Zach Holden starts and ends his days the same way: with 15 to 30 minutes of meditation.
He says meditation makes him feel relaxed, less tired during the day and sharper mentally. But he thinks it has even greater potential in his life.
"I have a pretty crude technique," said Holden, a Kansas University junior from Topeka. "I've never had an official teacher. I just read books and learned on my own."
That will change next weekend, when Holden will join dozens of other meditation practitioners in learning from one of the world's most-renowned Tibetan Buddhist meditation teachers, Mingyur Rinpoche.
"From what I understand, Mingyur Rinpoche is one of the most talented meditation teachers alive today," Holden said. "He's an excellent teacher."
Rinpoche, a native of Nepal, will be in Lawrence for a series of events beginning Sept. 8. Among the events he'll lead are a public lecture at 7 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Kansas union, a meditation workshop from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at Ecumenical Christian Ministries, 1204 Oread Ave., and a meditation retreat from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 11 in Linwood.
The events surrounding the trip will start at 4 p.m. today at KU's Kansas Union, with a lecture on Tibetan art by Jamyong Singye of San Francisco. He also will lead a workshop on Tibetan Art Saturday and Sunday at the Lawrence Visitors Center, 402 N. Second St.
This is Rinpoche's second visit to Lawrence. He also led meditation events here in 2003.
"The way he teaches, you can't do it out of a book," said Ling-Lung Chen, who is organizing the events. "His approach is so simple. It takes away a lot of the mystery and nervousness people might have about meditation."
Rinpoche, 29, is known for being one of the youngest meditation gurus in history. He entered a traditional three-year spiritual retreat at age 13, well before most other meditation teachers.
Now he is working to raise funds for a new monastery in Bodh Gaya, India, where Buddha attained enlightenment. He also tours the Western world extensively, leading meditation workshops.
Chen said anyone can benefit from practicing Buddhist meditation, even those from other faith backgrounds. All it takes is a desire to step away from the hustle and bustle of the real world.
"Anybody can do it, but you have to know how to do it on a daily basis so it's a benefit to you," she said. "You can automatically increase your quality of life."
She said the Sept. 10 workshop in Lawrence - especially the morning portion - will be good for beginners. The afternoon hours will be geared toward helping those who already practice meditation hone their skills and ask questions.
"Just come with an open mind, get a good night's rest, relax and go with the flow," Chen said. "We all have the same potential to do meditation."
Schedule of events surrounding Mingyur Rinpoche's visit to Lawrence: ¢ Lecture on Tibetan art by Jamyong Singye of San Francisco, 4 p.m. today, Pine Room, Kansas Union. Free. ¢ Workshop on Tibetan art led by Singye, 9 a.m.-noon and 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Lawrence Visitor Center, 402 N. Second St. Cost is $70 or $63 for students and the unemployed. ¢ Public lecture on "Peace from the Perspective of Tibetan Philosophy" by Rinpoche, 7 p.m. Sept. 8, Kansas Room, Kansas Union. Free. ¢ Meditation workshop led by Rinpoche, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sept. 10 for an introduction course, 2 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Sept. 10 for more advanced students, Ecumenical Christian Ministries, 1204 Oread Ave. ¢ Meditation retreat led by Rinpoche, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 11, Lifelong Learning Center, Linwood. Cost is $50 or $45 for students and seniors. Includes a vegetarian lunch and tea. For information on the visit or to register for events, call Ling-Lung Chen at 843-4656 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.