550. Chris Beal

Chris BealChris Beal discovered Buddhism as an exchange student in Japan in the 1960s. Given her determination, she was sure she would succeed in getting enlightened. But enthusiasm doesn’t always guarantee success, and she went home disappointed, depressed and demoralized.

Thirteen years later, after a spontaneous awakening, she contacted the priest who had been her main teacher in Japan and began a six-year connection which deepened her understanding of what she had realized.

Meanwhile, she sought a spiritual path in the States but found nothing that spoke to her as deeply as her first teacher had until she met Adyashanti twenty years ago. After almost a decade of absorbing his teachings, she found the realization gradually deepening on its own.

Chris enjoys writing about spirituality and spiritual awakening. Her writing includes numerous published book reviews, author interviews, and articles, She is currently seeking publication of her novel, ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE FLESH, in which the main character’s dilemma reflects that of many seekers: How do you know which way will lead to the ultimate Truth when what you are seeking is not in the realm of imagining?

Chris’s Blogs:

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded May 16, 2020

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

543. Cynthia Jurs

Cynthia JursCynthia Jurs is a Tibetan Buddhist lama and a Dharmacharya in the Order of Interbeing of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh whose source of refuge and spiritual inspiration is Mother Earth; Gaia. In 1990, she made a life-changing pilgrimage to meet the hermit and meditation master, Kushok Mangden Charok Rinpoche, a 106-year-old lama living in a remote cave in Nepal from whom she received the practice of the Earth Treasure Vases when she asked him, “What can we do to bring healing and protection to the Earth?”

For thirty years, Cynthia has been building a global community committed to planetary healing and collective awakening in partnership with elders and activists around the world. Cynthia teaches an innovative blend of engaged Buddhism and sacred activism through the Earth Treasure Vase Global Healing Project, the Open Way Sangha in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the international Gaia Mandala Community. Through her nonprofit, Alliance for the Earth, Cynthia has worked with former combatants and the women who stopped a war in Liberia, West Africa, to build peace, teaching mindfulness and co-founding the Peace Hut Alliance for Conflict Transformation. Cynthia’s book, Summoned by the Earth, is forthcoming.

  • Website: EarthTreasureVase.org – learn more and subscribe to the monthly Earth Treasure Vase Full Moon Newsletter which is the best way to stay in touch
  • New website – GaiaMandala.netcoming soon. Will be the home for our global healing community with many practices, calls, courses and more ways to get involved in our work of global healing and collective awakening.
  • Join the monthly Full Moon Earth Treasure Vase Global Healing Meditation here. This is a free call via Zoom. A recording is automatically sent out to registered participants.
  • Gaia Calling: Being a Holy Vessel for Global Healing & Collective Awakening — a 7-week course co-taught by Cynthia Jurs and David Nicol via Zoom April 20—June 10, 2020. Join our free introductory call on April 11th to learn more.
  • Tara Gaia Teachings; a Vajrayana-style deity practice inspired by Tara with a visualization of Gaia and a recitation of her mantra. Cynthia will be giving the transmission and teaching of this practice during two-weekend retreats via Zoom — July 25-26 and November 7-8, 2020. Having received the teachings, one can join a monthly practice group. Let us know you are interested here.
  • Monday Mindfulness Meditation, a weekly gathering via Zoom at 4 pm Pacific // 5 pm Mountain // 7 pm Eastern. As we shelter at home, we can meet this moment of collective crisis and opportunity with calm and clarity by cultivating a practice of calm abiding in mindfulness.  In this weekly 1.5-hour practice group, we will sit, walk and sit again—entering into the quiet space within and stopping to catch our breath, to center ourselves, to let go of worry and fear and reconnect with our true source of Being. At the end of our practice, there will be an opportunity for mindful sharing around the circle. Click here if you are interested in participating.

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview recorded March 28, 2020

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

521. Henry Shukman

Henry ShukmanHenry Shukman (Ryu’un-ken) is an Associate Zen Master of the Sanbo Zen lineage, based in Kamakura, Japan. He has trained primarily with Joan Rieck Roshi, Zen teacher John Gaynor, Ruben Habito Roshi, and now continues his training under the guidance of Yamada Ryoun Roshi, current abbot of Sanbo Zen. Henry is dedicated to what he sees as core Zen training—clarifying our essential nature to our own satisfaction, and thereby finding true peace of mind, and then living that essential nature in every moment of daily life, in freedom, love and deep responsiveness.

As it happens, Mountain Cloud Zen Center was originally founded by a teacher whose training also took place within Sanbo Zen back in the 1950s, and Henry is the first Sanbo Zen teacher to have taught at Mountain Cloud since its founder.

Henry is a writer and poet of British-Jewish origin, who has published eight books to date, of fiction, poetry and nonfiction. He writes regularly for Tricycle, The New York Times and other publications, and his most recent book is the poetry collection Archangel. He lives near the center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife Clare and their two sons.

Earlier books:

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Interview conducted October 12, 2019

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

Henry adds, “At one point in our conversation I start to outline several “levels” of practice that have traditionally been outlined in zen. But part way through I slipped into another categorization of “wisdom levels” as given by Shinzen Young, a mentor of mine. I should have credited him. With apologies I’m doing so now. Many thanks.”