Sunday, September 23, 2018

Animals: Full Moon Honey Offering

BD Dipananda (BuddhistDoor.net); Dhr. Seven, Ananda M., Crystal Q. (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
The Buddha with monkey and elephant in Parileyya Forest (scentsofgrace)
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The Honey-Offering Festival: Commemorating the Service of Animals to the Buddha
A forest monkey makes an offering of honey.
The Honey-Offering Festival is a Buddhist religious ceremony that commemorates the service and sustenance provided by animals to the Buddha during his tenth rains retreat [following his enlightenment] at Parileyya Forest.

According to legend, during his stay in the forest a monkey brought him an offering of a honeycomb to eat, while an elephant brought fruit and protected the Buddha from fierce animals.
 
Golden statue of the kind elephant and generous monkey
When the Buddha accepted the gift of the honeycomb, the monkey became overjoyed and began to leap from tree to tree. He thereby suffered a fatal fall in his reckless jubilation.

However, because of his generous gift, the monkey was immediately reborn in the celestial World of the Thirty-Three (Tavatimsa), the second of the six heavens in the Sensual Sphere (Kama Loka).

Since these events are believed to have taken place on the day of the full moon, the occasion has come to be commemorated as Madhu Purnima or “honey full moon.”

The festival is observed on the full moon day of the tenth lunar month, mostly by Theravada Buddhists in South and Southeast Asia.

This year (2018) the festival falls on September 28th, and Theravada Buddhists in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and elsewhere will observe it by offering honey and other foods as alms to monastics.

As a Buddhist lunar day of observance, uposatha, that dates back to the time of the Buddha and during which members of the monastic community or sangha and lay practitioners observe their practice more deeply -- the basic Monastic Code (Patimokkha) governing conduct within the Monastic Order is recited.

Traditionally, a minimum of four monastics is required to recite the basic code; however, in circumstances when fewer monastics are present, the Vinaya (full set of Monastic Rules) prescribes alternative activities. The most senior monk of the group leads the ceremony, following a ritual for mental purification.
 
Lay Buddhists also play an active role in commemorating the day, many of them observing the Eight Precepts (uposatha sila):
 
1. To refrain from taking life
2. To refrain from stealing
3. To refrain from sexual activity
4. To refrain from false speech (perjury, etc.)
5. To refrain from using intoxicants
6. To refrain from eating at the improper time
7. To refrain from dancing, singing, wearing garlands, and perfumes
8. To refrain from using luxurious sleeping places.
 
They can also practice meditation, listen to Dharma talks, recite sutras, and participate in other ritual activities. More
 

What is the attitude of Buddhism toward animals? The Full Moon Honey Offering is a poignant tale that shows the special place and potential of animals in the Buddhist tradition. The Dharma Meditation Initiative commemorates it on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 at 7:00 PM, Neighborhood UU Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Room 23, Pasadena, Los Angeles, CA 91103.

Mandela Effect, DMT, Simulation... (video)

Felipe Alexander (2016 video); What's the Mandela Effect?; Pat Macpherson, Ananda M. (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly


Mandela Effect, DMT, Simulation Reality, I-Ching, and more
Felipe A.
The Mandela Effect is perhaps one of the most shocking, overwhelming, and confounding certainties.

It can penetrate the human mind so harshly that it can cause a small awakening within an individual or cause one to denounce such wild theories and use the confabulation argument via Wikipedia on every single effect despite the growing mass of evidence that something is clearly altering recorded history.

For many of us the Mandela Effect has had a profound influence in our lives since discovering it. Life was for lack of a better term "normal" before the Mandela Effect, but after coming in contact with this it has caused many of us, including me, to question my own beliefs on how this universe functions and my role in it.

The Mandela Effect has the strike of a 1,000 tons of dynamite on the human psyche but is nothing in comparison to what I am going to talk about here. This is a rabbit hole and it goes deep!

REFERENCE VIDEOS

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Fall season begins today (Sept. 22)


(COMING SOON: Dharma Meditation Initiative (9/20/18) attendees have voted unanimously to organize a sacred plant ceremony for shamanic healing -- just as the Buddha's tribe, the Shakyians/Scythians, utilized sacred soma (haoma) for the expanding of consciousness and meditating/seeing things as they truly are.)

What is the attitude of Buddhism toward animals? The Full Moon Honey Offering is a poignant tale that shows the special place and potential of animals in the Buddhist tradition. Lunar exploration meditation. Special vegan chocolate snacks with agave (planet "honey").
  • Dharma Meditation Initiative, Los Angeles
  • Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 7:00-8:30 PM
  • Neighborhood Church 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Room 23
  • (near Colorado Blvd.), Pasadena, CA 91103

Working with difficult emotions (video)

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (ajoyfulmind.com); Crystal Q., CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly


(Paul MacGowan, March 2017) Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche talks about how to use meditation to work with and transform our emotions even the most difficult ones.

Everything we know about Jesus is wrong

Reza Aslan, Abby Martin (Breaking the Set/RT); Pat Macpherson, Crystal Q., Wisdom Quarterly


Why Everything You Think You Know about Jesus is Wrong: Interview with Author Reza Aslan
Abby Martin interviews Reza Aslan (April 2014), historian and author of the best-selling book Zealot: the Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, discussing how he arrived at the conclusion that Jesus of Nazareth was a revolutionary political leader rather than the peaceful prophet characterized by mainstream culture.

Volunteering, meditating in Burma (video)

ThabarwaVolunteering.com, ThaBarWa Centre; Ellie Marsh, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly


Here's a usual day in the all-volunteer ThaBarWa Centre as international volunteers help the Buddhist monastics, patients, projects, as well as meditating, eating, and enjoying each others' company (Summer 2018). This short video is a snapshot of life in Buddhist Asia for Western travelers, made by a lovely Latin couple. Gracias. Facebook: @thabarwavolunteering, Instagram: @thabarwavolunteering. Contact us with any question. It's crazy here, so I stayed ten months.
   

QUESTION: Venerable sir, should monastics improve society?

Sayadaw U Ottamasara, the abbot at ThaBarWa, explains if and how Buddhist monastics should attempt to improve society. Q&A session, Dec. 2014, ThaBarWa Meditation Center, Thanlyin, Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar).

Friday, September 21, 2018

PARTY at my house with the cops (video)

Project X, Pasadena (best scene); DJ Cube, Steve Aoki; Hedonist Club (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly


Project X is an American comedy film directed by Nima Nourizadeh and written by Michael Bacall and Matt Drake based on a story by Bacall, and produced by director Todd Phillips.

The film follows three friends -- Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper), and J.B. (Jonathan Daniel Brown) -- who try to gain popularity by throwing a party, a plan that gets out of control.

A nationwide open casting call was used to find fresh faces. Filming took place on sets in the foothill community of Pasadena, a suburb of greater Los Angeles over five weeks on a $12,000,000 budget.



The film is presented as a found footage home video from the perspective of an attendee using a camera to document the night's events.

Some critics compared it to the old comedy Animal House. Following its release, incidents of large-scale parties blamed or referenced blamed the film as an inspiration. 


(Q-Designs) Kid Cudi ft. MGMT: "Pursuit of Happiness" (Steve Aoki Dance Remix from Project X Soundtrack OFFICIAL VIDEO, Summer 2012), video edit: DJ Cube.

"Wandering But Not Lost" (video)

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (preview) via Paul MacGowan, 2018; Editors, Wisdom Quarterly


In 2011 Mingyur Rinpoche (tergar.org) left his monastery in Bodh Gaya, India (the place of the Buddha's great enlightenment), late at night to go on a wandering retreat. He didn't tell anyone where he was going. He returned 4 1/2 years later. This film is a reflection of his journey. Go to ajoyfulmind.com to find out more.


Mingyur Rinpoche: "Calming the Mind: The Practice of Awareness Meditation" (Lerab Ling, Dec. 9, 2013) This is a public talk by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche in Lerab Ling, France, on September 11, 2010. More

Trump is an idiot on trade (Last Week Tonight)

John Oliver (Last Week Tonight, , 8/19/18, HBO); Seth Auberon (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly


Trade: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Supreme Leader Donny Trump is waging a trade war that hurts many American workers. Maybe he would understand this if our heavy-handed documentaries about the global trading system were more informative. Connect with Last Week Tonight online.
 
Subscribe to the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel for more almost-news as it almost happens:  Find Last Week Tonight on Facebook like your mom would:
 
Facebook.com/LastWeekTonight. Follow on Twitter for news about jokes and jokes about news: Twitter.com/LastWeekTonight. Visit the official site for all that other stuff at once: HBO.com/lastweektonight.

Byron Katie: The Work; Find Peace (video)

Byron Katie (thework.com), SpiritTV; Crystal Quintero, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly



Who is Byron?
A Mind at Home with Itself by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell
A Mind at Home with Itself
Ms. Katie is, to us, a kind of female Eckhart Tolle, a self-styled teacher who realized something that sounds a lot like Buddhism but does not use that language. She, like Tolle, is "New Age," new thought, contemporary American spirituality and self-help.

Her "The Work" is a kind of INQUIRY that assiduously asks four questions. Pursuing these, contemplating these, trying to answer these resolves all problems. There may be more work to do, but The Work is just tackling these inquiries.

Her book is now available in paperback
"Byron Katie has rocked my world and shaken loose my mind more thoroughly than any other spiritual teacher I’ve ever encountered, living or dead."
— Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love


is a 28-day residential program to offer an uninterrupted experience of The Work. Looking for a way out? Katie invites you to drop in.  It's open to welcome you home. Next Session: Nov. 5 to Dec. 2, 2018

Eckhart Tolle: Addiction to Thinking (video)

Eckhart Tolle (eckharttolle.com); Crystal Quintero, Eliza Darcey (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

10-Day Free Trial: Awaken to a Life of Purpose and Presence


Eckhart Tolle seems to have spontaneously awakened to the transcendent truth of anatta, the impersonal (egoless) nature of existence. This realization, as taught by awakened teachers ("buddhas") leads to the first stage of enlightenment. Tolle's practice of sati ("mindfulness, vigilance, watchfulness, conscientiousness, remembrance, presence of mind") he calls "presence."

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Getting UNstuck with Pema Chodron (audio)

American Tibetan Shambhala nun Pema Chodron (pemachodronfoundation.org) via SoundsTrue and Roy of Hollywood (KPFK); CC Liu, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly



The Buddhist Contemplative TraditionBuddhist teacher, author, mother, and nun Pema Chodron has inspired millions of people from around the world.
They have been touched by her example and message of practicing peace in these turbulent times (When Things Fall Apart).
The Pema Chodron Foundation is dedicated to preserving and sharing Pema Chodron’s inspiration and teachings in order that they might help us all awaken wisdom and compassion in ourselves and the world around us. 

On the website (pemachodronfoundation.org) learn more about her work, teachings, and publications as well as the vision of the Pema Chodron Foundation, which supports... More

The Place of Pot in my Practice (Sept. 20)

Ananda M. (Dharma Meditation Initiative), Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly


Dharma Meditation Initiative, Los Angeles
Do entheogens (substances that bring out the divine within) like cannabis (the entheogenic use of cannabis), magic mushrooms, Amazonian Ayahuasca brews -- which seem to stimulate our endogenous DMT, di-methyl-tryptamine, The Spirit Molecule and pineal glands -- have any place in meditation or spiritual experiences?

Talk is cheap, so we'll talk about the possibility of organizing a plant ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 20, 7:00-8:30 PM at Los Angeles' Dharma Meditation Initiative, Neighborhood Church Room 23, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena 91103, two blocks north of Colorado Blvd.
These plants CURE addiction, research is showing (e.g., Dr. Charles S Grob, UCLA). Psyche-delic means "mind-making" (reality-creating, matrix-imagining), and the plant world has much to teach us. Wait, what does the Dalai Lama have to say about this?

Dear Dalai Lama: What about psychedelics in spiritual practice?

The new science of psychedelics (Michael Pollan)

How to Meditate: Yongey Mingyur (video)

Yongey Mingyur; Ananda M. (Dharma Meditation Initiative); Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly


Mind Vast as Space, Going Beyond: A Secular Perspective
It's easy!
This public talk from April 19, 2018 was given at the London School of Economics Old Theatre in London, England. To view Yongey Mingyur's teaching schedule, visit tergar.org/schedule. For nearby classes and workshops, visit tergar.org/events. To learn more about meditation or about Mingyur Rinpoche and his Tibetan Buddhist teachings, visit the Tergar Meditation Community online at learning.tergar.org.

Sakka and "Big Blackie" (Maha Kanha Jataka)

Dhr. Seven, Eliza Darcey (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly, Jataka 469 ("Stories of the Buddha’s Former Rebirths"), Book 12, Francis via SuttaCentral.net; Sentinel Beast, "Dogs of War"
Sakka: I will look after the human world when a buddha's teaching begins to decline.

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469. Maha Kanha Jataka
“A black, black hound” and so on -- this story was told by the Buddha while dwelling at Jetavana, about living for the benefit of the world.

One day, they say, the monastics were sitting in the Hall of Truth (Dharma Hall) talking. “Venerables,” one would say, “the Teacher, ever practicing friendship towards the multitudes of people, has given up an agreeable residence and lives just for the good of the world.

"Moreover, he has attained supreme wisdom yet of his own accord takes bowl and robe and goes on a journey of 18 or more leagues.
  • To the Five Ascetics he set a rolling the Wheel of the Dharma [the Teaching that leads to complete freedom from all rebirth and suffering];
  • on the fifth day of the half-month he recited the "Discourse on the Impersonal Nature of All Things" (Anattalakkhana Sutra), and guided them to full enlightenment;
  • he went to Uruvela and there, to the wandering ascetics with long matted hair, he displayed miracles -- three thousand and half a thousand -- and persuaded them to become [Buddhist] monastics practicing for enlightenment;
  • at Gayasisa he recited the Fire Sermon and guided a thousand of those wandering ascetics to full enlightenment;
  • to Maha Kassapa, when he had gone forward three miles to meet him, after three sutras he gave the higher ordination;
  • all alone, after the noon-day meal, he went a journey of 45 leagues and then established in the fruit of the third path Pukkusa (a youth of very good birth);
  • to meet Maha Kappina he went forward a space of 2,000 leagues and guided him to full enlightenment;
  • alone in the afternoon he went on a journey of 30 leagues and established in full enlightenment that cruel and harsh man Angulimala [the serial killer and mass murderer];
  • thirty leagues also he traversed and established the Ogre Alavaka in the fruit of the first path and saved the prince;
  • in the Celestial Realm of the Thirty-Three he visited three months and taught full comprehension of the Dharma to 800 million devas;
  • to [Baka] Brahma’s world he went and destroyed that [deva's] false views and guided 10,000 brahmas;
  • every year he goes on pilgrimage in three districts and to such people as are capable of receiving, he gives the Three Guiding Gems, the Virtues, and the fruits of the different stages;
  • he even acts for the good of naga reptilians and garuda avians and the like, in many ways.”
In such words they praised the goodness and worth of the One of the Ten Power’s life for the good of the world.

The Teacher came in and asked what they were talking about as they sat there. They answered him. “And no wonder, monastics,” he said. “One who now in perfected wisdom would live for the world’s good did so even in the past [when striving for supreme wisdom of buddhahood], in those days of suffering, lived for the good of the world.”

Story of a Past Life
O, Kassapa Buddha, there goes the Dharma!
So saying the Buddha told this story of the past: Once upon a time, in the days of [a previous teaching] Buddha Kassapa, there reigned a king named Usinara.

It was a long time after the Buddha Kassapa had declared the Four Noble Truths and guided multitudes of people from bondage to final liberation and had helped awaken large numbers of those to realize nirvana that that the dispensation (the Dharma/Buddhism of that buddha) fell into decay.

The male monastics gained their livelihood in 21 unlawful ways (modes of wrong livelihood). They "associated" with the nuns, and sons and daughters were born to them.

Monks forsook the duties of the Male Monastic Order, and nuns forsook the duties of Female Monastic Order, lay men and women their duties [see the Sigalovada Sutra], Brahmins no longer performed the duties of Brahmins:

Humans for the most part followed the Ten Courses of Unwholesome Conduct, and as they died they filled the ranks of all the states of suffering.

Then Sakka King of the Devas [of that time], observing that no new devas came into being (were reborn in the celestial worlds), looked abroad upon the world, and perceived how humans were reborn into states of suffering, and that the dispensation of Kassapa Buddha had decayed.

“What shall I do now?” Sakka wondered. “Ah, I have it!” he thought: “I will scare and terrify humankind, and when I see that they are terrified, I will console them, I will declare the Dharma, I will restore the dispensation that has decayed, and I will make it last for another thousand years!”

"Big Blackie"
Maha Kanha, "Big Blackie," the sentinel beast
With this resolve he transformed the deva Matali [his charioteer/vimana pilot] into the shape of a huge black hound with four [hog] tusks as big as plantains, horrible to look upon, with a hideous shape and a fat belly, as of a woman ready to give birth.

He fastened him with a fivefold chain and put on him a red wreath led by a cord.

Sakka put on a pair of yellow garments and bound his hair behind his head and donned a red wreath. Taking a huge bow fitted with bowstring the color of coral and twirling in his fingers a javelin tipped with adamant, he assumed the aspect of a forester and descended at a spot one league [one hour's walk] away from the city.

“This world is doomed to destruction! Doomed to destruction! Doomed to destruction!” he called out three times with a loud voice that terrified the people. And when he reached and entered the city, he repeated that terrible cry.

The people seeing the hound were frightened and ran into the city and told the ruler what had happened.

Sakka in disguise
Sakka (St. Michael in Catholicism), King of the Devas
The ruler quickly caused the city gates to be closed. But Sakka leaped over the wall, 18 cubits in height, and with his hound stood within the city.

The people in terror ran away into houses and locked the doors. Big Blackie gave chase to every human he saw and scared them and finally entered the ruler’s palace.

The people, who in their fright had taken refuge in the courtyard, ran into the palace and shut the door. And as for the ruler, he with the ladies of his household went up onto the terrace.

Big Blackie raised his forepaws and putting them in through the window roared a great roar. The sound of this roaring reached from [the lowest] realm to the highest realm: the whole world-system was one great roar.

The three great roars that were the loudest ever heard in "India" [Bharat or Jambudvipa] are these: the cry of King Punnaka in the Punnaka Jataka, the cry of the naga King Sudassana in the Bhuridatta Jataka, and this roar in the Maha Kanha Jataka [lit., the "Great-Black Birth Tale"], or the story of "Big Blackie." The people were terrified, filled with horror, and not a person could say a word to Sakka.

The ruler steeled his nerve and, approaching the window, cried out to Sakka: “Ho, huntsman! Why did your hound roar?”

Sakka answered, “The hound is hungry.”

“Well,” said the ruler, “I will order some food to be given to him.” He ordered his food and the food of all the household to be given to him. The hound seemed to make one mouthful of the whole thing then roared again.

Again the ruler asked and Sakka answered, “My hound is still hungry!” The ruler then had all the food of his elephants, horses, and so forth brought and given to Big Blackie. He also finished this off in one bite. Then the king had all the food in the city given to him.

Big Blackie swallowed all of this in like manner and roared again. The ruler said, “This is no hound. Beyond all doubt this is a goblin. I'll ask him where he has come from.” Terrified with fear he asked his question with this stanza:
“A black, black hound, with five cords bound, with fangs all white of hue,
Majestic, awful—mighty one, what makes he here with you?”
On hearing this Sakka uttered this stanza in return:
“Not to hunt game the Black Hound came, but he shall be of use
To punish humans, Usinara, when I shall let him loose.”
Then the ruler said, “What, huntsman, will the hound devour the flesh of all men, or of your enemies only?”

“Only my enemies, great king.”

“And who are your enemies?”

“Those, O king, who love unrighteousness and walk doing harm.”

“Describe them to us,” he asked. And Sakka, the King of the Devas, described them in these stanzas:
“When the false monks, bowls in hand, in one robe clad, shall choose
Tonsured the plough to follow, then the Black Hound I will loose.
“When nuns of the Order shall in single robe be found,
Tonsured, yet walking in the world, I will let loose the Hound.
“What time wandering ascetics, usurers, protruding the upper lip,
Foul-toothed and filthy-haired shall be -- the Black Hound I’ll let slip.
“When Brahmins, skilled in sacred texts and holy rites, shall use
Their skill to sacrifice for pelf, the Black Hound shall go loose.
“Whoso, parents now grown old, their youth now come to an end,
Would not maintain, although one might, against that person the Hound I’ll send.
“Who to parents now grown old, their youth now come to an end,
Cries, 'Fools are ye!' against such the Black Hound I'll send.
“When men go after others’ wives, of teacher, or of friend,
Sister of father, uncle’s wife, the Black Hound will I send.
“When shield on shoulder, sword in hand, full-armed as highway men
They take the road to kill and rob, I’ll loose the Black Hound then.
“When widows’ sons, with skin groomed white, in skill all useless found,
Strong-armed, shall quarrel and shall fight, then I will loose the Hound.
“When humans with hearts of evil full, false and deceitful men,
Walk in and out the world about, I’ll loose the Black Hound then.”
When Sakka, King of the Devas, had spoken thus, “These,” he explained, “are my 'enemies,' O king!” And he made as though he would let the hound leap forth and devour all those who did the deeds of enemies.

But as all the multitude was struck with terror, he held the hound by its leash and seemed, as it were, to tie him to that spot. Then taking off the disguise of a hunter, by his psychic power he rose and poised himself midair, all blazing as it appeared, and said:

“O great king, I am Sakka, King of the Devas! Seeing that the world was about to be destroyed, I came here. Now, indeed, humans as they die are filling the states of suffering because their deeds are unwholesome, and the celestial world has grown empty.

From here on in I will know how to deal with those who do harm, but be vigilant.” Then having in four stanzas, which were well worth remembering, declared the Dharma, he established the people in the virtues of generosity, strengthened the waning power of the dispensation so that it lasted for another thousand years, and with Matali returned to his own realm.

When the Teacher had ended this discourse, he added: “Therefore, monastics, in former times as now I have lived for the good of the world.”

Then [the Buddha] identified that rebirth: “At that time Ananda was Matali, and I was Sakka.” Source

What meditation can/can't do for health

Carolyn L. Todd (Self); Ananda M. (DMI), Crystal Q, Ashley Wells (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Meditation for people who find it hard to meditate, is there such a thing? (DMI)
meditation-health-benefits
Brain and vein, an artist's interpretation (CSA Plastock/Getty Images)
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[Buddhist] mindfulness meditation [altered by psychology and stripped of its spiritual element] is one wellness trend that shows no signs of disappearing. And what does the science say?
 
[We know science should not "should" all over us, but here it goes:] We know we "should" meditate. We’ve probably had plenty of friends tell us so and seen plenty of headlines about the benefits of meditation.

It makes us happier, healthier, calmer, more glowing, smarter, more youthful, nicer -- a generally better human, or so we’ve heard.

Maybe we've even dipped our toe into [our version of what we thought was] meditating once or twice, downloading Headspace after a stressful day, and couldn't really motivate ourselves to make it stick. Or, hey, maybe we are those people who actually sets aside 30 minutes a day to meditate. [Yeah, right.]
 
I thought I knew what meditation was.
Considering society's fleeting attention span when it comes to wellness advice, it's impressive that meditation -- which has roots in a variety of ancient Eastern traditions like Buddhism [and its fellow "wandering ascetic" or shramanic tradition] -- has achieved this status as a pillar of well-being [but its objective was, of course, much more significant than "stress reduction" or feeling better. The goal is a spiritual and transformative experience of personal liberation, evolution, and awakening].
 
But is meditation’s ubiquity based on rock-solid scientific research? [Because if it's not, Science being the only thing worth two s-its, then why are we wasting our time? We must be wasting it, and time must not be "wasted"; we must instead obey Science and its white clad priesthood of University Church brethren.]

Or are there other factors to thank for its staying power? What exactly is meditation capable of, and "should" we all be doing it? Several "experts" behind the growing body of research on the health effects of meditation talk about what the Science tells us -- and what we have yet to learn.

What is meditation?
“Meditation is generally used as a broad umbrella term that covers a wide array of contemplative practices, many of which are drawn from Buddhist traditions but have often been adapted and secularized for application in Western society,” neuroscientist Wendy Hasenkamp, Ph.D., science director at the Mind & Life Institute and visiting professor of contemplative sciences at the University of Virginia, tells SELF.

“[It is] a broad set of practices that seek to use the mind in specific, intentional ways.” More

Sutra on the Not-self Characteristic

Ven. √Ďanamoli Thera (trans.), Anatta-Lakkhana Sutra: "The Discourse on the Not-Self Characteristic (SN 22.59); Eliza Darcey, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Benares, in the Deer Park at Isipatana (the "Resort of Seers"). There he addressed the meditators called the group of five [wandering ascetics]:

"Meditators!"

— "Venerable sir," they replied. Then the Blessed One said this:
  1. "Meditators, form [the physical, the material, the tangible, body] is not self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and one could command of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form not be thus.' Since form is not self, it leads to affliction, and no one can command form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form not be thus.'
  2. "Feeling is not self...
  3. "Perception is not self...
  4. "Determinations are not self...
  5. "Consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could command consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness not be thus.' Since consciousness is not self, it leads to affliction, and no one can command consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness not be thus.'
"Meditators, how is one to conceive it: Is form permanent or impermanent?"

— "Impermanent, venerable sir."

— "Is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable sir."

— "Is what is impermanent -- and painful because it is subject to change -- fit to be regarded in this way: 'This is mine, this is I, this is myself'"?

— "No, venerable sir."

"Is feeling permanent or impermanent?...

"Is perception permanent or impermanent?...

"Are determinations permanent or impermanent?...

"Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?"

— "Impermanent, venerable sir."

— "Is what is impermanent pleasant or painful?"

— "Painful, venerable sir."

— "Is what is impermanent -- and painful since it is subject to change -- fit to be regarded in this way: 'This is mine, this is I, this is myself'"?

— "No, venerable sir."
"Therefore, meditators, any kind of form whatsoever -- whether past, future, or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether internal (of oneself) or external (of another), whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding of how it truly is, be regarded: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'
 
"Any kind of feeling whatsoever...

"Any kind of perception whatsoever...
 
"Any kind of determination whatsoever...

"Any kind of consciousness whatsoever -- whether past, future, or presently arisen -- whether gross or subtle, whether internal or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding of how it truly is, be regarded: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'

"Meditators, when a noble [i.e., enlightened] follower who has heard (the truth, the Dharma) sees things [namely, the Five Aggregates Clung to as Self, as they truly are] in this way,
  1. one finds estrangement in form,
  2. one finds estrangement in feeling,
  3. one finds estrangement in perception,
  4. one finds estrangement in determinations,
  5. one finds estrangement in consciousness.
"When one finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, one is liberated. When liberated, there is direct knowledge that one is liberated. One understands: 'Birth is exhausted, the pure life has been lived, what can be done has been done, of this [suffering in birth] there is no more beyond.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. The meditators were glad, and they approved of his words.

Now during this utterance, the hearts of the meditators of the group of five were liberated from taints through utterly letting go and clinging no more.

AfterBurn: Free Burning Man event (Sept. 22)

Thomas (20s/30s Just Social Club); Ananda M. (DMI), Seth Auberon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Don't look now. There's an orgy going on in that dome. That's Burning Man for ya.
This is so hot, so very red hot.
Dust off your Burner outfits and come get a little weird at the Venice AFTERBURN Saturday in Venice Beach. This is an official Regional Burning Man event.

So if you couldn't make it to Black Rock last week, here's a chance to taste the Burning Man ethos. Hang out and celebrate art and community with big scale installations, interactive art, music, performances, mutant vehicles, and everything else that's big about Burning Man, Venice Beach, Los Angeles. FREE!

Everyone's invited, y'all!
Everyone's invited, Burner or not. Self-expression is embraced as well as radical inclusion in an effort to extend the Burning Man spirit and culture beyond the playa and back to the "default world."

PLAN: Meet, hang out, walk around, watch the sun set behind the ocean, and look at cool stuff. Hey, it's (sort of) Burning Man -- so there's no super rigid schedule here. Afterward, if people wish, we might...or just hang out on the beach. Location and to RSVP
  • What? Art Cars, Art Installations, Performance Art, Hooping, Music, Poi, Weird Stuff