Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment

Overview

Evolving Dharma is the definitive guide to the meditation revolution. Fearless, unorthodox, and irreverent scholar and activist 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 the “Big E”— enlightenment. Michaelson introduces us to maverick brainhackers, postmodern Buddhist monks, and cutting-edge neuroscientists and shares his own stories of months-long silent retreats, powerful mystical ...
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Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment

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Overview

Evolving Dharma is the definitive guide to the meditation revolution. Fearless, unorthodox, and irreverent scholar and activist 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 the “Big E”— enlightenment. Michaelson introduces us to maverick brainhackers, postmodern Buddhist monks, and cutting-edge neuroscientists and shares his own stories of months-long silent retreats, powerful mystical experiences, and many pitfalls along the way. Evolving Dharma is a must-read for the next-generation meditator, the spiritually cynical, and the curious adventurer in all of us.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/12/2013
Since Buddhism was transplanted to America by counterculture movements in the 20th century, the gulf has widened between those who see the practice as a spiritual/religious endeavor and those who regard it as a secular phenomenon. Michaelson (God vs. Gay?) tackles difficult questions about Buddhism’s evolution in Western culture, as mindfulness practice grows slowly but steadily as a popular secular activity. He examines the history of postmodern Buddhism, describes the path of practice and enlightenment through his own personal accounts of bliss and darkness, and considers future directions. Working from the foundational idea that meditation has become a set of tools for the refinement and improvement of the human mind, the author addresses the pitfalls and benefits of the more traditional spiritual/religious approach and its counterpart, the rational and scientific Western worldview. He is fortunately unafraid to come to grips with the darker sides of the tradition (for example, sexual and power abuses by teachers and gurus) in his discussions about Buddhism’s future and its ethical obligations to the world and to itself. Serious practitioners—secular or religious—and curious individuals alike would benefit greatly from reading Michaelson’s intelligent and compassionate examination of mindfulness practice. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
“Jay Michaelson gets it. His voice is contemporary yet serious, informed yet engaging—and much needed today.”
—Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

“Taking the reader from the banks of the Ganges to the offices of Google, Evolving Dharma shows how meditation is transforming our world. A must-read!”
—Deepak Chopra, author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and Spiritual Solutions

"Michaelson tackles difficult questions about Buddhism’s evolution in Western culture, as mindfulness practice grows slowly but steadily as a popular secular activity. He examines the history of postmodern Buddhism, describes the path of practice and enlightenment through his own personal accounts of bliss and darkness, and considers future directions. Working from the foundational idea that meditation has become a set of tools for the refinement and improvement of the human mind, the author addresses the pitfalls and benefits of the more traditional spiritual/religious approach and its counterpart, the rational and scientific Western worldview...Serious practitioners—secular or religious—and curious individuals alike would benefit greatly from reading Michaelson’s intelligent and compassionate examination of mindfulness practice."
Publishers Weekly

"I highly recommend this book. Its scholarship on the past is solid, its review of the present is revealing, and its sense of possibility grounded in both kindness and vision.”
—Daniel Ingram, author of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha

“All of us need to Occupy the Dharma, to take meditation and mindfulness back from the spiritual 1% and enliven our lives. This book demonstrates and instructs us how to do exactly that. Evolving Dharma is essential reading if you’re an aspiring brainhacker, a BuJu, a seeker, or anyone who wants to see the light, lighten up and brighten up on the path from head to heart that is the delightful journey of awakening.”
—Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within

Evolving Dharma tells a story that is changing the world: the mainstreaming of meditation and the democratization of wisdom. This is not only the best book on contemporary mindfulness; it is the first of its kind.”
—Josh Baran, former Zen monk and author of The Tao of Now
 
“What a fantastic book! Smart, tender, incisive, and visionary. If you only read one dharma book this year, read Evolving Dharma.”
—Kenneth Folk, teacher, Kenneth Folk Dharma and Buddhist Geeks

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781583947142
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 379,873
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

JAY MICHAELSON is a writer, activist, Buddhist meditation teacher, and scholar of
Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah) whose work has been featured on CNN, NPR, and in the New York Times. He is vice president of the Arcus Foundation, which supports social justice and conservation worldwide, and writes regularly for the Daily Beast, the Huffington Post, Tricycle, and the Forward. He holds a JD from Yale, a PhD from Hebrew University, and has held teaching positions at Yale University and Boston University Law School. Michaelson’s previous book, God vs. Gay?, was an Amazon.com bestseller and Lambda Literary Award finalist. For more information about his articles and appearances, visit his website.
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