Listen: Trash, a cynic, Vietnamese immigrants and the Buddha

Photo by Tom Levy

Nov. 6, 2014–Living in a multi-cultural city yields all sorts of surprises. On a corner in Oakland just east of Lake Merritt, a small Buddha has helped bring neighbors together. I didn’t know what to think the first time I saw the makeshift Vietnamese shrine. At the time, a few potted plants and flowers brightened up the corner. A piece of scrap metal protected the statue’s head. I had just moved to the … [Listen Now...]

Listen: Learning from the dying at the Zen Hospice Project

ZenXHospice

Nov. 6, 2014–Tracy Grubbs grew up fascinated, curious and also afraid of death. Her curiosity, plus her interest in Buddhism led her to volunteer at the Zen Hospice Project, a San Francisco center for the dying supported by the Buddhist community. Grubbs spoke with her colleague Lisa Messano. When I heard there was something like the Zen Hospice Project and they would train you to be with people who were dying, I was … [Listen Now...]

Listen: A good attitude until the end

Frank Hatch

October 7, 2014–Frank Hatch lived with HIV for more than 20 years, only to be diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer in 2010. For comfort and guidance, he turned to his Buddhism practice. And then, with encouragement from his nephew Jason Friend, he decided to do something he never thought he could: a 16-day rafting trip in the Grand Canyon. The two discuss Frank's determination to live life to the … [Listen Now...]

Listen: Native American sweats out trauma of the past

Samuel Martinez

September 10, 2014–It’s intense in a sweat lodge. You enter a round structure, about five feet high at the center, and sit down on an earthen floor. The flap of heavy blankets closes and you’re left in utter darkness. Moments later, the leader pours water over hot, volcanic rocks. Like a sauna, thick steam rises and spreads. For some people, the experience can be terrifying, at least at first. For others, it’s a … [Listen Now...]

Listen: How to open the voice, with Silvia Nakkach

silvia @harmonium.CROPPED

  August 8, 2014–The human voice is a demanding instrument. Handling it requires precision and skill. But for composer and musician Silvia Nakkach, it’s more than a tool to make pretty sounds. She sees it as a gateway to spiritual growth. Nakkach’s musical philosophies are influenced by both Western and Eastern traditions. She was born in Argentina and attended Mills College before meeting the person who would … [Listen Now...]