, Menas C. Kafatos on May 29, 2018
The question is no longer whether quantum theory is correct, but what it means
For almost a century, physicists have wondered whether the most counterintuitive predictions of quantum mechanics (QM) could actually be true. Only in recent years has the technology necessary for answering this question become accessible, enabling a string of experimental results—including startling ones reported in 2007 and 2010, and culminating now with a remarkable test reported in May—that show that key predictions of QM are indeed correct. Taken together, these experiments indicate that the everyday world we perceive does not exist until observed, which in turn suggests—as we shall argue in this essay—a primary role for mind in nature. It is thus high time the scientific community at large—not only those involved in foundations of QM—faced up to the counterintuitive implications of QM’s most controversial predictions. more...
By Kristen Duke, Adrian Ward, Ayelet Gneezy, and Maarten Bos MARCH 20, 2018
“Put your phone away” has become a commonplace phrase that is just as often dismissed. Despite wanting to be in the moment, we often do everything within our power to the contrary. We take out our phones to take pictures in the middle of festive family meals, and send text messages or update our social media profiles in the middle of a date or while watching a movie. At the same time, we are often interrupted passively by notifications of emails or phone calls. Clearly, interacting with our smartphones affects our experiences. But can our smartphones affect us even when we aren’t interacting with them—when they are simply nearby? more...
Peter Doran (Lecturer in Law, Queen's University Belfast) February 24, 2018 12.12am AEDT
Mindfulness is big business, worth in excess of US$1.0 billion in the US alone and linked – somewhat paradoxically – to an expanding range of must have products. These include downloadable apps (1300 at the last count), books to read or colour in, and online courses. Mindfulness practice and training is now part of a global wellness industry worth trillions of dollars.
Mindfulness has its origins in Buddhist meditation teachings and encourages the quiet observation of habituated thought patterns and emotions. The aim is to interrupt what can be an unhealthy tendency to over-identify with and stress out about these transient contents of the mind. By doing so, those who practice mindfulness can come to dwell in what is often described as a more “spacious” and liberating awareness. They are freed from seemingly automatic tendencies (such as anxiety about status, appearances, future prospects, our productivity) that are exploited by advertisers and other institutions in order to shape our behaviour. In its original Buddhist settings, mindfulness is inseparable from the ethical life. more...
BY MATTHIEU RICARD| FEBRUARY 20, 2018
Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard provides a glimpse into the life of Patrul Rinpoche, a wandering yogi who became one of the most illustrious masters of Tibetan Buddhism. From the Spring 2018 issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly.
Patrul Rinpoche, Orgyen Jigme Chökyi Wangpo (1808–1887), a wandering practitioner in the ancient tradition of vagabond renunciants, became one of the most revered spiritual teachers in Tibetan history, widely renowned as a scholar and author while at the same time living a life of utmost simplicity. A strong advocate of the joys of solitude, he always stressed the futility of worldly pursuits and ambitions. The memory of his life’s example is still very much alive today, offering an ever-fresh source of inspiration for practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. more...
12/02/2018 - Are You Looking to Buddhism When You Should Be Looking to Therapy? (C. W. Huntington Jr.)
The ultimate goal of Buddhist practice isn’t about achieving mental health.
By C. W. Huntington, Jr., SPRING 2018
Some 30 years ago Jack Engler published an influential study based on his experience as both a Buddhist meditation teacher and a clinical psychologist. He had discovered over the years that many people who come to Buddhism are looking for the kind of help they ought properly to seek in psychotherapy. “With the ‘triumph of the therapeutic’ in Western culture,” he wrote, there is a tendency in mindfulness meditation to “analyze mental content instead of simply observing it.”
In more recent years this conflation between Buddhist practice and psychotherapy has only deepened. Books tracing associations between the two traditions have proliferated, and the use of mindfulness meditation in a therapeutic setting has become commonplace. Indeed, pristine, unassailable mental health is often assumed to be the ultimate goal of all study and practice of the dharma. more...
UVA psychiatrist Jim Tucker investigates children’s claims of past lives
by SEAN LYONS
When Ryan Hammons was 4 years old, he began directing imaginary movies. Shouts of “Action!” often echoed from his room.
But the play became a concern for Ryan’s parents when he began waking up in the middle of the night screaming and clutching his chest, saying he dreamed his heart exploded when he was in Hollywood. His mother, Cyndi, asked his doctor about the episodes. Night terrors, the doctor said. He’ll outgrow them. Then one night, as Cyndi tucked Ryan into bed, Ryan suddenly took hold of Cyndi’s hand.
“Mama,” he said. “I think I used to be someone else.” more...
12/01/2018 - Healthy habits of mind bring happiness and can be learned – even by the busy (Richard Davidson)
Richard J. Davidson Tuesday, 09 January, 2018
Richard J. Davidson says research into how mental training like meditation affects our health throws light on what constitutes a healthy mind. Well-being – as understood by its qualities of awareness, connection, insight and purpose – is a skill that can be learned
Here I was, in a trip to Hong Kong late last year, sitting on a panel with a close friend and renowned Buddhist monk, famed actor Jet Li, one of Hong Kong’s top mental health professionals, and a forward-thinking business CEO. From diverse walks of life, we were honed in on one question: what do ancient wisdom and modern science teach us about how to nurture healthier minds, and how can we harness this to lead our best lives at home and at work? more...
Johann Hari Sun 7 Jan ‘18
In the 1970s, a truth was accidentally discovered about depression – one that was quickly swept aside, because its implications were too inconvenient, and too explosive. American psychiatrists had produced a book that would lay out, in detail, all the symptoms of different mental illnesses, so they could be identified and treated in the same way across the United States. It was called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. In the latest edition, they laid out nine symptoms that a patient has to show to be diagnosed with depression – like, for example, decreased interest in pleasure or persistent low mood. For a doctor to conclude you were depressed, you had to show five of these symptoms over several weeks. more...
By Ken McLeod
Buddhist teachings do not advise asking others to absolve us from our misdeeds. Instead, they outline a path to purification that will change our relationship to reactive patterns.
Let me say, right at the start, that I am not going to be diplomatic. The extent to which the notion of forgiveness has insinuated itself into contemporary Buddhist thinking disturbs me deeply. Although many may disagree with me, I feel that current interpretations of forgiveness in the Buddhist community undermine the teachings of karma, encourage the cult of victimhood, weaken human relationships, and obfuscate the practice of purification. more...
By The Dalai Lama Dec. 1, 2017
A crack in a floating ice shelf in Antarctica reached its breaking point and calved a huge iceberg, setting it afloat in the seas. It’s a fitting image for a world that feels under pressure and on the verge of, well, everything — ready to break off and set itself free. The global political temperature is on the rise, the future of truth is under debate and the specter of nuclear conflict hovers. We asked His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his thoughts on how to cope.
We are facing a time of great uncertainty and upheaval in many corners of our planet. When it comes to making the world a better place, concern for others is tantamount. more...
B. Alan Wallace 29th November, 2017
Prof. B. Alan Wallace, dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, talks on “Mind, Emptiness and Quantum Physics” for the general public at LTWA Buddhist Philosophy Hall. more...
BY CHRISTINE SKARDA| JANUARY 12, 2017
Christine Skarda has been on retreat for the past twenty-five years. She offers advice on preparing for a successful retreat.
Let go of the idea of a perfect retreat placeThere is no such place! After all, this is samsara, not nirvana.
When we think about doing a retreat, we tend to recall famous practitioners and want our retreat to be like theirs: done in perfect isolation, with no distractions, no interruptions, and filled with spiritual accomplishments. Sounds good, but this ideal comes from a selective reading of their actual retreat circumstances. more...
Mindfulness has to be principled, otherwise it’s just a guy in California eating a raisin really, really slowly
Zoe Williams Saturday 11 November 2017
The problem with mindfulness is that it spread across the world unhinged from the philosophy of human goodness that was supposed to underpin it. A sniper has to be mindful, in the sense of living in a state of complete presence and awareness; but he wouldn’t do much for the Dalai Lama. It doesn’t have to be religious necessarily, but mindfulness has to be principled, otherwise it’s just a guy in California eating a raisin really, really slowly.
This was the starting point for the Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom, a modest but global organisation calling itself Buddhism’s “secular wing”. It’s just round the corner from my house, as fortune would have it, and I’ve imbibed the benevolent self-acceptance that suffuses its scruffy south London headquarters – above a vegan cafe, next to a Buddhist film archive – but you do your own work on the 16 Guidelines app. Every day, you choose a value to live by and spend five minutes thinking deeply about what it means. more...
A large trial in schools showed no evidence of benefits, and hints it could even cause problems
By Cindi May on October 31, 2017
Mindfulness involves a conscious focus on and awareness of your present state of mind and surroundings, without judgment or reaction. Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhism and was developed in the 1970’s as a therapeutic intervention for stress in adults by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Over the past several decades, the practice of mindfulness has evolved into a booming billion dollar industry, with growing claims that mindfulness is a panacea for host of maladies including stress, depression, failures of attention, eating disorders, substance abuse, weight gain, and pain.
Not all of these claims, however, are likely to be true. more...