Posts by John Jackson

Why Pilgrimage?

Why Pilgrimage?

A spiritual friend once remarked, “I don’t go on vacation. I travel on pilgrimage.” What might this mean? According on one dictionary, pilgrimage is: a journey to a place associated with someone or something well known or respected; life viewed as a journey. Pilgrimage as a sacred passage is practiced by most, if not all of the world’s spiritual traditions, with many beautiful variations and themes, and all seem to share a goal of self-transformation, discovery and renewal. From the Hajj to Mecca by Muslims, to the sacred journey to bathe in the Ganges by the Hindus, to the journey to the Holy Land by Christians, to the trip to the Wailing Wall by Jews, or the circumambulation of Mount Kailash by Buddhists, each tradition has its own stories, sacred sites, and...

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New Course on Three Heart Mantras

New Course on Three Heart Mantras

Yes, that’s right! We have created a new online course with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche on the Three Heart Mantras of Bön. We are editing the videos and producing the course materials now, and the new course will be offered June 4 – July 4, 2014. The Three Heart Mantras are used in many different meditations in the Bön tradition, and play a major role in the ngrondro practices. They are said to be the essence of enlightenment in sound and energy, and as we sing or chant the mantras our awareness is transformed to be in union with the Buddhas. They are used for purification, protection, and as primary practices toward self realization. It is said that creating these mantras in any form brings merit and purification, so they are commonly found carved into stones,...

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Lishu Institute Survey

Lishu Institute Survey

Lishu Institute is the fulfillment of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s vision of providing a retreat center and study program for western students to do long-term, in-depth study and practice of the Bön teachings.  It took some time, effort and research for Rinpoche’s aspiration to manifest and in January 2009 Lishu Institute became the owner of land in Kotra Kalyanpur outside of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.  This significant step was possible due to the devotion and involvement of Geshe Thupten G. Negi, a Tibetan-Indian and a Bön Geshe.  Because he is an Indian citizen he is entitled to purchase land in India and he did so on behalf of Lishu Institute. Since that time the first building on the Lishu campus has been completed and will provide classrooms and housing for...

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Study Validates Effectiveness of Online Mindfulness Program

Study Validates Effectiveness of Online Mindfulness Program

A group of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, a well respected medical school and research center, published a study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine that clearly validates the use of online courses to teach mindfulness based meditation. The team enrolled about 700 people in a randomized, parallel, controlled trial, with a control group that received no intervention. The subjects were recruited from clinics, referrals, web sites, and flyers, and were self selected. Generally the subjects were well educated and computer literate prior to the study, but had very little or no experience in meditation. The primary objective was to evaluate whether the online mindfulness program effectively decreased stress and improved mindfulness, self-acceptance,...

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Losar: Tibetan Customs and Rituals for the New Year

Since the Tibetan Losar celebration for the New Year of the Wood Horse is on March 2nd, I thought it would be useful to share some of the customs and rituals around this important holiday. Losar marks the most important holiday for Tibetans, and is celebrated over several weeks with rituals and dances. It is a lunar holiday, falling on a new moon usually in February or March. Sometimes it coincides with the Chinese New Year celebrations, but this year it does not.  Most of the rituals performed in Tibetan monasteries  precede the actual day of Losar, but there is also a flurry of celebrations on the actual Losar day. One interesting aspect is that Tibetans also consider their age to change on Losar day, rather than their day of birth. So not only is it the New...

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