Friday, December 12, 2008

If Only They'd Stay Silent When They Leave

"It began at 4:30 on a Saturday morning.

The three dozen participants started out with two half-hour Buddhist meditation sessions before dawn. They then spent the next two hours doing what’s called work practice, which consisted of scrubbing toilets and raking leaves, all in silence. An afternoon of instruction on the essentials of Buddhism led to more meditation, cleaning the dinner dishes, and sleeping in dorm-style accommodations. Sunday was an abbreviated version of the day before.

Perhaps what was the most unusual aspect of this austere weekend at Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, N.Y., was that many of the attendees were not adherents of Eastern religious practices, but were part of an increasing number of nonbelievers who are seeking stress-free, spiritual and often inexpensive weekend breaks at local ashrams (isolated communities formed around a guru who follows Hindu philosophy) and Buddhist monasteries (residences for monks)."

-- Shivani Vora, who (along with the "stressed" guru-following idiots profiled in this piece) doesn't seem to understand that "nonbelievers" aren't "spiritual" - except (no surprised here) in The New York Times.

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