Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment
Evolving Dharma is a “next generation” book on meditation, Buddhism, and the path of awakening, published by North Atlantic Books in October, 2013.
The latest book by bestselling author Dr. Jay Michaelson, author ofÂ Everything is GodÂ and God vs. Gay?, Evolving DharmaÂ tells the story of how meditation has evolved beyond Buddhism, beyond religion, even beyond spirituality — and how one’s own meditation practice can evolve throughout one’s life. Â It is, in the words of Deepak Chopra, a “must-read.”
Fearless, unorthodox, and irreverent, scholar and activist Jay Michaelson shows how meditation has moved from ashrams and self-help groups to classrooms, prisons, and corporate boardrooms.Â Michaelson introduces the reader to maverick brainhackers, postmodern Buddhist monks, and cutting-edge neuroscientists while also sharing his own stories of months-long silent retreats, powerful mystical experiences, and many pitfalls along the way.
Evolving Dharma comes at an exciting, even historic, moment in the spiritual life of the West. Â There are one million new meditators each year in the United States. Â This is a moment of remarkable opportunity — yet also of a hunger for a more cutting-edge, younger, and plugged-in â€śdharma bookâ€ť, which comes from a newer generation and is informed by its values.Â Â How is a new generation, post-hippie, postmodern, and possibly even post-Buddhist, reshaping meditation in the West? How is the practice of happiness informed by cognitive neuroscience? How are newer, Occupy- and Web 2.0-influenced participant communities creating new forms of contemplative communities and perhaps avoiding the scandals that plagued the authority- and guru-based ones of a previous generation?
Evolving Dharma answers these questions.Â Â Written by a longtime meditator who also holds a Ph.D. in religion (and a J.D. from Yale Law School), it combines brutally honest stories from Jayâ€™s own practice with a critical look at the mindfulness craze.Â Â And it includes interviews with Richard Davidson, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Lama Surya Das, Stephen Batchelor, and other leading figures in the mindfulness revolution.
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Praise for Evolving Dharma
â€śJay Michaelson gets it.Â His voice is contemporary yet serious,informed yet engaging — and much needed today.â€ťÂ - Daniel Goleman, Author of Emotional Intelligence
â€śI 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.â€ť ~ Daniel Ingram, author of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha
â€śTaking the reader from the banks of the Ganges to the offices of Google, Evolving Dharma shows how meditation is transforming our world.Â A must-read!â€ťÂ - Deepak Chopra
â€śWhat a fantastic book! Smart, tender, incisive, and visionary. If you only read one dharma book this year, read Evolving Dharma.â€ť ~ Kenneth Folk, teacher, Kenneth Folk Dharma and Buddhist Geeks
“Evolving Dharma tells a story that is changing the world: the mainstreaming of meditation and the democratization of wisdom.Â This is not only the best book on contemporary mindfulness; it is the first of its kind.”Â - Josh Baran, former Zen monk and author of The Tao of Now
â€śAll of us need to Occupy the Dharma, to take meditation and mindfulness back from the spiritual 1% and enliven our lives.Â This book demonstrates and instructs us how to do exactly that.Â “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 de-lightful journey of awakening.â€ť Â -Â Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within
Reviews ofÂ Evolving Dharma
Read Publishers Weekly’s rave review of Evolving Dharma.
Read the Velveteen Rabbi’s insightful analysis of Evolving Dharma.
Read Terry Patten’s account of his conversation with Jay and his views on Evolving Dharma.
About the Author
Dr. Jay Michaelson is a writer and activist who has practiced Theravadan Buddhist meditation for twelve years. He is the author of five books, most recently God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality (Beacon), a 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalist and Amazon.com bestseller, and Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism (Shambhala).Â His writing appears regularly in the Daily Beast, the Forward, Tricycle, and the Huffington Post.
Unusually for an author of a book on meditation, Jay is not a full-time meditation teacher but rather a longtime leading LGBT political activist.Â Recently the vice president of the Arcus Foundation, the leading funder of LGBT causes worldwide, Jayâ€™s advocacy work has been featured in the New York Times, NPR and CNN and he has been listed as among the â€śmost inspiring LGBT religious leadersâ€ť by the Huffington Post and among â€śour religious alliesâ€ť by The Advocate.
Michaelson own contemplative journey includes twelve years in the dharma, including several long-term vipassana retreats in the United States and Nepal, as well as a serious commitment to nondenominational Judaism, including twenty years of studying at teaching Kabbalah. He is affiliated with the Practical Dharma movement and the Contemplative Development Mapping Project, and has participated in the Mind and Life Institute, Wisdom 2.0, Buddhist Geeks, and other emerging dharma communities. Having taught at institutions from Kripalu to Burning Man, and at over two dozen university campuses around the country, Jay brings to his presentation of the dharma a contemporary sensibility, a critical, yet warm, perspective â€“ and hopefully, a sense of humor.
Jay is also an accomplished scholar of religion who holds a PhD in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a JD from Yale Law School, an MFA from Sarah Lawrence, and a BA from Columbia. He has held teaching positions at Yale University, City College, HarvardÂ Divinity School, and Boston University Law School, and has been a scholar-in-residence at over 100 institutions around the country. He is presently an advisor to the Varieties of Meditative Experience project at Brown University.