Venue Details

Woolly Mammoth Theatre
Main Stage 641 D. Street, NW Washington, DC 20004
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*Lineup of Events

Saturday, September 10, 2011*

*10:00am  Creating Sacred Space   *

Lama Surya Das, Sylvia Boorstein, Ruth King

An opening of the heart through prayer, meditation, music and chants.

Teachers explore the spiritual dimensions of how our lives were affected by the events of 9.11.2001. We look at how reacting with fear brings so much suffering to our lives, while responding with love brings us refuge and strength. Sylvia Boorstein begins a weekend-long series of loving/kindness meditations to help us cultivate a deep sense of caring for ourselves and for all of creation.

Mirabai Ceiba provides musical accompaniment for the morning.

11:30am  Lunch Break

1:00pm  The Enduring Refuge: Our Own Benevolent Heart                

Sylvia Boorstein, Ruth King

Sylvia Boorstein — Experience How Mindfulness Cultivates Equanimity, Wisdom and Compassion

Buddhism teaches that the possibility of the mind and heart to remain clear and cordial is not contingent on events.  The Buddha’s Third Noble Truth, “Peace is Possible,” assures us that in spite of the inevitable challenges that life presents, our own heart-mind can remain grounded in wisdom, and inclined towards benevolence. What is required of us is intention, diligence and practice.

Ruth King — Holding On, Letting Go: Freeing Heart & Mind

Our impulse to retaliate when our hearts are broken is a natural human experience—however these impulses are worthy of compassionate investigation. In this interactive exchange, we examine the grip of the judging mind and its tendency to create an “us” and “them.” We will also explore together how to let go, forgive, and embrace the sorrows and joys of the world with an open heart.

*3:30pm  Break

4:00pm  Disarming the Angry Heart: Catch Yourself Before Things Catch You  *

Lama Surya Das

Lama Surya Das speaks to us on the enlightened quality of patience — the ability to stay positive in the face of adversity. By cultivating tolerance, forbearance and acceptance—including mindful anger management—we develop strength of mind and heart. This enables us to respond to the challenges of life with clarity, composure and serenity, rather than anger and aggression.

*5:30–6:00pm  Book Signing with Sylvia Boorstein, Lama Surya Das and Ruth King

5:30—7:00pm  Dinner Break

7:00pm–9:30pm  Saturday Evening Special Presentation  *

7:00pm  Getting Personal: Sharing Some Lessons We’ve Learned Along Our Paths

Sylvia Boorstein & Lama Surya Das

Two of the country’s most respected and influential Buddhist teachers offer insights into their decades of practice and teaching, and reveal some of the important lessons that have led to their own personal transformation. This promises to be a fascinating discussion for both experienced and new seekers. The two teachers and authors discuss what they have learned about taking painful and difficult experiences from their own lives and turning them into opportunities for gaining greater wisdom and compassion.

8:00pm  Film: *_The Power of Forgiveness*_

Winner – Best Documentary at 2007 Sun Valley Film Festival

78 min., Directed by Martin Doblmeier

We’re often taught how important it is to intentionally opt out of the cycle of violence and revenge, to relinquish the hope that things could have been different, and to live with acceptance of what cannot be changed.   

What this film so clearly and passionately demonstrates is that forgiveness is more transformative to society than bombs and riots. We intuitively know that, but it makes a huge difference to actually see it in action. That’s where this film succeeds so brilliantly.    

It shows that through our pain, we can find a way to be safe while also being compassionate. This film does not ask anyone to forgive.  That’s a personal choice.  What the film does is show viewers a way through the grief and suffering, a way that is empowered and conscious.  

Buddhist teacher, poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh is one of those featured. Looking at a range of situations across the world, the film shows just how much forgiveness works.  And in the process of learning about forgiveness, much is revealed about ourselves and the world we live in.   

It follows children being taught in schools how to forgive, and world leaders taking the monumental step of asking for forgiveness. It’s quite illuminating and hopeful to realize that there is a political and consciousness movement stirring in the world that is centered around the compassionate understanding of wounds — and the courageous actions to heal them. You might be surprised to find out which world leaders have played a pivotal role in the forgiveness movement.  

There are mothers of 9.11 victims in this film who are struggling mightily with the knowledge that they must let go of some part of their hurt, while still retaining the memory, the love and the presence of their children. The question for them is: How do I honor their memories without causing harm to myself and others?  

At the end of the film, seeing how difficult and triumphant the act of forgiveness can be, you’re likely to walk away thinking, if they can do that, I can do that.  I can forgive.

The Power of Forgiveness includes stories and interviews with people from many faith traditions: Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel on forgiveness in the Jewish faith; Azim Khamisa on forgiveness and Islam; Rev. James Forbes, pastor emeritus of Riverside Church in New York, on forgiveness from a Christian perspective. And best-selling author Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul) speaks on forgiveness from a spiritual dimension.

*Sunday, September 11, 2011

10:00am  9.11 Remembrance and Blessing    *

Lama Surya Das, Sylvia Boorstein, Ruth King

Actively blessing somebody lifts up one’s own mind and spirit. As a way of remembering the victims of 9.11, we lift our eyes and awaken our attention, offering blessings to each other and the world as part of our morning program.

Lama Surya Das, Sylvia Boorstein and Ruth King lead in a simple but powerful ceremony that focuses on the joy of giving and receiving blessings.

We will also remember those who perished on 9.11 with the ringing of a bell.

Steve Zappalla, a survivor of the Pentagon attack, shares his remarkable story publicly for the first time. He describes how the 9.11 tragedy began a chain of events in his life that led him to a spiritual practice of mindfulness based on Buddhist principles — and to a place of personal transformation and inner peace.

We open our hearts and calm our minds with a loving/kindness meditation.

Eian Burgess will provide musical accompaniment for the morning.

11:30am  Lunch Break

*12:30pm–2:30pm  How to Bring More Peace and Forgiveness Into Your Life                                 

12:30pm  A Path Towards Peace*

Hugh Byrne

The Buddha teaches that mindfulness is the path to enlightenment—and true peace. When faced with life’s challenges, mindfulness helps us answer the very practical question: “What works?” Through meditation, we begin to steady and calm our minds, and open ourselves to our natural wisdom and compassion. This allows us to more easily make choices and take actions that lead to greater peace in our lives—and in the world around us.

*1:00pm  Jonathan Foust leads a guided practice in mindful movement and breathing that aids in slowing down and being more present.

1:15pm  The Transformative Power of Forgiveness*

Tara Brach

While hatred and blame arise naturally when we’ve been threatened or hurt, if we are unable to process and release these reactions, they become a prison for our heart. On a global level, holding on to blame keeps our earth spinning in the throes of human violence. Tara Brach’s talk explores how we can cultivate a forgiving heart — for our own freedom, and for the healing of the world.

*2:30pm  Break

3:00pm Film: *_*Buck  *_

Winner — Audience Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival

88 min. Directed by Cindy Meehi

We can talk a lot about kindness. We can talk about awareness and non-violence.  We can grasp those ideas with our minds.  Or we can see it with our hearts, illustrated for us in the astounding relationships between a man and the horses he trains.   _

Buck_ shows us where the heart is.  we’re all familiar with the battle for control between the ego-mind and that “other” place of awareness that is not only programmed for survival.  In many ways, Buck, a poignant story of a horse trainer and “horse-whisperer,” is about the conflict within each of us.  

How do we get that bucking bronco inside us to collaborate instead of working against us?  How do we arrive at a place where the two sides feel safe, and are willing co-creators?  

“Your horse is a mirror to your soul, and sometimes you may not like what you see.  Sometimes, you will.”  So says Buck Brannaman, a true American cowboy and sage on horseback who travels the country nine grueling months a year helping “horses with people problems.”  Buck, a richly textured and stunning film, follows horse trainer Buck Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses.   

Buck, the inspiration for the well-known feature film by Robert Redford, renounces the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to communicate with their horses through leadership, sensitivity and compassion instead of punishment.  

Buck possesses near-magical abilities as he dramatically transforms horses — and people — with his understanding. In this film, the animal-human relationship becomes a metaphor for facing the daily challenges of life. A truly American story about an unsung hero, Buck is an ordinary man who has made an extraordinary life despite tremendous odds.

*4:30pm  What Can We Do Today?  *

Lama Surya Das, Sylvia Boorstein, Ruth King

We reflect on what the Dalai Lama said during those difficult hours of 9.11.2001 — “Today the human soul asks the question: What can I do to preserve the beauty and the wonder of our world and to eliminate the anger and hatred — and the disparity that inevitably causes it — in that part of the world which I touch? … What can you do TODAY … this very moment?”

What can each of us do, beginning right now, to make our part of this world a better place?

*5:30pm–6:00pm  Book signing with Sylvia Boorstein, Lama Surya Das and Ruth King

5:30pm–7:30pm  Dinner Break*

7:30pm  An Evening of Peace & Devotion: Mirabai Ceiba in Concert                

The weekend comes to a close with a musical celebration — a heart-opening evening of kirtan music and chanting. With deep, rich journeys into a sound that is lush, earthy and other-worldly, you will travel the world through the music of Mirabai Ceiba. Accompanied by Angelika’s harp and Markus’s guitar, their incredible vocals, sung in Spanish and English, include newly arranged chants from various traditions.

The husband-and-wife duo are from different parts of the world. Together they have forged an engaging new style of world devotional music, blending Gurmukhi mantras from the Kundalini Yoga tradition with original songs that reflect a Native American influence. Many of their songs draw words of wisdom from Rumi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Guru Nanak and Yogi Bhajan.

Mirabai Ceiba’s 2010 album, A Hundred Blessings, was named one of the best of the year by LA Yoga magazine.

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