Inside a prison and on a footbridge, in grassy parks and under tarps, 2003 marked the most successful Change Your Mind Day ever.
On the afternoon of June 7, residents of thirty-eight cities (including, this year, Wellington, New Zealand) gathered for the tenth annual Change Your Mind Day (CYMD), an afternoon of free outdoor meditation instruction.
This year Tricycle set up the first-ever “Instant CYMD”—a phone line enabling those unable to attend events in their area to access Buddhist teachings. For the price of a longdistance phone call, would-be CYMD participants from around the world can listen to prerecorded thirty-minute meditation instructions from teachers of various traditions. Currently available are teachings from Sharon Salzberg, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and John Daido Loori. The phone line will be accessible through May of next year at (212) 990-6193.
Following are clips from reports sent in from several participating cities.
Albany, New York
“An insight meditation teacher taught us perfect instructions for Buddhists learned from training a seeing-eye dog: ‘Sit,’ ‘Leave it,’ and ‘Get Busy.’”
“Once again, CYMD happened during the ‘Strolling of the Heifers,’ a local cow parade. Eva Mondon told a story of a man coming up to the Buddha and saying ‘Have you seen my cows? I’ve lost my cows.’ The Buddha and his followers had not seen the cows, and when the distressed man left them to continue his search, the Buddha used the incident to point out the vicissitudes of owning cows.”
Danbury Federal Prison, Connecticut
“We had written a ‘cop out’ (prisoners’ official request form) to the chaplain, who accommodated us with a room reservation, a flyer (which she posted), and her blessings—all auspicious beginnings. The guard on duty gave us permission to use the chapel, a tiny office off the visiting room. All of us are imprisoned for acting on principles of social justice, so the focus of our concerns wasn’t surprising. We finished with blessings for all beings, on the inside and outside of prisons everywhere, in all times.”
“Nearby, a wedding party was posing for photographs, and that was the beginning of a progression of activities that took place in conjunction with our event: dogs chasing Frisbees, men passing a football, families strolling through the gardens.”
New York, New York
“In spite of the pouring rain, National CYMD Coordinator Rande Brown pressed on, and a healthy crowd had gathered by early afternoon. Visiting from Australia, Tibetan lama Traleg Rinpoche pointed out that those who were willing to brave the elements were also likely to be those most open to the dharma.”
Rochester, New York
“His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche paused to make funny faces behind his translator’s back and then told his laughing audience, ‘It’s good to laugh, because you can’t laugh and have conceptual thoughts at the same time.’”
St. Louis, Missouri
“Our event took place on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. Once a regular traffic bridge, the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge spans the Mississippi River for a mile and a quarter, making it the world’s longest pedestrian bridge. We had over 175 people, covering about a third of the bridge.”
Wellington, New Zealand
“Being close to the International Date Line, this was the very first CYMD in 2003, as well as the very first CYMD event held in New Zealand.”
Joining Tricycle in sponsorship of CYMD this year were the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado; New York Insight and The Village Zendo in New York City; and the Jewel Heart center, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
If you are interested in organizing a Change Your Mind Day event in your area for June 5, 2004, please contact Tricycle’s CYMD coordinator, Rande Brown, at email@example.com.
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