Archive for December, 2008

My virtual meditation space


Just Leap In is an interactive 3D space that’s similar to Second Life but works in your browser (Firefox or Internet Explorer) while SL requires a dedicated program. I tried Second Life a year or two back and have to confess that even clothing an avatar the way I liked it was beyond me. I never got round to actually creating anything there. I presume my character is still hanging around on some park bench somewhere!

Just Leap In is still in beta but it’s much easier to use. It took very little time to create a virtual meditation center. I’ve decorated it with pictures of Buddha statues, thangkas, and scriptures that I uploaded, as well as with some of the pre-made furnishings that are available in the space. I’ve even uploaded an audio-visual guided meditation (that’s what the …

Posted at 1pm on Dec 31, 2008 | 4 comments
Filed Under: Meditation & practice

My new publication comes out tomorrow!

Still the mind cover

The wonderful people at Sounds True are bringing out a double-CD set of my teachings on the Mindfulness of Breathing practice tomorrow (Jan 1, 2009). It’s called “Still the Mind” and it’s a step-by-step guide to the four stages of the practice, illuminating the principles underlying each stage and explaining the various ways that our awareness of the breath can be used to cultivate calmness, energy, mental integration, and one-pointed concentration.

Here’s a bit of the blurb.

The average person has 12,000 thoughts per day—most of them a recurring handful of unwelcome distractions. On Still the Mind, master meditation teacher Bodhipaksa offers an essential program for anyone looking to move beyond the chatter of a too-busy mind, while laying the foundation for a daily meditation practice. Two CDs of instruction and guided sitting sessions will help you discover the breath as an untapped

Posted at 10am on Dec 31, 2008 | 4 comments
Filed Under: Books
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The friars of the South Bronx

Brother Tansi looked out the window of the chapel at the St. Crispin Friary in the South Bronx

I just came across this fascinating NYT article about a burgeoning monastic community that was established in the Bronx in 1987 by the Franciscan friars. They take vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity, spend up to five hours a day in prayer, and spend time visiting and helping the sick, poor, and elderly.

One interesting thing is the relative youth of the friars. The oldest and longest-serving resident at St. Crispin’s is the Rev. Rich Roemer, who is relative young 39, while the youngest friar is Brother Juanmaria Arroyo Acevedo, at a mere 24.

In some ways the community reminds me of FWBO (Friends of the Western Buddhist Order) residential communities, which also represent an attempt to create a realm of simplicity and spiritual practice in the heart …

Posted at 10am on Dec 31, 2008 | 1 comment
Filed Under: Meditation & practice
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Wordless Wednesday: Dolphins in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Dolphin & whale mural, Portsmouth NH

Posted at 5pm on Dec 30, 2008 | 15 comments
Filed Under: Photography, Wordless Wednesday
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The difficulty of making changes

Scientific American has a very interesting and challenging article on how difficult it can be to bring about personal change. It’s worth reading the entire article, but here’s the handy digest (you know, just in case that resolution to stop skimming the surface of articles isn’t working out for ya).

  • Studies of personality development often focus on traits such as extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness to new experiences. In most people, these traits change more during young adulthood than any other period of life, including adolescence. Openness typically increases during a person’s 20s and goes into a gradual decline after that.
  • This pattern of personality development seems to hold true across cultures. Although some see that as evidence that genes determine our personality, many researchers theorize that personality traits change during young adulthood because this is a time of life when people assume new roles: finding a partner, starting a

Posted at 11am on Dec 30, 2008 | no comments
Filed Under: Meditation & practice
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