Understanding Buddhism (February 3, 2007)
Building Bridges of Understanding: Understanding Buddhism was presented in February 2007 to an audience overflowing with women and men ranging in age from college students to senior citizens and representing the broad diversity of religious traditions found in and around Marin County. All listened with rapt attention, meditated, sang, and were touched by stories as they learned from the teachings and experiences of eight speakers‚ perspectives on Buddhism. Some of the attendees started their day at a pre-conference meditation session, a new experience for many.
It was a full day providing a glimpse into the treasure of Buddhism as shared by teachers and practitioners of many forms of this rich spiritual tradition. The conference began with an opening statements from Dr. Nahid Angha and Dr. Harlan Stelmach. Presentations included an introduction going back to the time of the Buddha, 2500 years ago in Nepal, covering the Four Noble Truths and outlining the components of the eight-fold path. Other talks emphasized the importance of being awake in the moment, of mindfulness, and the possibility of living in the conditional world without the duality of separation from the unconditional, or absolute. Discussion also focused on repentance and forgiveness, the leadership role of women from almost the beginning of the Buddhist tradition, the similarity of key underlying beliefs of Theravada Buddhism and Islam, and the beautiful art and architecture of the monastic universities and village monasteries.
This all day educational conference featured scholars and practitions from various Buddhist backgrounds. Panelists included Joseph Bobrow Roshi, Zen master in the Diamon Sangha lineage and founder of Deep Streams Zen Institute; Sylvia Boorstein, author and co-founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center; Rev. Heng Sure, Ph. D., Buddhist monk and Director of the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery; Rev. Carol Himaka, resident minister of the Enmanji Buddhist Temple; Philip Novak, Ph. D., a practicing Buddhist and professor and chairman of Philosophy and Religion at Dominican University of California; Arjia Rinpoche, founder and director of the Tibetan Center for Compassion and Wisdom; and Rev. Furyu Nancy Schroeder, Buddhist Priest ordained in the Soto Zen tradition and founder of the San Francisco Zen Center.