TORONTO – A Canadian police department that is reportedly experimenting with new training methods recently had a group of new recruits participate in a meditation lesson at a Buddhist temple.
On April 7, a group of approximately 35 police officers visited the West End Buddhist Temple and Meditation Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. The officers were all new recruits in training with Peel Region Police, which is a law enforcement department that serves the Toronto area.
While at the Buddhist temple, the officers received a lecture from a Buddhist monk on “mindfulness meditation and Buddhist philosophy,” according to a report from The Mississauga News. Photos posted on Facebook show the police officers, in uniform, taking up the cross-legged Lotus position inside the temple, with a large statue of Buddha in front of the meditation room.
Lori Blashuk of Peel Region Police’s Diversity Relations Unit said their department is experimenting with new training methods and thought the visit to the Buddhist temple would be beneficial for the officers.
“It’s good for the well-being of our officers, particularly with the stress they experience on the job,” she stated.
Magdi Younan, Inspector at Peel Regional Police, described the temple outing as “a field trip.”
“They are on-duty as training. This was [part of] training. Their duties are to be trained,” he said. “It was, for lack of a better term, a field trip.”
According to The Mississauga News, the department is looking into allowing officers to attend regular meditation sessions at the temple. The Ontario Regional Police will be holding a similar session at the temple next month.
The Buddhist monk who lectured the police officers, Bhante Saranapala, said Peel police asked him to organize the event. In his lecture, he spoke to them about “Buddhist philosophy and mindfulness meditation.”
“I am delighted that I was able to share some insights by giving spiritual support to help them continue daily their service with a peaceful mind,” he posted on Facebook. “Sending them Metta and all blessings of the Noble Triple Gem!”
As previously reported, a growing number of major corporations—including Google, Facebook, Apple, Target, and Bank of America—are offering meditation, mindfulness, and yoga programs for their employees. A number of Christians, recognizing these practices’ ties to New Age beliefs and Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, have expressed concerns at their increasing popularity in the U.S.
“Differences in various forms of Eastern meditation aside, they all aim at a supposedly ‘higher’ or ‘altered’ state of consciousness,” wrote Douglas Groothuis, author of the book “Confronting the New Age: How to Resist a Growing Religious Movement,” in a Christianity Today article. “Meditation guides claim that normal consciousness obscures sacred realities. Therefore, meditation is practiced in order to suspend rational patterns of thought.”
“The answer to our plight is not found in some ‘higher level of consciousness’ (really a deceptive state of mind), but in placing our faith in the unmatched achievements of Jesus Christ on our behalf,” Groothuis continued. “If it were possible to find enlightenment within, God would not have sent ‘his one and only Son’ (John 3:16) to die on the cross for our sins in order to give us new life and hope for eternity through Christ’s resurrection. We cannot raise ourselves from the dead.”