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Buddhadharma : Summer 2009
Time’s A rro w, 1987 (detail) by Hiroshi Sugimoto, from the exhibition, The Third Mind meditators Better able to tolerate pain the journal Psychosomatic Medicine reported in its January issue that a group of Zen meditators had a higher threshold for pain—whether meditating or not— compared with a group of non-meditators. The study was carried out at the Université de Montréal by Joshua Grant, a doctoral student in the department of physiology, and Pierre Rainville, a professor and researcher. They recruited thirteen Zen meditators who had done a minimum of 1,000 hours of practice and a control group of thirteen non-meditators. To test for pain sensitivity, the researchers pressed a computer-controlled heating plate against the calves of subjects at heat levels ranging from 43° to 53° Celsius (109° to 127° Fahrenheit). while many of the meditators tolerated the highest temperature, no one in the control group did. The study concluded that the meditators experienced an 18-percent reduction in pain, attributed in part to their 20-percent slower breathing rate. Slower breathing “may influence pain by keeping the body in a relaxed state,” Grant says. “If meditation can change the way someone feels pain, thereby reducing the amount of pain medication needed for an ailment, that would clearly be beneficial.” training new leaders in socially engaged Buddhism the Maezumi Institute, the training and study center of the Zen Peacemakers in Mon- tague, Massachusetts, is offering a residential ministry program to train students to take on leadership roles in community service, using an engaged Buddhist approach. The program, supervised by Zen Peacemakers founder Roshi Bernie Glassman and executive director Sensei Paul Genki kahn, begins with a four-month seminary that includes meditation, training in administrative and financial management, developing counseling skills, workshops with guest faculty, and a street retreat. This is followed by a five-month internship in a Zen House, a type of residential dharma center, and a year as a paid service worker in a Zen House. Students are then eligible to become ministers of socially engaged Buddhism in the Zen Peacemakers Order. “This is very intense, thorough training,” kahn said. “we are eager to work with Buddhist practitioners who share our de- sire to illuminate service as both a path of awakening and a way of life.” The first six students graduated from the seminary portion of the program in January. Guggenheim exhibit the Guggenheim Museum in New york recently presented The Third Mind: American Artists Con- template Asia, 1860-1989, a major exhibition that illuminated the Asian influences that shaped abstract art, Conceptualism, Minimalism, and the neo-avant garde. “The tenets, principles, and practices that attracted vanguard artists,” says Alexandra Munroe, senior cura- tor of Asian art, “stemmed from Eastern religions (Hin- duism, Tantric and Chan/Zen Buddhism, and Taoism), classical Asian art forms, and performance traditions.” The vast show, with a catalogue that runs to more than 400 pages, included pieces by Georgia O’keefe and video artist Bill Viola, as well as Tibetan thangkas, Indian bronzes, and Japanese calligraphy. The Third Mind also featured a series exploring Asian art and ideas within American performing arts, featuring performers such as yoko Ono, Merce Cunningham, Mer- edith Monk, Robert wilson, and laurie Anderson. First graduates of the ministry program with Roshi Bernie Glassman news Culture news Culture news Culture Roshi Bernie Glassman (left) with Sensei Paul Genki kahn COllECTIONOFTHEARTISTPETERCUNNINGHAMJOSHUAGRANTPETERCUNNINGHAM