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Transcendental Meditation in public schools: still a violation of the first amendment

A recent article in the New York Post mentions that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) Quiet Time Program will soon be taught in New York schools.

A highly critical article on TM’s Quiet Time program in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) recently appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

The story reports on a presentation to the CPS by a former staff member at Bogan High School in Chicago, who interviewed 60 students enrolled in Bogan’s Quiet Time program. A 14-year-old student also addressed the Board about her experiences in the program. There are also allegations of coercion, inducements and ‘bribe rewards’ offered to students who wanted to quit the program.

As is made clear in the presentations, TM is a Hindu-based religious practice. Along with individual ‘mantras,’ which are the names of Hindu deities, Quiet Time requires each student to participate in a Hindu ceremony known as a ‘puja.’ which TM describes (incorrectly) as a secular ceremony.

The David Lynch Foundation wants a million public school children in its Quiet Time program, despite two court rulings that TM programs in public schools violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. (Malnak v. Yogi, 592 F.2d 1977). When TM lost the case, it appealed the decision to a higher court and lost again. The puja was one of the main reasons the Court cited in its ruling:

Although defendants have submitted well over 1500 pages of briefs, affidavits, and deposition testimony in opposing plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, defendants have failed to raise the slightest doubt as to the facts or as to the religious nature of the teachings of the Science of Creative Intelligence [TM’s Hindu underpinnings] and the puja. The teaching of the SCI/TM course in New Jersey public high schools violates the establishment clause of the first amendment, and its teaching must be enjoined.

The website: (TMDeception.com) has a section on TM in public schools. Of particular note is a letter by a parent whose child was a student in a Quiet Time school. She describes how her concerns about her son’s exposure to Hinduism were met with a threatening letter from a TM attorney. There is a second letter from a parent in a California high school who was instrumental in turning down a $175,000 Quiet Time grant from the Lynch Foundation. There are also video clips that demonstrate that the upper echelons of TM share many aspects of cultic organizations.

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For more information:
Aryeh Siegel, MSW, MPH
[email protected]
Transcendental Deception, 1171 South Robertson Boulevard, Suite 112, Los Angeles, CA 90035

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