December 31, 2012

A Japanese Proverb for the New Year

Many of you have sent me kind greetings for the holidays. I wanted to reciprocate with an idea around the theme of a new year. 

The Japanese have a proverb: 
"rainen no koto o ieba, oni ga warau" -- 
"when we say next year, the devil laughs." 

It’s an exhortation to have one’s priorities straight—to not put off things that are really important. 

One way to measure the importance of something is how deep, how powerful, and how universally applicable that thing is. By this metric, our mindfulness practice deserves more priority than it often gets. 

The New Year is an opportunity for renewed practice. That’s the highest blessing that I can wish.

December 21, 2012

Want to Intensify Your Practice?

Exciting news for those of you interested in intensive practice!

For two decades, people have been asking me if there is a place to do a really long retreat using Basic Mindfulness techniques.

Those of you who have done extended retreats appreciate that one week of unbroken practice is incomparably more impactful than one day, and one month is incomparably more impactful than one week. So imagine the life-changing effects that you would likely experience as the result of nine months of Basic Mindfulness practice offered at an intensity level comparable to Asian monastic training!

Although I have run a few one-month programs, my schedule has not allowed for me to organize more extended, monastic-style intensive training. It gives a lot of very pleasant “Feel In” to be able to tell you all that plans are underway to create the world’s first Basic Mindfulness monastery here in Burlington, Vermont. The prime mover for this project is my colleague Soryu Forall.

To be able to pull it off, we need two things:
  1. People who wish to utilize the program; and
  2. Enough funding to support the program.
 So spread the word! For more details, see the message and links below.

Looking forward to seeing some of you in my town. J

All the best,

A Message from The Center for Mindful Learning
The Center for Mindful Learning (CML) is excited to announce a nine-month intensive Residential Mindfulness Training Center (RMTC) based on Shinzen Young’s Basic Mindfulness System.
The format will follow the Asian monastic systems in which Shinzen Young and Soryu Forall were ordained, with modern-day improvements that integrate science and leadership training with these contemplative traditions. The nine-month program will be as rigorous on a daily basis as a typical Shinzen retreat (if you were to attend every sit at the Shinzen retreat). One week per month it will be more demanding, like a monthly “sesshin.” We will happily make accommodations for those with disabilities or similar needs.
The RMTC will be located in Burlington, Vermont. We are hoping to begin as early as July 2013, (although the start date is dependent upon securing funding). Soryu Forall will lead the training, with guest appearances by Shinzen Young.
We’re specifically looking for two groups of people: participants and donors. If you are interested in possibly being a resident and/or donor for this groundbreaking project, please email Harrison Heyl ( or follow this link to our website:
This RMTC may be a real first in world history. It’s an incredible opportunity to develop the next generation of deeply committed modern mindfulness teachers by integrating deep practice with science and leadership skills. We look forward to making history with your support!
With gratitude and warm regards,
The Center for Mindful Learning