Let me introduce you to Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, who led the meditation retreat I attended last month in Lawrence, Kansas. A prodigy within the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, Mingyur has caught the attention of the world in recent years with a fresh, joyful (dare I say funny) approach to sharing the wisdom of the Buddha. I've come to the conclusion that laughter is a given when studying with Tibetans as they believe humor is a powerful antidote to our negative mind states.
Not long ago, the Dalai Lama asked Mingyur to partake in a scientific study conducted through The Mind LIfe Institute. fMRI scans (MRI scans that are like videos) were made of highly trained meditation masters to see how their brains differ than the average Joe's. They specifically were interested in measuring gamma waves, which our left frontal lobes emanate and are associated with feelings of well-being and happiness. When the researchers slid Mingyur into the fMRI and ran their first scan, the results they were getting were so unexpected they were sure something was wrong with the software. As the story goes, they pulled Mingyur out of the machine to double check everything and recalibrate, but when they slid him back in and ran the test again the scientists were even more astounded. Mingyur's scan revealed a brain they'd never seen before ~ one with gamma waves literally off the charts.
Now, I don't know about you, but when I hear something like that it inspires me to want off-the-chart happy brainwaves too! We all wish to be happy, don't we? It's not that important to me whether or reincarnation exists or not, this man has demonstrated direct, measurable, real-life results from a practice that works in this life, in the here and now.
I can whole-heartedly report after meeting him in person that his joy is genuine, his laughter, rea - his teachings filled with compassionate wisdom. I've also had the great pleasure of learning directly from his older brother, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, who is just as delightful, funny and wise as Mingyur is. These Tibetans manage to take their practice incredibly seriously without be overly serious, and I can't help but appreciate and admire them.
To take a look at his most recent book, click here.
Posted by susan at May 29, 2009 5:49 PM