The fourth installment of the Buddhism and Medicine series of conferences, a grand experiment bringing together Buddhist Masters, Doctors and Scientists, took place from May 31st through June 2nd at the Lerab Ling Buddhist Retreat Center in France. This year’s forum topic was “Compassion, Empathy and Health” and was attended by over 800 people.
In the great myth, Sisyphus is condemned by the gods, day in and out, to roll a large boulder up to the top of a steep mountain. When the stone reaches the peak, it rolls back down to bottom. And so he would have to start his task over, from the bottom of the hill, day in and out. The punishment is clear: in the hopelessness and repetitiveness of the punishment, the gods are forcing Sisyphus to confront that which most of us prefer to ignore: the futility that underlies existence.
Theses days, it seems like nearly everyone is barely managing to cope with the stress of day-to-day life. In addition, we are often reacting to situations based on unhealed wounds resulting from traumatic childhood experiences rather than simply responding authentically to the present moment.
A busy life can be experienced as an addictive video game, comprising the twisty route from a morning coffee to the time we return home and close the door on the world and its demands. The circuit is strewn with pleasant opportunities—friendly conversations—which we navigate toward, and unpleasant roadblocks—impossible characters with impractical deadlines—which we try to avoid. Caught up in the game, our frustrations and disappointments are stifled so we can keep moving. We lose track of how these blocked emotions translate into stress carried in the body; our external fixation and continual thoughts relegate the body to the corners of awareness; the tension that lies beneath our attention spans often remains unnoticed.
Here is a full teaching from Sogyal Rinpoche on meditation and understanding the mind which he gave in Sydney at the end of March 2013.
Sometimes it seems so difficult to meditate. We might try to sit, but our minds are all over the place; or perhaps we have too much pressure and stress in our life and can't seem to find the mental space for meditation. What can we do?
In this video, Sogyal Rinpoche suggests an alternative to the habitual self-identification with our thoughts and emotions. Normally, it is as if the thoughts about who we are or what we are experiencing are in fact who we are.
Adam Engle argues that most of the biggest problems in the world and for individuals are made by human beings. But recent developments in contemplative science are paving the way for a transformation in the way we view ourselves and our relationship to the world that could be a powerful force for positive global change.
Adam Engle and Erric Solomon discuss whether the traditional goal of profound spiritual transformation, popularly referred to as enlightenment, has any role to play in the new emotional/mental fitness industry.
A group of us joined Tsoknyi Rinpoche on a trip to Muktinath in the Mustang district of Nepal. At nearly 4,000 meters (or 13,000 feet), the views of the valley below and 22,000 foot mountain peaks was spectacular. But perhaps at least as impressive was that it is a sacred place of pilgrimage, where both Hindu and Buddhist meditators attained authentic accomplishment in meditation practice for over a thousand years.