Meditation Question

A recent e-mail:


I was wondering if you teach meditation to beginners? Where would I go for this, and when would I come if so. Thank you.

We do some meditation in our Sunday Services. I also teach meditation on a biweekly basis for five meetings. That is coming to an end on Nov 8. If you want to drop by at 7pm then to observe that would be ok. The same is true for our Sunday services at 10:30am. some are formal and others are informal, still some are geared to meditation. There are also many groups in the city.

A word of advice:

1. There are many types of meditation. Choose a group and a teacher that suits you and your needs. Don't be afraid to change a few times until you are getting the work you need.

2. Meditation is so popular now that everyone is getting into the act. some teachers are borrowing extensively from Buddhism but do not give credit where credit is due. Other jump on the bandwagon and really don't know what they are doing. There is now money to be made, books to sell, and reputations to have; all at a great price.

3. To use Buddhist meditation is to have Buddhist experiences: awareness of the universal experience of suffering, universal compassion, relativity of all our identity scenarios, oneness with emptiness, moral and ethical groundedness, nirvana (end of ignorance, hatred and greed). Many people are not ready to face these and want a kind of feel-good escapism. They want to borrow status from their teacher and gain a spiritual superiority. This can be very misleading and waste years of effort.

Buddha Smiles
Sensei Ulrich

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

In response to Sensei's Dharma talk on "A Thousand Winds," we received this e-mail:

I read through the temple website recently and was stunned to find my favorite poem! I first heard the poem featured at a funeral of a character on the TV soap, Coronation Street. I researched a bit and found that the author is supposedly Mary Elizabeth Frye (1904-2004) but no one is really sure she wrote it originally.

It was neither published nor copyrighted by Frye, although she was the only living person to credibly claim its authorship. Frye is near universally cited as the author, and her literary significance is based almost entirely upon it, but other sources, including traditional native American origins, have been suggested over the years.

Read her obituary from The Times.

Thanks for your help!

Another Wonder

Here is an e-mail received this week:

I would nominate the Elora and Ajanta caves in India as potential Buddhist wonders of the world. There is a Hindu element there as well, but you can't really escape that in India. I've been there and have been in awe of what these stone carvers have done. It's all made of one rock and has been carved into the cliff. Nothing was brought in. The other interesting feature is that is shows a transition in Buddhist thinking where originally the depiction of living beings was forbidden, and then later approved and utilized.

A first-hand account is always good. Thanks for your e-mail.