Posted in administrators, BUddhism, Business, campus unrest, cause and effect, Christianity, discrimination, diversity, education, enlightenment, Ethics, fears, happiness, hate speech, human race, love, meditation, Mindfulness, oppression, planet earth, prayer, protesters, psychology, religion, self-help, sickness, suffering, training, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged Buddhism, Christianity, creativity, culture, faith, feelings, focus, friends, health, Health and Wellness Fair, humanity, inspiration, Islam, Kaplan University, learning, Lynn University, nature, politics, prayer, questions, rage, relationships, religion, school, Serve-A-Thon, sharing, spirit, stress management, students, The Virtual Difference Makers, thoughts, training, Truth, violence on February 19, 2017|
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For anything new to emerge there must first be a dream, an imaginative view of what might be. For something great to happen, there must be a great dream. Then venturesome persons with faith in that dream will persevere to bring it to reality.
Some ideas whose time has come will spread as in a forest fire. But most need the help of a teacher. I had the good fortune to have an extraordinary one. He dreamed a great dream of how servanthood could be nurtured in the young, and he spent his best years in bringing it to pass (page 9-10).
Where I work at Kaplan University they encourage not only the students to volunteer and make a difference in their communities but they encourage all faculty to do so as well through The Virtual Difference Makers. Here is a list of some of the things they did in 2016: ran a Spring Virtual Serve-A-Thon, hosted a Stress Management Series, a Virtual Celebration of Rio, sponsored their first annual Health and Wellness Fair, held a Fall Serve-A-Thon and more!.
I have been invited to Lynn University to participate in an interfaith dialog and will be back there again in April for another interfaith dialog. The hall was jammed with students! Standing room only! They asked wonderful questions of the panel.
These were the words on the Flyer for the event: Healing the Divide: Interfaith Dialogue.
In a world where religion so often is the cause of hate and intolerance, we stand together at Lynn to create a world where our religious differences are not simply tolerated but celebrated. This event is precisely that; where religious leaders from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Atheist traditions will come together in celebration of our diverse faith traditions. Come and be amazed!
Imagine the great education the students are receiving at both Kaplan and Lynn and many other colleges around our country when their faculty and administration support such events.
If you are able to create similar events on your campuses I encourage you to do so. Create a Virtual Difference Makers club for students and faculty, run interfaith dialogues, offer training for faculty on meditation and mindfulness. Be the change you want to see in our world! Be the catalyst for peace, love, and kindness spreading around your campus and beyond! The time has come to spread the message of servant leadership at all levels. Change has always come from the bottom up not from the top down! Be the change you want to see in the world!
Good luck with that! Let me know how it goes!
 Greenleaf, R.K. (1987) Teacher as Servant: A Parable. The Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership: Indianapolis, IN
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Posted in birth, BUddhism, cause and effect, diversity, education, Ethics, fears, happiness, hate speech, human race, love, oppression, prayer, religion, self-help, suffering, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged adults, art, Arthur Zajonc, Buddhism, children, Christianity, creativity, education, environment, feelings, focus, friends, fun, group exercises, humanity, inspiration, learning, life, Megan Scribner, Parker J. Palmer, questions, relationships, religion, school, science, sharing, students, The Heart of Higher A Call to Renewal, thoughts on February 10, 2017|
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In the book The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal the authors write about this idea of connectedness or lack thereof in our lives, schools, and communities.
Many of us bear the wound of invisibility, believing, not without reason, that no matter how hard or how well we work, no one really sees us. When we invite each other to tell our stories, we have a chance to create community in the simple act of saying “I see you.”
Storytelling can create community at an even deeper level: the more one knows about another person’s story, the less one is able to dislike or distrust, let alone despise, that person. This is a good thing in and of itself, but it serves a larger purpose as well by helping us weave a more resourceful and resilient collegiality. At some point down the road, when we need to solve a problem or deal with a difficult conflict, we are more likely to have woven the fabric of relationships required to do it well (page 139).
As teachers we can offer this opportunity to our students to come out from the shadows, to be really seen and heard with some simple exercises in our classes. By dividing your class in to groups you can help them get to know each other better and become more familiar with the way they may live, their hobbies, their family vacations, favorite books, sports, or movies. They might share stories about their religious and spiritual beliefs. Depending on the age of the groups the topics should be appropriate for them.
After they have shared in the small groups you can invite them to share with the entire class by sharing some of the topics that came up. They might even want to have a member share their story with the entire class. This exercise helps the participants learn to be connected with each other in a personal and emotional way. The students become not just someone they see in class but a real person with feelings and likes and dislikes.
We live a world that is so disconnected any time we are given the opportunity to share in this way as children or adults it opens our hearts and minds to others and we often find that we are more alike than different! We all have a favorite food and a food we hate! I sometimes start the first day in class by getting everyone to share the food they love to hate the most! Then we can divide the class up for group exercises in okra, broccoli, and cabbage haters. This gives them just another way to be connected!
Even though as a Buddhist I am not supposed to pick and choose I’m still NOT going to choose okra! I don’t mind being in the okra haters group! You’re welcome to join me! See you there…
In gassho, Shokai
 Palmer, Parker J.; Zajonc, Arthur; Scribner, Megan; Mark Nepo (2010-06-17). The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal (Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education) (p. 139). Jossey-Bass. Kindle Edition
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Posted in BUddhism, diversity, education, Ethics, love, meditation, oppression, religion, self-help, suffering, training, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged Dr. Karika Rao, Dr. Mark Luttio, Fr. Martin Devereaux, interfaith, Ken Loukinen, Lynn University, Rabbi Barry Silver, Rabbi Mark Winer, Rev. renwick Bell, Rev. Warren Witter, Shaikh Shafayat Mohammed on December 3, 2016|
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Religious experts came together for “Healing the Divide: Interfaith Dialogue” on Nov. 16, 2016 at Lynn University. Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and atheist beliefs were discussed during an open question and answer forum guided by Dr. Mark Luttio, associate professor of religion at Lynn University.
“In a world increasingly marked by division, it benefits us to promote unity and understanding,” said Luttio. “Lynn is committed to promoting an environment where religious differences are not simply tolerated but celebrated.”
Over 150 guests gathered in the university’s Snyder Sanctuary, a space designed for people of all faiths and belief systems to visit for contemplative thought, spiritual exploration, meditation, music and celebration. Speakers included:
- Rabbi Barry Silver (Reform Judaism)
- Rabbi Mark Winer (Reform Judaism)
- Warren Witter (Evangelical Christian)
- Shaikh Shafayat Mohammed (Muslim imam)
- Renwick Bell (Mainline Protestant)
- Ken Loukinen (President of Florida Atheists)
- Martin Devereaux (Roman Catholic)
- Harika Rao (Hinduism)
- Kathleen Shokai Bishop (Zen Buddhist)
Silver expressed that all religions have unique theories. For example, Judaism has developed over time and revolves around the idea that there are no particular privileges to being Jewish, only specific responsibilities.
Dr. Kathleen Shokai Bishop brought light to Buddhist principles of inclusivity, peace, love and compassion—qualities that all speakers agreed are important in serving others regardless of their beliefs.
“What students experienced here was true dialogue,” added Luttio. “What I wanted them to take from this event was sense of hope in making a change in the world since we have the ability to hold valuable conversations as we leave our differences behind.”
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Posted in BUddhism, cause and effect, Christianity, discrimination, diversity, fears, happiness, hate speech, human race, love, oppression, prayer, self-help, sickness, suffering, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged Buddha, Buddhism, Buddhist vows, disciple of Buddha, Emerson, feelings, fun, good and evil, hindering, hurting, inspiration, learning, life, Ralph Waldo Emerson, relationships, sharing, the power of good and evil, The Three Pure Precepts, Truth, Zen Buddhism on November 5, 2016|
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Emerson: The meaning of good and bad, of better and worse, is simply helping or hurting (page 32).
Zen Buddhism: The Three Pure Precepts
A Disciple of the Buddha vows to not create evil.
A disciple of the Buddha vows to practice good
A disciple of the Buddha vows to actualize good for others.
As you can see in life there is always a way to distinguish between bad words and good words. Simply focus on how the words made you feel and how they made others feel. If your actions are helping someone and not hurting or hindering them then they are “good.” If your words are uplifting, reassuring, and kind then they are “good” Thus those words and actions do not create evil.
It probably took some time in your life to be able to identify what actions were “good” and which ones were “bad.” I suppose when we were very little and we had a temper tantrum and mom or dad sent us to our room after a while we came to the conclusion that having that temper tantrum was not a “good” idea, but a “bad” idea.
Conversely when we helped pick up the toys or shared our snack with someone we got praised by mom and dad and maybe even got another helping of ice cream. Thus we came to the conclusion that sharing was a “good” idea.
It is too bad that as adults we have often forgotten those simple lessons from our childhood and have fallen into the trap of “bad” behavior at times such as belittling, bullying, cheating, or even stealing from someone. We literally have forgotten the meaning of the words good and bad. We have forgotten the power that those words can hold either good or bad.
The power in the “good” words are that they heal, help, uplift, and can improve self-confidence in a person when you use them. I have a little handout in my management classes that I share with the participants and on the paper it says, “I caught you doing something right.” They are required to give out 2 or 3 of them during the training writing some specific thing they caught the person doing. It can be something as simple as sharing their lunch with someone. You can actually see the person’s face light up when they get a card, sometimes you can even hear a thank you or a squeal or a laugh.
Remember the disciple of the Buddha vows to practice good and actualize good for others! What a wonderful world this would be if we all practiced that simple idea throughout the day every day!
Let’s try it this week. Let me know how many “I caught you doing something right” cards you gave out and what the responses were. I bet I will hear the squeals of joy all the way in Delray!
In gassho, Shokai
 Floris, O. Inspiration & Wisdom from the pen of Ralph Waldo Emerson. www.odeliafloris.com
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