"It is far better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."
—HH Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama
The first of the Four Noble Truths taught by the historical Buddha affirmed the reality of human suffering. The Buddha went on to outline a methodology for transforming negative emotions of anger, despair, and helplessness into a path of active compassion toward oneself and others.
Sandy Hook Promise will host a special presentation, "Violence, Loss and Emotional Healing: A Buddhist Perspective," on Wednesday, March 13. It will begin at 7 pm at Congregation Adath Israel, 115 Huntingtown Road. Admission is free.
The presentation will explore the intersection between Eastern mind training and Western psychology. Presenters will describe their personal struggles and professional efforts to address the problem of violence and to promote healing from the emotional trauma caused by violence. In addition, the presentation will attempt to explore how a community's path of healing from violence might also create a framework for preventing future violence.
The lecture will consist of presentations by four panelists: two Tibetan Buddhist lamas (teachers) involved as chaplains and in chaplaincy training, and two students of Buddhism with extensive personal and/or professional experience in dealing with violence and its aftereffects.
Panelists will include Lama Kathy Wesley (Gyurme Chotso), who has been a student of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche (abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, a Buddhist monastery in Woodstock, N.Y.) since 1977. She participated in the first traditional Tibetan three-year retreat led by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche at Karme Ling Retreat Center in upstate New York, and thus earned the title of Retreat Lama.
Lama Kathy serves at the Columbus Karma Thegsum Choling in Ohio as its resident teacher, and travels to other Buddhist centers throughout the country to teach. She is particularly in demand as a teacher of Lojong, a set of Tibetan Buddhist practices that train the mind in compassion and loving kindness.
James L. Knoll IV, MD, is the director of forensic psychiatry and associate professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, where he serves as the training director for the forensic psychiatry fellowship. Dr Knoll is board certified in both adult and forensic psychiatry. He has worked for many years as a forensic evaluator for state and federal courts, corrections, and the private sector.
He served as the medical director of psychiatric services for the New Hampshire State Prison system, and now serves as a forensic consultant to the Central New York Psychiatric Center. Dr Knoll is also editor-in-chief of Psychiatric Times , and contributing editor for The Correctional Mental Health Report . His main interests include violence prevention, and areas in which western psychology and Buddhism overlap.
Lama Tsultrim Yeshe (John Samuelson) has been a student of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche since 1989. He completed the first traditional Tibetan three-year retreat held at Karme Ling (Delhi, N.Y.), led by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, and took monastic vows with him in 1994.
Lama Yeshe, a retired prison chaplain, lives in Wisconsin, and teaches at dharma centers throughout North America. He is especially known for workshops in which participants use Tibetan Buddhist practices to explore the nature of forgiveness and to learn how to heal old wounds.
David Kaczynski is executive director of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Inc. He is the brother of Theodore Kaczynski, the so-called "Unabomber," whose 17-year reign of violence came to an end after David and his wife Linda read the Unabomber's manifesto in The Washington Post and reported their suspicions about David's brother to the FBI.
Mr Kaczynski formerly served as executive director of New Yorkers for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and as assistant director of Equinox Youth Shelter, a shelter for runaway and homeless youth in Albany, N.Y.
Their discussions will be followed by a question and answer session.
Sandy Hook Promise is a nonprofit corporation, with a 501(c)(3) Foundation (in process) as well as a 501(c)(4) Action Fund.
For additional information call 203-304-9780 or visit SandyHookPromise.org.