Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.
Meditation is Good for You—But May Be Bad for Your Boss
Meditation is bad for productivity, but can be an effective treatment for some cancer symptoms, a pair of research projects found. A forthcoming study discussed in the New York Times claims that mindfulness meditation may reduce employees’ motivation. The study also found that meditation fails to improve the quality of work done. Although meditating may be a net loss for employers, employees still enjoy reduced stress and a sense of calm.
Meanwhile, scientists have found that meditation, along with listening to Bach and doing yoga, could help with cancer treatment. The American Society of Clinical Oncology endorsed “integrative therapy” guidelines, which recommend music therapy, meditation, stress management, and yoga for anxiety and stress reduction as well as for treating depression and mood disorders. The guidelines also recommend acupressure and acupuncture to ease nausea from chemotherapy.
Thai Monk Seeks Asylum in Germany
One of the Thai monks accused in a crackdown on corruption at Buddhist temples has fled to Germany to seek asylum, the Bangkok Post reports. Phra Phrom Methee, who was assistant abbot at Samphanthawong Temple in Bangkok, fled to Laos and then boarded a flight to Frankfurt. In May, Thai police raided five Buddhist temples, including Samphanthawong, and arrested several senior monks, but Phra Phrom Methee evaded capture before escaping the country.
Malas for the new Millenium
Mala beads have gotten a (possibly unnecessary) upgrade thanks to the tech company Acer. Leap Beads, which sell for around $130, not only help you count your mantras but also send that tally to a paired smartphone or tablet. They also function as a regular fitness tracker.
A Wider ’Net for Buddhists
The Buddhist resources available on the Internet got even more vast this week with two additions from Inquiring Mind magazine and Middle Way Education. Inquiring Mind, which was in print for 31 years until 2015, has uploaded its 12 most recent issues and a selection of other articles to a new website. Its archive includes pieces by Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Gil Fronsdal, S.N. Goenka, Ram Dass, Jane Hirshfield, and Natalie Goldberg.
Meanwhile, Middle Way Education, which was envisioned by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche of the Khyentse Foundation, launched its new website this week. The site aims to become a shared database of Buddhist educational resources.
Sitting for Swimmers
Buddhists in Scotland will be holding a 24-hour meditation marathon to raise money for dolphin protection, the Inverness Courier reports. As part of their Buddhist Action Month, members of the Triratna Buddhist Community in the Highlands will take turn meditating at a famous dolphin-watching spot at Chanonry Point to fundraise for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation as well as the Scottish homeless charity Social Bite. “Mediation looks passive, but it is actively and radically transformative,” event organizer Gerry Beasley told the Courier. “As well as practicing for our own benefit, we meditate for all beings. So we thought it fitting to meditate at this spot to raise money.”
Apps on the Mind
Meditation apps are booming as two big name—and big money—apps are poised to launch. Headspace, which currently has around 30 million users, is aiming to become the first FDA-approved app with its new project Headspace Health. The approved meditations would each be designed to treat chronic conditions. “One of the things that we found in our research is that meditation can impact both mental and physical health in a pretty profound way,” Headspace’s chief science officer, Megan Jones Bell, told CBS news. “We’ve moved into much more rigorous, multi-site, really high-caliber research so that we can advance the science around meditation.” Meanwhile, news-anchor-turned-meditation-advocate Dan Harris has raised $5 million in funding for a new 10% Happier app, which shares its name with his podcast and book. Harris’ goal, he says, is to make a “no bs” meditation app for skeptics who don’t like the “soft and gooey tone” of other programs.
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