The Issue: Is the Transcendental Meditation program a religion?
Letters from Religious Leaders on the Transcendental Meditation Program.
On TM Mantras
Millions of people have learned the Transcendental Meditation program from all religious faiths, including priests, rabbis, and ministers, and they find no conflict between the practice and their religions. Instead, they find that the Transcendental Meditation program enriches the practice of their own religions. In addition, many teachers of the Transcendental Meditation program are ordained clergy in traditional religions and, at the same time, continue to teach the technique.
The fact that the TM program has been derived from an ancient tradition in India and revived by a man revered there with a spiritual title, of course should have no bearing on the validity of the use of the TM program. The TM program is not Hinduism, therefore, any more than Einstein's theory of relativity is Jewish, or Genetic theory, conceived of by Monk Gregor Mendel is considered to be Christian. The practice of the program involves no religious beliefs but is a mechanical and effortless technique for experiencing increasingly refined or restful levels of mental and physiological activity enjoyed by individuals of all religious (and non-religious) backgrounds.
To hold the opinion that the Transcendental Meditation program is a religion is to ignore an enormous body of scientific research which demonstrates clearly that it is not a religion. Transcendental Meditation is a scientific technique whose benefits have been validated through more than 600 research studies conducted at 209 independent universities and research institutions in 29 countries and published in leading, peer-reviewed journals. The Transcendental Meditation program participants who were subjects in these research studies represented all religious traditions.
The practice of the Transcendental Meditation program does not involve contemplation about any religious or secular ideas, nor does it involve concentration, which is characteristic of some religious practices. It is a simple, universal technology of consciousness that allows the active mind to settle to its silent self-referral state, a level which has distinctive physiological correlates, such as increased EEG coherence and decreased respiration rate—and a wide range of practical benefits for all areas of life—physiology, psychological, sociological, and ecological.
e.g., Wallace, R. K. Physiological effects of Transcendental Meditation. Science 167: 1751–1754, 1970.
Wallace, R. K., et al. A wakeful hypometabolic physiologic state. American Journal of Physiology 221: 795–799, 1971.
Wallace, R. K., et al. The physiology of meditation. Scientific American 226: 84–90, 1972.
Badawi, K.; Wallace, R. K.; Orme-Johnson, D.; and Rouzeré, A.-M. Electrophysiologic characteristics of respiratory suspension periods occurring during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation program. Psychosomatic Medicine 46(3): 267–276, 1984.
Farrow, J. T., and, Hebert J. R. Breath suspension during the Transcendental Meditation technique. Psychosomatic Medicine 44(2):133–153, 1982.
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