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Spiritual Storytelling for Creating Community

Online Program
Dates: Mar 26, 2023

Instructor(s): Sumi Loundon Kim

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Program Description:

Research shows that our nervous system is soothed when we belong to a group of caring people. Environmental scientist and Zen teacher Kritee Kanko writes that we must form small spiritual communities, islands of sanity and resilience, to meet the climate crisis of our time. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh says that "The next Buddha will be a Sangha," a spiritual community. It is time to pay attention to the Third Jewel! What practices, therefore, can we undertake to create true bonds of friendship and belonging?

Thisprogram centers on spiritual storytelling as a means of fostering intimacy, authenticity, empathy, and caring. Participants will be invited to immerse themselves in silent reflection through a guided meditation, allow a memory to arise, and then write (using pen and paper) a personal narrative about a moment or event that asks for our attention. Stories will be read in small groups, with guidance on mindful listening and holding space. Reconvening as a large group, we will reflect on the insights that arise from writing our own story, the experience of listening to others' stories, and how such sharing can further the building of community.

Listen to Sumi's invitation on our YouTube channel.

    About the Instructor(s):
  • Sumi Loundon Kim (she, her) is the Buddhist chaplain at Yale University, previously serving in the same role at Duke University for eight years. She is the founder of and was the primary teacher for the Mindful Families of Durham, NC. After receiving a bachelor’s in fine arts from Williams College and master’s in Buddhist studies and Sanskrit from the Harvard Divinity School, she was the associate director for the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Massachusetts. Originally brought up in a Soto Zen community in the 70s, Sumi has been a student of the Theravada (insight) tradition since her teens. She is the author of several books: Blue Jean Buddha (2001); The Buddha’s Apprentices (2005); Sitting Together: A Family-Centered Curriculum on Mindfulness, Meditation, and Buddhism (2017); and Goodnight Love: A Bedtime Meditation Story (2023). She lives in southern Connecticut with her husband, two teens, and dog Bodhi.