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 Report: Attending the Wisdom 2.0 NYC Business Conference

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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Report: Attending the Wisdom 2.0 NYC Business Conference   Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:15 pm

I spent a good part of the last two days at the Wisdom 2.0 NYC Business conference held at the Google HQ here in Manhattan.  Wisdom 2.0 has been held the last two years in Silicon Valley and San Francisco... the last one attracted nearly 2,000 people.  This event was the first smaller / side gathering in NYC.  Just for a few hundred folks.  Their next big one is in February in SF.  I posted some articles about Wisdom 2.0 previously - the one in Wired magazine was the big recent story and demonstrated that now mindfulness has become a major trend in the tech world and business world.

The founder of Wisdom 2.0 is Soren Gordhammer who has done a truly amazing job in creating this forum / platform.  What I appreciate about it is that is kind and smart and messy - and messy in a very good way.  Mindfulness sits at the center of everything, and people are coming at it from dozens of different directions and approaches - from those that want zero religion and have no interest in becoming Buddhist and those that are long-time Dharma practitioners to all kinds of indie Dharma bums.  The presentations were for the most part excellent and thoughtful and came from insight and experience. 

The first panel did not shy away from some of the thorny and complex issues that come up around what is mindfulness, does it affect ethics and real-world choices in business and politics. One example - when the panel moderator mentioned the world's most successful hedge fund manager who is an avid TM-meditator and some consider essentially a cult-leader, a writer from the New York Times who was also on the panel and a long-time serious meditator brought up the issues about whether meditation does lead to compassion or is pure awareness practice ethically-neutral or even problematic.  Does this hedge fund manager's meditation practice effect how he does business, how he make a profit, how he treats people?  They did not go into this topic in depth (lack of time), but what I appreciated what that the panels and Wisdom 2.0 as an organization does not avoid the thorns that come with the roses. 

Link to the event:  http://wisdom2business.com/ - I think the sessions were videotaped and may end up freely available on line at some point.

The full next summit is in mid-February in SF.  I recommend it.... 

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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Report: Attending the Wisdom 2.0 NYC Business Conference   Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:06 am

Why is Google interested in this?
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Report: Attending the Wisdom 2.0 NYC Business Conference   Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:38 am

There are a few top people at Google who are into Eckhart Tolle, mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh... Mindfulness has become a popular tech meme you could say... not so much as religion but as a way to be more productive, engaged, a better manager, happier, less stressed out, higher functioning, and so on.  Results-oriented.  The fact that Steve Jobs was a Zen practitioner set the stage for this new chapter in meditation in America.  Thich Nhat Hanh is actually teaching at Google HQ in Mountain View this week and then doing a private seminar for 20 Silicon Valley CEOs. 

At Google, http://chademeng.com/ - Chade Meng is called Google's "Jolly Good Fellow" and he has been teaching seminars and programs on meditation, self-awareness, hosting writers and teachers - for the last few years.  And Meng recently started a program called Search Inside Yourself - a new variation of self-help seminars.  He has a book out - i posted something about it a few months ago. So he's the main evangelist there, but there are many others, and many tech and other companies now have wellness programs that include mindfulness, yoga, stress-reduction, tai-chi, etc. 

In the next few years, we will see new books on mindfulness / awareness that will be focused on non-Buddhist, non-religious approaches to using meditation in daily life, as tools for better work and leadership, better parenting, better teaching, and so on.
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Carol

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PostSubject: Re: Report: Attending the Wisdom 2.0 NYC Business Conference   Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:43 pm

That's interesting. TM was promoted for all these reasons back in the 1970s. Leave it to someone to find a way to make a few dollars on meditation for success. It doesn't fit the Dogen model of giving up all things and the Buddha's teaching on the goal of goallessness if you have your eye on success in business,etc. while you meditate. However, Scientology, TM, and arguably a lot of Protestantism have made use of religious techniques and concepts in a secular setting, so Google's Jolly Good Fellow - with Google's astounding power behind him - is likely to make an impact on our collective psyche. Maybe the result will be fewer ulcers, more happiness, and less greed!
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Report: Attending the Wisdom 2.0 NYC Business Conference   Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:55 pm

No, this really isn't "Dharma" - but that's the way it is in every country.  Look how Buddhism is practiced in Japan or Thailand.  Most people are not interested in enlightenment, but in simple ways to feel better, have a good life, court the blessings of heaven, avoid illness and poverty.  They want their religion to help them practically.  So in Thailand, most people go to temples to "make merit" and in Japan, it's all about ritual and honoring ancestors so life will be better.  This is the 21st century version of that with a tech / business spin.  It is what it is.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Report: Attending the Wisdom 2.0 NYC Business Conference   Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:21 am

Interesting comments,
As Buddhists do we believe in the Buddha or other people from the past, or do we believe in teachers' of the present? Or are collective influences and some experience help us believe in what we do and how we live now.
Now with some certainty Dogen did not teach to give up everything,he ate and lived and tried to do it in a way that was conducive to living a life in accordance with his belief from his influences from others and his experience.maybe he learnt to respect and cherish life and all beings,All of life can be cherished in google and my factory. The only time I think this does not work is when we tailor it to our own thoughts and desires. It is a little like the Abbott's little chat to the newbies ' You have come here to find enlightenment,I want you to give up everything all your thoughts feelings and desires,instead I want you to replace them with some fresh ones that I think are OK.'
The Buddha mind is everywhere nowhere is any more sacred than any where else.
Must dash to work, job number 1; phone up customer who owes me 10 grand
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mstrathern
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PostSubject: Re: Report: Attending the Wisdom 2.0 NYC Business Conference   Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:04 pm

It's interesting isn't it. The frailties and absurdities of the old religions are being exposed. And most of the new religions and cults are no better, indeed often worse.

The Dalai Llama talked about the need for a new religion of the modern age and it does seem to me that there is something developing in the more evidence based meditation and mindfulness practices, like MBSR/MBCT. Of course they are selling themselves on 'improving' peoples lives but it was ever thus. But the teachers seem less prone to the 'Great Teacher/Master' syndrome, though given their evidence based foundation it would seem less likely for that to happen. However this has lead them into the hands of the academics which also has pros and cons. It means that teachers will only be able to practice with qualifications and its associated costs ( there is already an MSc in MBSR from an Oxford University). Whilst this would mean that meditation /mindfulness teachers fell under the more general governance that ordinary teachers are subject to already. It does also mean that there would be teachers who had merely passed the exams and had the qualifications but little insight. But still I think that has probably been true of many, if not most priests throughout the ages. 
So in general I'm rather in favour of the rather more pragmatic 'evidence based' approach; the truth will always out in the end if they keep up their practice. It does at least do away with all the medieval magic and fairy stories.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Report: Attending the Wisdom 2.0 NYC Business Conference   Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:07 am

It does at least do away with all the medieval magic and fairy stories.
Yes that is what we want, surely zazen should be a key part of this..surely zazen should be a key part of spotting stupid teachers. really one needs to put down all myths and magic ideas,and any view one has to follow the words of heavy drinking sexual bigots, zazen should help here.

Sadly here another young lad has hung himself this week as you know it is a small inter connected area,we are left shocked saddened and scratching our heads,I am attempting to organise a village meeting for us and surrounding villages where we can organise a youth club drop in centre run by the mums and dads, the lad said 'I love you' to his mum went for a walk and was found the next morning,so sad and unnecessary
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