The attempt to market Eastern forms of mediation as “nondenominational” and as secular practices continues. A recent Washington Post article from September 2, 2011 has a write-up on classes on meditation led by someone from a Buddhist group in Wash. DC, the Insight Meditation Community. The classes are offered in a Unitarian Universalist Church right outside DC in Bethesda, MD.
Excerpt from the article
“Brach says over-thinking, sometimes to the point of obsessing, is typical for those who don’t meditate habitually”
It is a hallmark of Eastern meditation, especially Buddhist, to make thinking a sort of enemy. Buddhism is not against thinking per se but teaches that our thoughts and thinking prevent us from realizing spiritual truths and “awakening” to reality. Since Buddhism believes that the perceived reality of the material world and the self are false, Buddhism therefore believes that our thoughts come from these perceptions of the false reality (and create them). Therefore, the thoughts reflect and perpetuate false views. Sometimes, thinking is termed “monkey chatter” (also in Hinduism).
Excerpt from the article
“Each evening concludes with a dharma talk, where Brach offers teachings on a broader issue related to living in a “mindful” way.”
Please note the word “dharma” in the above sentence. Dharma is a distinctly Buddhist concept. If anyone is teaching about “dharma,” then it is not “non-denominational.”
Here is a link to the article (the whole section is 5 pages, but the section on mediation is only one page and part of another, p. 1 and part of p.2)
There is one comment on the article – by me! Here it is:
“The section on meditation states that the classes are "nondenominational." That is somewhat misleading. I am sure the classes are for anyone but what is being taught is not nondenominational, unless one wants to say Buddhism is not a religion. Buddhism is, however, one of the major religions of the world. Mindfulness is part of the Noble Eight-fold Path. The techniques will alter one's outlook, but people should know that it will be altered in a religious way that sees the world the way Buddhism sees it. How many Americans, I wonder, know that Buddhism teaches there is no self? Mindfulness is not nondenominational and is not intended to reduce stress. It has spiritual intentions that enhance the Buddhist worldview.”
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