Source: The Times-Picayune
On January 28, 2001, The Times-Picayune reported on a workshop on Buddhist studies in the Covington-Mandeville area of Louisiana, which was led by meditator and Buddhist practitioner Ngawang Chotak, a former monk. "The focus was 'Eight Verses on Transforming the Mind,' which is one of the most important texts from a genre of Tibetan Buddhist spiritual writings...Chotak discussed ways to be equipped emotionally to deal with the ups and downs of life...Buddhist thought teaches that trials and tribulations are not what life's about, Chotak said. 'Compassion and love are the only way to attain enlightenment.'...[He explained] the concept of conditioned existence, which is the basis of Buddhist thought...'We think we have a free will, but we are enormously conditioned by events, and scientists tell us we are even conditioned through genetics,' said [event organizer Dionne] Fomby. 'The idea of meditating is to quiet your mind and gain clarity so that you can figure out the answers and resolve problems.'" The responses to the workshop were all positive.