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Buddhadharma : Winter 2010
89 winter 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly studies as the institute’s second program and received accreditation from the Pennsylvania department of education. Wallis, who teaches applied medita- tion, says most students in his program are American professionals, tending toward middle age. “Many work in psy- cho-social services—they’re counselors, social workers, therapists, psychologists. We’ve had students in education adminis- tration, bereavement counseling, even the corporate world. These are people who have come to the conclusion that they could incorporate meditation into their profession and enhance their work.” However, the applied meditation program also has attracted younger stu- dents straight out of college. To students in this demographic, Wallis says, “You can’t hang your shingle as an applied meditation expert. You have to comple- ment it with something to earn your living.” The Won Institute helps stu- dents find ways to do something mean- ingful yet practical with the program, and often this means helping students develop entrepreneurial skills. “A big part of what applied medita- tion is,” Wallis says, “is finding a way to deliver material that’s appropriate to the audience—learning how to translate the material into specific environments. We train students in ways to help them figure out how to do that, and students have been very creative with what they’ve done.” In 2005, the institute started its acu- puncture program, where students also receive entrepreneurial training. “In the acupuncture program,” says Wallis, “some people are more interested in evidence-based science. Then there are other people who are critical of Western science.” In the other programs, too, Won stu- dents and faculty have “different ideas about what an institute of higher educa- tion should look like,” he says. “When you read a Buddhist sutta, for example, do you read it critically and question it? Or do you read it as a source of teaching and truth? The Won Institute is a mix of the secular and religious, and what makes a place of learning interesting is different views.” “We’re a diverse school,” says Colleen O’Connell, the director of institutional advancement and planning. But regard- less of the direction a student is headed in, be it spiritual or secular, the Won Institute firmly believes in cultivating meditation practice. “All students,” O’Connell says, “no matter which program they’re enrolled in, are required to take meditation courses.” A major tenet of Won Buddhism, Wallis notes, is that “the technological and material side of society advances rapidly, but meditation serves as a coun- terbalance,” allowing people to “culti- vate simplicity.” Glenn Wallis, chair of the Applied Meditation Studies program, teaches master’s degree students in the Foundations of Buddhism class. ©woninstitute©woninstitute Jakusho Kwong, Abbot Soto Zen Lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi resident training monthly sesshins guest resident practice solo retreats workshops daily meditation rural country setting Genjo-ji 6367 Sonoma Mountain Road Santa Rosa, CA 95404 707.545.8105 firstname.lastname@example.org www.smzc.net SONOMA MOUNTAIN ZEN CENTER