ONLINE CLASS: Spiritual Memoirs of Three Contemporary Masters (2089)

Six Mondays: September 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12, 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

$150.00 (10% off for members)

Contemplative writing and mindful meditation require techniques that tap into deep and vast dimensions of human existence. Who are some writers who have explored these dimensions, such that their work necessarily unfolds from these contemplative wellsprings of life?  This class will explore the powerful combination of meditation and writing in the memoirs of one Tibetan Buddhist, one Zen Buddhist, and one Trappist practitioner: Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Joan Halifax, and Thomas Merton. These teachers and writers have explored the contemplative mind and heart in order to reshape the schemata of values in their daily lives. All three memoirs, set in the midst of a personal spiritual journey, combine great storytelling with probing investigations into the purpose of existence. In addition to analyzing the readings, this course will introduce participants to basic meditative techniques and writing techniques as practiced by these writers.

Class overview:

Classes One and Two: Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, In Love with the World: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying. Having lived the life of a highly acclaimed Tibetan Buddhist teacher, on reaching 37 years of age and feeling a need to understand the life of ordinary human beings, Mingyur steals away without notice for life on the road, a life without resources or protection. What we receive in this memoir is a very candid account of his Mingyur’s inner processes during his journey.

Classes Three and Four: Joan Halifax: The Fruitful Darkness: A Journey Through Buddhist Practice and Tribal Wisdom. Halifax is the founder and abbot of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. A major Zen Buddhist teacher, this memoir explores the beginning part of her spiritual quest, a wild journey over several continents in her exploration of her interests in deep ecology, shamanism, and Buddhism, all done with an open heart and mind.

Classes Five and Six: Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton. “The moment of takeoff was We left the ground―I with Christian mantras and a great sense of destiny, of being at last on my true way after years of waiting and wondering..." With these words, Father Thomas Merton recorded the beginning of his fateful journey to the Orient.  Merton continues on his quest for self-understanding and development as he seeks to develop himself more fully through his encounters with Eastern spiritual teachers and disciplines.


In Love with the World, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (9780525512530)

The Fruitful Darkness, Joan Halifax (9780802140715)

Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, Thomas Merton (9780811205702)

Jerry Webster presently serves as the Shastri, or head teacher, with the Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center in Washington, D.C.  He began meditation with a ten full-day retreat in India with the Burmese teacher Goenka in 1974.  Since 1976, he is a student of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition and he has taught in this tradition since 1977.  He obtained his PH.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland in 1999.  He has taught numerous courses in literature for the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University and numerous courses in multiculturalism for Montgomery County Public Schools.  He has taught English full-time in public school systems for forty years; he began teaching with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in 1973.  During the past six years, he has led six full-day week-long meditation weekthuns and a variety of programs along the East Coast, including multiple local courses for Politics & Prose, Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Peace Corps, and Frederick Community College.

REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.

In Love with the World: A Monk's Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525512530
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Random House - May 7th, 2019

The Fruitful Darkness: A Journey Through Buddhist Practice and Tribal Wisdom Cover Image
By Joan Halifax, Thich Nhat Hanh (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780802140715
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Grove Press - March 15th, 2004

The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton Cover Image
By Thomas Merton, Patrick Hart (Editor), James Laughlin (Editor), Naomi Burton Stone (Editor), Amiya Chakravarty (Preface by)
ISBN: 9780811205702
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: New Directions - February 28th, 1975