Religious Diversity News

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Zen Center in Pittsburgh

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On November 7, 2002 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that “twenty years ago, Kyoki [the name she chose for herself, meaning strong or courageous life
force] and her husband owned an organic hog farm in
Nebraska. She was introduced to Buddhism while subsequently going through a
divorce and being involved in mediations between farmers and government.  She
returned to Pittsburgh three years ago, opening the Zen Center in 2000. The Zen Center is the former home of her aunt, Mary Roberts, and her late
husband, Steele. Then it was known as Thirsty Hill, for its lack of a good
but Kyoki renamed it Deep Springs.

Zen Center Seeks New Home

Author: Dana Clark Felty

Source: Savannah Morning News

Soto Zen Buddhist priest-in-training Rev. Fugon Cindy Beach shares a personal story when trying to explain Buddhists’ appreciation for “nonattachment.”

“My first pottery instructor came up to me and looked at the glasses I had thrown and said they were lovely. Then, as he was leaving, he said, ‘Don’t ever fall in love with your pots … because they can break,’ ” Beach said.

“See them as broken so you can enjoy them as whole.”

Recently, Beach has applied that lesson on the ever-changing nature of the universe to her own faith community.

After moving from rented space at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Savannah and later, a Drayton Street yoga studio, members of the Savannah Zen Center are looking for a new home to have their daily meditation.

Zen Center Utilized as Meditation Space, Homework Resource

Author: Caroline Page

Source: The Buddhist Channel,5415,0,0,1,0

Austin, Texas (USA) — Though the Austin Zen Center could provide a calm meditative environment close to UT campus for Buddhist students, more students use the facility for class assignment research than participating in Buddhist practices.

“We have an awful lot of people who come and ask us to help with their papers – people who are taking classes and need to write religion and journalism papers, so a lot come that way,” said Barbara Seirin Kohn, the center’s guiding priest and teacher.

Zen Hospital Chaplains

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Religion & Ethics Newsweekly (PBS)

ROB BUNDY (Buddhist Chaplain Trainee, speaking to patient): Instead of pushing that pain away, just let it be. You are not the pain. That pain is something that doesn’t have to be who you are. Just let your breath take that pain away from you. Beautiful.


BETTY ROLLIN, correspondent: Rob Bundy is one of 24 Buddhist chaplains-in-training at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.


Zen In Their Bedside Manner

Author: Tina Susman

Source: The Los Angeles Times,0,1622490.story?page=1

It was 8 a.m., and the subject was death.

A 55-year-old man was wasting away from lungcancer and cirrhosis. His weight was plummeting and his brain was swelling. But he was in denial, refusing to discuss hospice care or consider a “do not resuscitate” order.

A bright pink vase filled with yellow mums sat near the window, belying the grim task facing the healthcare workers at Beth Israel Medical Center who had clustered around a conference table.

“This has been really sad,” said the Rev. Robert Chodo Campbell, a large man with thick brows who was wearing what appeared to be a cross between a judo outfit and hospital scrubs. He told the group that when faced with a similar case in the past, he had decided to disclose his personal battle with alcoholism to the patient — also an alcoholic — in hopes of spurring a conversation that might help ease the man’s mental anguish and prepare him for whatever lay ahead.

“Is that a good technique?” asked a doctor, sounding slightly incredulous.

A psychologist interjected. “In this case, it could have been a gift,” she said. “Psychologists don’t disclose anything. Chaplains operate under a different set of rules.”

And Chodo operates under a different set of rules than most chaplains as he spreads the spirit of Buddhism through the halls of Beth Israel, a 1,368-bed medical center in Manhattan. “If it seems appropriate in the moment and one is sure of one’s motives — the well-being of the patient — then why not?” the Zen chaplain asked.

According to the American Hospital Assn., about 68% of public hospitals have a chaplaincy program. But few have Buddhist monks, and none compares with the program at Beth Israel — where more than 20 Buddhist chaplains and chaplains-in-training offer bedside meditation, interdenominational prayers and other assistance to pregnant women, dying cancer patients and even stressed hospital workers.

Zen Master Decries Vietnam’s Treatment Of Monks

Author: Ben Stocking


Wire Service: AP

A renowned Buddhist teacher has decried the eviction of his followers from a monastery in southern Vietnam, and Vietnamese intellectuals have issued a petition to support them, an unusual move in this communist country where free speech is restricted.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese-born Zen master who popularized Buddhism in the West, wrote a letter last week to President Nguyen Minh Triet in which he criticized the police who evicted nearly 400 of his followers from a monastery-the first time the teacher has spoken out about the incident. His followers say a mob including undercover police descended on the Bat Nha monastery in Lam Dong province on Sept. 27, damaged buildings and forced the monastics out, beating some with sticks.

The dispute at Bat Nha has raised questions about Vietnam’s record on religious freedom, which has drawn criticism from human rights groups.

Zen Master Helps the Homeless Serve the Hungry

Source: The Kansas City Star

On September 29, 2003 The Kansas City Star reported that “the Greyston Bakery, which was founded by a Zen master, hires the homeless and makes brownies for Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, has a new bakery building designed by Maya Lin, architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial… Federal, county and local officials who spoke at the opening ceremony praised the Greyston Foundation for its work not only at the bakery but in child care, housing and health care.”

Zen Master Offers Hope in Oregon State Penitentiary

Source: Statesmen Journal

On June 10, 2004 Statesmen Journal reported, “A Korean Zen master sang, prayed and offered words of hope Wednesday night to a receptive group of inmates at the Oregon State Penitentiary.
In a prison chapel framed by barred windows, Buddhist monk Kyunghoon Sunim told the inmates they could free their minds from the bounds of physical captivity.
Like all prisons in the 12,000-inmate Oregon corrections system, the penitentiary provides a wide array of religious services and programs for prisoners, officials said.
Inmates attending Wednesday’s unusual event belong to a larger group of prisoners who gather weekly for Buddhist meditation sessions at the 2,200-inmate penitentiary.”

Zen Master: Vietnam Must Grant Religious Freedom

Author: Ben Stocking

Source: Taiwan News

Wire Service: AP

One of the world’s most famous Zen masters made a plea Monday for religious freedom in his homeland, saying Vietnam’s communist leaders have lost touch with their revolutionary ideals and Buddhist traditions.

Thich Nhat Hanh, who helped popularize Buddhism in the West and has sold millions of books worldwide, portrayed Vietnam’s leaders as corrupt and out of touch with the desires of their people.

Authorities forcibly evicted Nhat Hanh’s followers from the Bat Nha monastery on Sept. 27 and from the Phuoc Hue temple late last month.