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Lions Roar : September 2009
39 SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2009 the seCRet ACtIVe InGReDIent in my formula for world peace turns out to be something simple: meditation. It’s such a simple solution to such an intractable problem, it’s almost absurd. except it may work. World peace may actually be achievable in this way. this insight led me to one of my eureka moments: my life’s goal is to make the benefits of meditation accessible to human- ity. I’m not trying to bring meditation to the world. I’m not even trying to bring its benefit to the world. All I intend to do is to make its benefit accessible to the world. I’m confident the transformative power of contemplative practices is so compelling that anybody who understands it will find it irresistible. It will be like offering the secrets of health (hy- giene, nutrition, exercise, and sleep) to unhealthy people who previously didn’t know them. once people understand and be- gin to experience the benefits of health, there’s no going back. then, of course, the question becomes how to make the bene- fits of meditation accessible to humanity. my answer is something I half-jokingly call “meng’s three easy steps to world peace.” step 1: start with me I need to become the change I want to see in the world. toward this end, I came up with an almost measurable goal for myself: by the end of my lifetime I want to create in myself the capacity to be kind to everyone all the time. I want to become like the Kindness Channel, all kindness, all day. It’s an audacious goal, but if I’m audacious enough to try to save the world, I’m audacious enough to try this too. step 2: make meditation a field of science to become widely accessible, meditation needs to become a field of science, the same way medicine became a field of science. Like meditation, medicine had been practiced for countless genera- tions, but ever since medicine became a field of science in the nineteenth century, everything about medicine has changed. the most important change was access. medicine became greatly de- mystified. new tools, equipment, and methodologies became available, and training and certification of service providers greatly improved. A lot more people gained access to good medi- cine. I want to see the same thing happen with meditation. since I am scientifically minded, familiar with meditation, intel- ligent, and have money, I thought perhaps this is where I can make a contribution. I started by writing an email (more of a mini-man- ifesto) to Buddhist friends explaining that meditation needs to be- come scientific, and inviting all to initiate an effort to make medita- tion training data-driven. the response was underwhelming. some people didn’t think making meditation scientific was very Zen. oth- ers liked the idea, but were not particularly excited by it. From “Meng’s Wall”: Meng with Barack Obama, Magic Johnson, Dan Goleman, Hillary Clinton, Robert Thurman, and Al Gore. meng’s Peace Plan Chade-Meng Tan hopes the benefits of meditation will someday be as widely accepted as those of exercise. He thinks that’s the key to world peace, and he has a way to get there.