This is an opportunity for faculty and other professionals during the 2019–2020 academic year to spend a semester on the Naropa University campus in Boulder, Colorado, conducting a research, artistic, social action, or other project that relates Buddhist philosophy and practice to an aspect of American culture and values. This is an ideal place for a Buddhism fellowship, Religious Studies fellowship, or sabbatical fellowship in Religion.
In collaboration with a community partner, I will co-develop a transformative justice curriculum by and for undocumented immigrants and refugees. Weaving together contemplative practices, public health, and feminist pedagogies, this project centers loving-kindness practices to amplify community strategies for surviving and thriving after release from immigration detention centers. In doing so, we will reimagine palliative care in the context of historical trauma and community cultural wealth.
Stephanie Briggs is an independent scholar/artist and owner/designer of Be.Still.Move., a program of contemplative, compassionate community building through embodied movement and arts-based learning. She has created racially sensitive self-care programs for the STEM Women of Color Conclave, Howard University Hospital, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Her recent research, “Practical Empowerment: Building Contemplative Communities With Student of Color” funded by a grant from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, consisted of a think tank of faculty of color from six institutions focusing on the value of contemplative communities on college campuses. Based on qualitative assessments, this year-long project determined that incorporating personal, practical strategies through contemplative pedagogical processes that were partially informed by African/African-American practices were key elements when creating safe, academic spaces. Stephanie Briggs’ 2018-2019 Lenz Fellowship project will address inequities towards African-American faculty, particularly those in predominately white institutions (PWIs), through community-based practices that contextualize Buddhist and African/African-American spirituality wisdoms. By also incorporating art and movement-based theories, the goal is to uncover ways of rethinking and releasing suffering and, through the creation of training modules, establish the groundwork for personal, transformative change through contemplative, communal practices designed for African-American faculty.
Both at home and abroad, Americans are increasingly being obliged to confront the issue of violence. Conventional solutions have proven inadequate to the the scope and urgency of the problem. Similarly, appeals to religious values of compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, and the like seem to have yielded sparse fruit. Violence of every kind, religious and otherwise, continues to vex the contemporary American situation. The 2016–17 Lenz Fellowship project is based on the proposition that, as in the observation popularly attributed to Albert Einstein, a problem cannot be solved by the same consciousness that gave rise to it. A more radical approach is required: literally radical, in the sense of addressing the roots of violent human conduct. The Lenz project will seek to uncover and amplify clues to such an approach through a hands-on engagement with the nondual worldview of Vajrayāna Buddhism. The Naropa community will be invited to help create a radio presentation that encourages listeners to identify and befriend the habitual violence in their own experience. The design of the project itself serves as a model for the inclusive perspective from which may be glimpsed a novel, and conceivably effective, approach to the problem of violence.
Ryūmon Hilda Baldoquín Sensei, MS.Ed, SEP®, an independent scholar-activist and practitioner, is guiding teacher and co-founder, with her spouse Catherine Anraku Hondorp Sensei, of Two Streams Zen, a Multicultural Dharma Movement with the mission of transforming people and communities through fearless intimacy and living compassion. Ryūmon Sensei’s project, Contemplative Somatic Wellness™: A Body-Mind Centered Movement for Spiritual Social Activism, arose out of the profound need to address the present societal suffering of: the historical legacy of racial oppression, institutionalized structural inequities, and the healing of intergenerational trauma which continues to live in our physiology. Guided by a vision of a true spiritual activism that embodies sanity, wisdom and compassion, the project integrates the essence of Zen Buddhist teachings and practices with the trauma resolution modality of Somatic Experiencing®, grounded in the theory of Emancipatory Consciousness. With the intention of creating a body-centered social justice movement, Contemplative Somatic Wellness™ isaholistic and integrative application of these three transformative vehicles. The outcome is the design of protocols, practices, and strategies towards the implementation of a somatic immersion contemplative, ninety-day retreat for the training and mentorship of social justice leaders of color—an important, and sorely needed, development in American Buddhism.
Melissa Rolnick currently teaches dance at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. Integrating her background in dance and contemplative practice, Melissa has developed a somatic approach termed MEISA: Movement Exploration through Imagery and Sensory Awareness. MEISA is a burgeoning somatic and contemplative practice/form that is evolving out of the questing need to know, live and move deeply in the authenticity of the body, by consciously stepping away from the relentless tempo of contemporary, American rhythms. Her presence at Naropa will be a unique experience for the University community to assist in the form's development. The practice will be taught in a one-semester course in Spring of 2015 consisting of contemplative practice, choreography generated from the embodied research/practice, and a performance practice realized through individual and group compositions.
Douglas Lindner received his PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois. He has been a faculty member in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech since 1982. In April of 2013 he organized a conference "Contemplative Practices for a Technological Society" at Virginia Tech. He practices meditation and qigong in the Shambhala sangha. While at Naropa University, Douglas Lindner developed course materials for the integration of contemplative practices into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. Using Buddhist and Taoist insights, this course was used to develop mindfulness, deep listening skills, and creativity with an emphasis on a holistic worldview as a framework for engineering design.
Sarah J. Heidt is an associate professor of English at Kenyon College, where she teaches nineteenth-century British literature and culture, auto/biography and life-writing, women's writing, and literatures of memory. She holds a PhD in English from Cornell University and has published essays about Victorian life-writing and contemporary memoir and film. She began Zen practice in 2010 and is a formal student at Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate New York. While at Naropa in spring 2013, she explored intersections of contemplative practice and literary study.
Dr. David R. Loy is a professor of Buddhist and comparative philosophy, writer and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. He is a distinguished author who has written several books and is regularly published in multiple publications, as well as serving on editorial and advising boards for various journals. Dr. Loy’s past research has focused upon the encounter between Buddhism and modernity, exhibiting special concern regarding social and ecological issues. His fellowship question, why Buddhism and modernity need each other, correlated directly to his research. While at Naropa, he began writing a new book that reveals the contemplative dialogue between Buddhism and the West.
Originally studying engineering, Dr. Arturo J. Bencosme has been involved with organizational learning for over 30 years. His work includes teaching, management, and individual work with private, public, and nonprofit service organizations. Dr. Bencosme has served as a consultant, facilitator, and educator in the fields of visionary strategic planning, organizational leadership and servant leadership. As a fellow at Naropa, he was interested in developing a contemplative approach to enhancing learning in organizations. In conjunction with Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey, Dr. Bencosme’s project explores how contemplativeness, especially meditation, can affect organizations. His work focused upon how contemplativeness is demonstrated in the work place and how Naropa graduates can bring contemplative practice into the work place. Dr. Bencosme worked on expanding the outreach of Naropa into the organizational world including businesses, nonprofits and so forth, and to strengthen the personal and professional journeys of Naropa’s students.