...twenty-five years ago nobody went to the gym. Now we've well established through research in our society that exercise is really important so there's a gym on every corner. Well, why isn't there a meditation hall on every corner? Haven’t we established the fact that some spiritual endeavor is just as important for inner health as exercise is for the body? So there ought to be meditation halls on every corner and people should know how important this is and feel like it makes sense to access it and pay for it so that there could be people to offer it.
I mean that there is tremendous spike in research on meditation. Just in last three or four years. It’s exponentially increased and all the research is always showing the same thing that meditation is actually a effective, that it really works, and that it has all kind of benefits. So people seem to believe in research and scientific data, but just talk to your friends who do this practice and that’s probably enough to convince you even without the scientific data.
...It's funny, you know? I'm gone do a retreat for the army for caregivers and chaplains. So the Army's going to spend fifty cents to pay me to do the retreat and then a million dollars to study the effects of the retreat over time. So...it’s very expensive to conduct research. Very expensive. A million dollar research grant is not an unusual grant. A million dollar gift to a dharma center or for a teacher training or something like that is very, very rare. So it’s a little out of scale.
[The conversation continues in Episode 130 -- Buddhism and the Evolution of Religion. Check out Norman Fischer’s article, “Why We Need a Plan B,” in the summer issue of Buddhadharma.]