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Buddhadharma : Summer 2011
winter 2005| 88 |buddhadharma series entitled toUchinG the earth in January 2006. The series consists of eight to ten lectures. Each begins with a Friday night talk, followed by an all-day work- shop on Saturday, held either at City Center or Green Gulch Farm. The first lecturer will be writer Gretel Ehrlich on January 13. Subsequent speakers include poet and corporate consultant David Whyte; Thomas Lewis, M.D., author of A General Theory of Love; activist and writer Daniel Ellberg; and filmmaker Dorris Dörrie. The lectures will be made available on the Zen Center web- site. ■ michael GroSSi, an American monk living in Thailand at the Wat Pah Nanachat monas- tery near Chonburi, died on July 31 from a broken neck caused by a fall. Grossi grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, was a cum laude gradu- ate from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and later moved to Los Angeles, where he taught in inner-city schools. While in Los Angeles, he established a foundation to help pay college tuition for underprivileged stu- dents. As a result of his work, he was named “Most inspirational teacher of 1996” by Mayor Rich- ard J. Riordan. Ordained seven years ago in the lineage of Ajahn Chah, he was given the name Pan- navuddho Bhikkhu and had been living in Thailand for the last eight years. Grossi was a student of Ajahn Tunn, and was 36 years old at the time of his death. ■ roShi Bernie GlaSSman has led his last Bearing Witness Retreat at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. This year marks the 60th anniver- sary of the liberation of the con- centration camps by the Red Army. Glassman was joined by a group of international leaders represent- ing a diversity of religions and cultures. During the day partici- pants engaged in prayer and med- itation, and also chanted the names of the dead. Special pro- grams and listening circles were offered in the evenings. Glassman created the event and has led it for the past ten years, but is now stepping down as director. ■ Jazz musicians and Soka Gakkai prac- titioners herBie hancock and wayne Shorter joined Carlos Santana as headliners for the Emis- saries for Peace Tour (below), which ran from July 27 to August 2. The Japanese tour commemorated the 60th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. At the outset of the tour, Herbie Han- cock said, “I’m especially excited about making a presentation for peace along with two dear friends of mine – Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter – who share the same passion for spreading the human spirit of peace and happi- ness.” ■ One of the first North American monastic retreat homes, or viharas, for women practicing in the Theravada tradition was opened on August 21. The retreat has been named dhammadha- rini, which means “to uphold the dharma in the feminine form.” Located in a rented home in Fre- mont in the San Francisco Bay area, Dhammadharini currently can accommodate only three monastics. Founding abbess Ven- erable Bhikkhuni Tathaaloka, born Unitarian UniVerSaliSt miniSter BecomeS Zen maSter By Chris Bell T he relationship between Zen Buddhism and Western religious traditions broke new ground on August 6 as Rev. James Ishmael Ford became the first unitarian universalist minister to be rec- ognized as a Zen master. Ford, who is senior minister of the First unitarian Society in Newton, Massachusetts, and also the founder of the Boundless Way Zen Community of Boston, received Inka Shomei (“The Legitimate Seal of Clearly Furnished Proof”) from his teacher, John Tarrant Roshi of the Pacific Zen Institute. The Inka Shomei cer- emony recognizes the completion of a rigorous curriculum of koan training, and the insight and wisdom that such training brings. Many of Ford’s parishioners and Zen students attended the cer- emony, which was held in a beautiful backyard garden. Guests were treated to Zydeco-style sing-along versions of the Heart Sutra and the bodhisattva vows, healthy doses of humor from both Tarrant Roshi and Rev. Ford, and a post-ceremony barbecue. Ford, who prefers to be called “just James,” was given the dharma name of Zeno Myoun Roshi, a title that did not appear to go to his head, as the translation he offered for Roshi was “old fart.” Ford first encountered Buddhism in San Francisco in the late 1960’s. He later received dharma transmission and was ordained a Soto Zen priest by Jiyu Kennett Roshi in 1971. For the last 17 years he has studied koans with John Tarrant; he has earned the title of Hassu, or “dharma successor,” of Tarrant, and may function as an independent teacher in the Harada/yasutani lineage. Driven in part by the need to find a religious home that was wel- coming to children, Ford first discovered unitarian universalism in the early 1980’s. This led to a deep and lasting relationship with the church, and he was ordained a uu minister in 1991. Ford, a member and former president of the unitarian universalist Buddhist Fellowship, sees a deep congruence between Zen and unitarian universalism, and this appears regularly in his teaching and preaching. For example, the principles of unitarian universalism affirm “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” and “respect for the interdependent web of existence.” For Ford, Zen offers the opportunity to take these principles, and the tension between them, beyond the realm of ideas and into a lived experience of awakening. “It takes a practice to live the path of liberal religion,” says Ford. “We need to sit down, shut up, and pay attention.” Chris Bell is both a Zen practitioner and a Unitarian Universalist. He has been a student of Rev. James Ford since 2001 and recently gradu- ated from the Harvard Divinity School. Bearing Witness Retreat participant at Auschwitz. PETERCuNNINGHAMMIN-oNCoNCERTASSoCIATIoNDARLENEFuNGRoDMEADESPERRy Rev. James Ford (left) with John Tarrant Roshi