In this issue: Retreats that Teach Contemplation as a Force for Social Change | Contemplative Teaching and Learning Symposium | Why Dan Siegel Supports the Initiative on Contemplative Education | The Joy of Living Green | CMB Extends Its Reach | Why Paul Hawken Supports CMB | Contemplating Western Buddhism’s Future | Get Involved
The Garrison Institute offers a non-sectarian, inclusive and authentic contemplative setting that attracts a wide range of users, from people exploring contemplative practice for the first time, to the many thousands of experienced practitioners who have attended two or more of our retreats, to the many different teachers and organizations who keep coming back to lead retreats here year after year. We offer a rich calendar representing highly diverse contemplative traditions and contemporary practices. Some of our retreats aren’t found anywhere else, some are designed especially for first-timers or professional development, some are part of a multi-year intensive training series, and all further our mission of applying the power of contemplation to positive social change.
Jan. 1–8, 2012: Lama Surya Das: Winter Renewal Retreat - Natural Meditation, Dzogchen Meditation
Jan. 27–29: Krishna Das: Heart of Devotion Retreat
The education reform debate typically focuses on problems like test scores and dropout rates. But the Garrison Institute focuses on a different, more fundamental, dimension of educational improvement: the inner one. Our Initiative on Contemplation and Education held a major public symposium on “Advancing the Science and Practice of Contemplative Teaching and Learning” in November. It attracted 170 educators from across the US and abroad to explore the rapidly growing field of contemplative education. By cultivating the inner strengths of students and teachers, contemplative education offers a powerful, proven way to handle stresses, open minds and hearts, create better learning environments and improve student social, emotional, and academic outcomes.
The words “joy” and “climate change” are rarely used together, but the November cover story of Shambhala Sun magazine, “The Joy of Living Green,” finds reason to rejoice in featuring the Garrison Institute’s Climate, Mind and Behavior Program. The article writes up takeaways from our three 2011 CMB symposia (see the next item, below) and interviews many of the symposia participants, in a look at “the new environmentalism that celebrates the positive.”
2011 has been a watershed year for the growth and impact of our Climate, Mind and Behavior program. This spring we held not one but three highly successful CMB symposia, and each is now an annual event: Climate, Mind and Behavior for climate and thought leaders from many fields, Climate, Cities and Behavior for urban sustainability directors and related professionals from many cities, and Climate, Buildings and Behavior for building owners and building sector professionals. They attracted over 300 participants, generated new knowledge, established new collaborations, garnered national media coverage and built new opportunities for change.
In June, the Garrison Institute had the privilege of hosting the Buddhist Teachers’ Council, a historic gathering of 230 Buddhist teachers from across North America and Europe, representing diverse traditions and practices. Part of a tradition of Maha teacher councils that have been held periodically since the Buddha’s death, the meeting took years to plan and counted among its organizers and participants established teachers who were trained in the mid-twentieth century and helped bring Buddhist practice to the West – such teachers as Norman Fisher, Joseph Goldstein, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Lama Surya Das and others. But the Council also welcomed many younger teachers, like the tattooed Dharma Punx of Oakland, California, who teach very differently. It was a compelling and often moving dialogue across different traditions and generations, connecting pioneers with the next generation, conservators with adaptors and innovators, working to strengthen bonds and find some common wisdom about the evolving future of Buddhism in the West.
Like most innovation, the Garrison Institute’s work is intensely collaborative. None of it would be possible without your support. Every day the Institute has new opportunities to deepen its impact. Help us seize them. Your gift will fund scholarships to broaden access to our retreats, help disseminate our work more widely and enable us to keep pushing the boundaries of contemplative social change.