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Wendy Shinyo Haylett, a Buddhist teacher, lay minister, mindfulness coach, and behavioral analyst shares the "tips and tricks" found in Buddhist teachings to make your professional and personal life better ... everyday!

Mar 13, 2024

Join me for a delightful conversation with Steve Kanji Ruhl about his book, Appalachian Zen: Journeys in Search of True Home, from the American Heartland to the Buddha Dharma, the 2023 Gold Prize winner for Memoir in the Nautilus Book Awards.

Steve Kanji is a Zen Buddhist minister ordained in the Zen Peacemaker Order, now teaching independently and instructing Zen students through his Touch the Earth cyber-sangha. Reverend Kanji received his Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University and is a Buddhist chaplain at Deerfield Academy, a Buddhist Adviser at Yale University, and faculty member of the Shogaku Zen Institute.

Kanji has been a guest speaker or workshop facilitator at Harvard’s Center for World Religions, Yale Divinity School, the International Conference on Socially Engaged Buddhism, the Omega Institute, and elsewhere.

In addition to Appalachian Zen, he is the author of Enlightened Contemporaries: Francis, Dogen & Rumi—Three Great Mystics of the Thirteenth Century and Why They Matter Today and has recently finished writing a new book about his personal experience of spirituality and wellness called The Whole Earth is Medicine: Science, Zen, and Healing Body and Mind in a Journey through Cancer. He has also published two volumes of poems, The Constant Yes of Things and Paintings of Rice Cakes Satisfy Hunger.

In his book, Appalachian Zen, Kanji takes us on a 30-year journey through his search to find his "true home" in lilting and lyrical prose and poems that move the story from Appalachia through academia—constantly asking: What is home? What is this? What is life? Death? What is real? … The questions Buddhism never answer but continue to ask.

In our conversation we talked about, among other things:

-Childhood memories

-The search for self and the search for losing the self

-Being a foolish being and Shin Buddhism

-The contrast between Western and Eastern philosophical and spiritual worldviews

-Mystical Christianity and the similarity to the direct experience of the sacred in Buddhism

-Buddhist lay ministers as compared to Buddhist monastics, priest, and the "guru model"

-Kanji's teaching of "Be Clear, Be Kind, Be Present"

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