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Change Your Mind

Change Your Mind (CYM), Tricycle’s second annual day of meditation in Central Park, opened with a surprising and auspicious event: a white heron flying above the grassy slopes of Mineral Springs Hill. Only after it circled twice, on the morning of June 4, did Michele Laporte hit a large Japanese temple gong 108 times to formally open a day in which meditation teachers from various Buddhist traditions gave introductory talks and led the participants in silent sitting and Buddhist chanting. CYM is designed to introduce meditation practices in a friendly public setting, free of charge. Participants are encouraged to relax and enjoy the event in whichever way works best for them.

Teachers this year included Trudy Goodman and George Bowman, both from the Cambridge Buddhist Association; the Venerable Samu Sunim, who has temples in the Korean Chogye lineage in Toronto and Chicago; Lama Surya Das, founder of the Dzogchen Foundation of America; and Sharon Salzberg, a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. In the middle of the day participants were treated to a special guest: His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, the supreme head of the Nyingmapa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, who currently lives in Mysore, India. He arrived with a retinue of monks, some of whom played the traditional horns and cymbals prior to His Holiness’ discourse on the nature of mind.

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The crowd, which consisted of both newcomers and old-time dharma people, and which displayed an extraordinary capacity for concentration and stillness amidst urban chaos, got a break from formal dharma when Philip Glass introduced his friends Alexandra Montano and John Gibson. Gibson played an original composition on the saxophone; another, written by Glass, was played as Montano read from the works of Beat poets on the subject of how to meditate.

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