UUBF CONVOCATION WORKSHOPS
We are pleased to offer three workshops at the UUBF convocation on Saturday evening, 5:00 to 7:30 (with a short break), followed by dinner at 8:00. There will also be T’ai Chi Chih before breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The Hidden Lamp: Stories of Buddhist Women Through the Centuries
Led by Zenshin Florence Caplow
In this workshop we will explore stories of Buddhist women over the last twenty-five centuries, and how they matter for our lives today. Most Buddhists are not fully aware of the rich lives and teachings of awakened women. These stories and koans are about old women, nuns, teachers, courtesans, wives, daughters, teenagers, and uppity women from all walks of life. Whether you are male or female, you are invited to come draw inspiration from these wise and feisty women!
Zenshin Florence Caplow is a Soto Zen priest, a seminarian at Starr King, and the co-editor of The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women, forthcoming in 2013 from Wisdom Publications.
What’s in the Pure Land for Unitarian Universalists?
Led by Galen Amstutz
Pure Land Buddhism in its various forms has been extremely important in Asia but for a variety of reasons has interacted less productively with non-ethnic Americans than other kinds of Buddhism. With an eye to seeing if more people can get something out of it, this workshop will focus on Jodoshinshu (Shin Buddhism, or True Pure Land Buddhism, from Japan) and take up topics which may include the following: ☸ A twenty-first century age of consilience around the concept of interdependence? ☸ What Pure Land language really means: the thinker Shinran and mythologizing Buddhist awareness as a gift ☸ Buddhism as primarily an imaginative field ☸ A bit of Japanese cultural history (If the "protestant" shoe fits, don't wear it!) ☸ The strange career of D.T. Suzuki: when "Zen" is really "Shin" ☸ Messages from cognitive psychology: the unconscious, American self-help, and the blank slate; golly, could there be any limit to one's ability to intentionally undermine one's ego? ☸ And gosh, Mom, is there any evidence for authority problems and scandals in American Buddhism? ☸ The need to re-invent and re-develop insights from Pure Land in an independent, non-conventional, non-ethnic context.
Galen Amstutz had the intercultural experience of growing up in an Asian-American neighborhood in Sacramento, California. After he became interested in Buddhism while teaching English in Japan in the 1970s, he studied at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California, and qualified as a minister of the Nishi Honganji True Pure Land organization. Later, having continued his academic study with a Ph.D. in Asian Religions from Princeton, he worked for Florida State University, the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard, and Ryukoku University in Kyoto, Japan. Besides a book (Interpreting Amida, 1997) he has done numerous articles and translations. He is currently an online teacher for the Institute of Buddhist Studies and an Associate of the Reischauer Institute.
T’ai Chi Chih
Led by Debbie Cole
Begin your mornings at the Convocation with T’ai Chi Chih led by Debbie Cole, an accredited T’ai Chi Chih instructor since 2000. This moving meditation uses gentle continuity of motion to relax the body and calm the mind. There are no special physical requirements and it can easily be modified to be done while seated. Debbie is a UU seminarian, Intern Minister at the UU Congregation of Columbia (MD), and an engaged parent.
Nonviolent Communication and Prison Dharma
Led by Barbra Esher and Karen Holcomb
How could you thoroughly test guidelines for improving communication and building supportive relationships? You might try them with prisoners in the Maryland Correctional Institute. If Marshall Rosenberg’s system of Non-Violent Communication works with and among men convicted of violent crimes, what might it accomplish in kerfluffles in your UU committees? The Buddha told us to believe only what we could experience for ourselves, and this WORKshop offers opportunities to practice listening and speaking in Non-Violent Communication with partners. NVC is a natural fit for Buddhism. It enables us to reach toward Right Speech and the Fourth Lay Precept by bringing full presence even to uncomfortable circumstances and thereby supports Thich Nhat Hanh’s Deep Listening in particular. At the core of NVC is deep respect for the heartfelt needs of all parties to a discussion, and it has been used internationally in peacemaking to keep deeply divided groups in the room and engaged. If it weren’t enough to teach new skills for starting or coping with difficult dialogues within families, workplaces, and UU committees, the workshop will also offer tips for engaging in prison dharma/prison ministry so that your sitting group or whole church can take its commitment to service off the cushion and out of the pews.
Karen Holcomb is a facilitator of the Mindfulness Practice Group of Annapolis and a volunteer with the UU Church of Annapolis’ program in Prison Ministry and Restorative Justice. She has Received Transmission of the Five Mindfulness Trainings in the Order of Interbeing. Karen attended a training session in NVC with Lynd Morris and Barbra Esher, and then Barbra offered at UUCA the first ever Day of Mindfulness with Compassionate Communication. A beautiful partnership was born.
Barbra Esher is an Aspirant to the Order of Interbeing and works with Lynd Morris to offer NVC events under the aegis of Capital NVC as a candidate for certification in NVC. She is also the head of Baltimore Shiatsu and Acupuncture Center, web columnist for Asian Healing Arts, AOBTA certified in several forms of shiatsu, acupuncture, and acupressure, disciplines she began to study in Tokyo and pursued during a five year stay in Asia.