Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
6:00 PM–8:00 PM Free
Gallery Tour on Dharma (purchase of a book includes free ticket for the tour and galleries)
Book signing begins in the colonnade; Himalayan Happy Hour in café
A few words from Jay Michaelson
The Western world is on the cusp of a major transformation around how we understand the mind, the brain, and what to do about them. Meditation and other forms of contemplative practice, once the provenance of religion, then later of “spirituality,” are now in the American mainstream, in corporate retreats and public
schools, as a rational, proven technology to upgrade the mind and optimize the brain, buttressed by hard scientific data and the reports of millions of practitioners.
Think about it: In 1983 meditation and mindfulness were fringe phenomena among Westerners, practiced (let’s face it) mostly by ex-hippies on spiritual searches. As of 2013, ten million Americans meditate regularly. Yet there are one million new meditators every year, mostly in healthcare contexts. A 2007 NIH study estimated that 20 million Americans had meditated within the last twelve months, up from 15 million in 2002. Meditation is taught in therapeutic contexts, to patients with chronic pain; in churches, synagogues, and community centers; and in new, alternative communities of maverick teachers, independent brainhackers, and dot-com billionaires. We truly are at a turning point.
The original source of these cognitive technologies is the dharma, an ancient word
meaning the way, the path, or the teaching. In the most general sense, it can simply refer to the truth of how things are: the laws of the universe, and of the mind. More specifically, it is used in Pali and Sanskrit to refer to the sacred teachings of Indian sages whose traditions eventually became known as Hinduism and Buddhism. Even more specifically, “the Dharma” is the set of teachings, ideas, and practices taught by Gautama Buddha from 586–546 BCE, and by thousands of subsequent teachers and scribes.
Evolving Dharmais the definitive guide to the meditation revolution. Fearless, unorthodox, and irreverent scholar Jay Michaelson shows how meditation and mindfulness have moved from ashrams and self-help groups to classrooms and hospitals, and offers unusually straight talk about enlightenment.
About the Author
Dr. Jay Michaelson is a writer and activist who has practiced Theravadan Buddhist meditation for twelve years. He is the author of five books, most recently God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality (Beacon), a 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalist and Amazon.com bestseller, and Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism (Shambhala). His writing appears regularly in the Daily Beast, the Forward, Tricycle, and the Huffington Post.