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Buddhadharma : Winter 2005
buddhadharma| 87 |winter 2005 winter 2005 B urmese monk Sayadaw U Silananda passed away on August 13, at the age of 78, as the result of a brain tumor. He was the spiri- tual advisor of the Theravada Buddhist Soci- ety of America, the founding abbot of the Dhammananda Vihara in Half Moon Bay, Cali- fornia, and the spiritual director of several other American Bud- dhist centers. U Silananda first visited the United States in 1979 when he came to San Francisco as part of Mahasi Sayadaw’s entou- rage. He stayed on to help fulfill the spiritual needs of the Burmese community. He is the author of several books, including The Four Foundations of Mindfulness and Volition: An Introduction to Kamma. To commemorate his death, the Theravada Buddhist Society of America plans to publish The Life and Works of Sayadaw U Silananda and to set up a schol- arship in his name. (See page 56 for a teaching by U Silananda.) ■ Sixty-five women from 17 shelters in metropolitan New York City came together for four days in June for a wellneSS for domeStic Violence Shelter workerS program at the Garrison Institute (see photo below). The program was designed to help workers deal with job burnout, stress, and fur- ther symptoms of vicarious trauma that can result from working with assaulted and abused women over a long period of time. Program director Marie T. O’Neil explained, “We want our participants to learn new tools for self-care and to be able to reconnect with their origi- nal motivation for the work.” Sharon Salzberg acted as medita- tion instructor, and Cyndi Lee, author and founder of OM Yoga, led the yoga portion of the pro- gram. Participants reconvened monthly in New York City after the Wellness retreat to further support their meditation and yoga practice. The final component of the program was a second retreat at the Garrison Institute from November 11 to 13. ■ The San franciSco Zen center board of directors has named Robert Thomas as the center’s new presi- dent. Thomas, who served as City Center director for two years before the appointment, formally began the job on September 26. Thomas first discovered Buddhism after a near-death incident in Asia led him to a forest monastery in Thailand founded by Ajahn Chah. He returned to San Francisco shortly after and entered the City Center as a guest student in 1994. “Even the position of president has to be a practice posi- tion,” says Thomas. “It’s about finding some simple, ordinary way to be with others and to support others.” Wendy Lewis replaces Thomas as City Center director. ■ SFZC will begin a monthly lecture new teacherS GradUate at imS By Katie Zdybel S even senior students graduated in September from the new four-year dharma teacher-training program led by core faculty of the Insight Meditation Society. Rebecca Bradshaw, Sky Dawson, Dhamma Ruwan Chandrasiri, Patricia Genoud-Feldman, Linda McDonald, Annie Nugent, and Debbie Ratner are the newly trained meditation teachers. They were selected for the program by senior Vipassana teachers based on their practice and experience. This is the first time that IMS has offered the four-year program, which includes intensive study of traditional and contemporary dharma texts, mentoring, providing on-site assistance at retreats, and main- tenance of one’s own personal practice. Participants also had the opportunity to visit Burma, where many IMS teachers have studied, as part of the program. “This group is now fully prepared to offer the teachings,” says Steve Armstrong, who together with Joseph Goldstein, Carol Wilson, Michele McDonald, and Kamala Masters made up the training team for the program. “We have given them the knowledge and lessons of our collective ten decades’ worth of teaching experiences.” He adds, “We have every confidence that they will contribute to the widening and deepening of the Western Buddhist sangha.” Many of the students come from abroad, and bring their interna- tional backgrounds and their personal areas of interest to their teaching skills. Dawson has worked in Australia for the last 15 years, combining dharma with palliative care; Genoud-Feldman, raised in Africa, empha- sizes an innate awareness of nature in her study; Bradshaw intends to work with teens and young adults. In fall 2006, IMS and Spirit Rock Meditation Center will team up to launch a new joint teacher-training program. Program spokesperson Gyano Gibson calls the training “an important process for the healthy continuation of dharma in our community.” Back Row (left to right): Carol Wilson, Linda McDonald, Sky Dawson, Rebecca Bradshaw, Joseph Goldstein, Steve Armstrong, and Dhamma Ruwan Chandrasiri. Front Row (left to right): Debbie Ratner, Patricia Genoud-Feldman, Annie Nugent, and Kamala Masters EoWyNAHLSTRoMGARRISoNINSTITuTE MahaSangha News TANyATAKACS