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In Memoriam

In Memoriam - Bernie Glassman

Roshi Tetsugen Bernie Glassman was an influential Zen teacher, an activist, and the co-founder of the Zen Peacemakers, a global organization integrating Zen practice and social action.  The organization, which he founded in 1980 with his late wife, Roshi Sandra Jishu Holmes, had been called the Zen Community of New York until 1996. The Zen Peacemakers is perhaps best known for leading “Bearing Witness” meditation retreats, which take practitioners to the sites of terrible tragedies such as Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Glassman, who was born in Brooklyn, started studying Zen in 1967 with Taizan Maezumi Roshi, who named him as his successor upon his death. Glassman went on to transmit the dharma to a number of well-known teachers, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Pat Enkyo O’Hara Roshi, and Peter Muryo Roshi Matthiessen.

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In Memoriam - Namkhai Norbu

Namkhai Norbu
December 8, 1938 – Sept 28, 2018

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In Memoriam - Baba Hari Dass

Baba Hari Dass
March 26, 1923 – Sept 25, 2018

Baba Hari Dass was a yoga master, a silent monk, and a commentator in the Indian scriptural tradition. Upon his arrival in the US in the early 1971, he and his teachings inspired the creation of several yoga centers and retreat programs in California and in Canada, including Dharma Sara Satsang Society on Salt Spring Island.

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In Memoriam - Aretha Franklin

For decades Aretha Franklin has been celebrated as one of the greatest American singers of any genre, who helped give birth to soul and redefined the American musical tradition. In 1987, Aretha Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She held the record for the most songs on the Billboard Top 100 for 40 years. Rolling Stone ranked her the greatest singer of all time on its top 100 list, calling her “a gift from God.”

Aretha recorded “Respect” on Valentine’s Day, 1967. It soon became the soundtrack of the civil rights movement. A year later she would sing at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. The Reverend Jesse Jackson said Aretha anonymously helped fund the civil rights movement for decades. He said, “When Dr. King was alive, several times she helped us make payroll. … Aretha has always been a very socially conscious artist, an inspiration, not just an entertainer.”

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In Memoriam - Marion Woodman

Marion Woodman was a Canadian mythopoetic author, poet, analytical psychologist, and leader of the women’s movement.  She was born in London, Ontario, and taught high school English for more than twenty years. Suffering from anorexia, she took a sabbatical and traveled to India and England, finally ending up at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich where she trained to be an analyst.

Marion Woodman spent decades shaking up the psychoanalytic world with her contentious call to heed the impulses of the soul locked within the body.  She became one of the biggest names in human potential circles, and her books have sold more than 320,000 copies. To many Woodman is best known for her videotaped workshop with Robert Bly, the pioneer of the men’s movement. Called Bly & Woodman: On Men & Women, the series has been hailed for spanning the chasm between the sexes.

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In Memoriam - Michael Harner

Michael Harner was an anthropologist, educator and author. He is well-known for his 1980 book, The Way of the Shaman: A Guide to Power and Healing, which has been foundational in the development and popularization of Core Shamanism (as opposed to traditional Indigenous Shamanism) as a path of personal development.

After doing field research in the Ecuadorian Amazon, in 1960-61 he experimented with the Amazonian plant medicine, ayahuasca, and then with monotonous drumming.  In the early 1970s he started giving workshops to small groups in Connecticut, and in 1979 he founded the Center for Shamanic Studies in Norwalk, CT.  He eventually left academia in 1987 to devote himself full-time to this work.

While Shuar and Shipibo shamans told him that the only way to access the “really real” was to take psychedelic substances, Harner and his foundation knew and taught shamanic methods of drumming, visualisation and other non-psychedelic techniques.

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In Memoriam - Michael Stone

Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Michael Stone, beloved local Buddhist teacher, yogi, author and social activist. Rest in Peace Michael. You will live in our hearts forever.

Michael Stone
1975 – July 16, 2017

Michael Stone, 42, was an activist, family man, and teacher of yoga and Buddhism. Based in western British Columbia, Stone uniquely brought his passions and training together at retreats, workshops, and sanghas—including Gravity, the Toronto sangha he founded in 2003; and True North Insight Vipassana in Ottawa, where he had served as Guiding Teacher—plus online and via his writing.

After spending nearly “a year alone in the wilderness learning about meditation practice”

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Frederick Leboyer

Frédérick Leboyer
November 1, 1918 – May 25, 2017

Frédérick Leboyer, a French physician whose natural birth methods were adopted in delivery rooms around the world, died on May 25 at his home in Vens, Switzerland.

In his seminal work, Birth Without Violence, Mr. Leboyer argued that the modern delivery room bowed to the needs of doctors, women and procedures while often overlooking those of a primary player in the birth: the baby.

Mr. Leboyer argued that babies feel pain, anxiety and suffering, and that the manner in which they come into the world shapes the adults they will become.  Thus in the Leboyer method, the delivery room is kept quiet and dimly lit, to spare the baby from sensory overload. The newborn is not held upside down and spanked, and is not whisked away to be examined directly after birth.

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In Memoriam - Robert M. Pirsig

Robert M. Pirsig
September 6, 1928 – April 14, 2017

Robert M. Pirsig was an American writer and philosopher who inspired generations to road trip across America with his “novelistic autobigraphy,” Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

He wrote just two books: Zen (subtitled An Inquiry Into Values) and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals. Zen was published in 1974 after being rejected by 121 publishing houses. “The book is brilliant beyond belief,” wrote Morrow editor James Landis before publication. “It is probably a work of genius and will, I’ll wager, attain classic status.”

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In Memoriam - Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese
October 14, 1955 - March 10, 2017

Richard Wagamese was a celebrated Canadian novelist and former journalist who was Ojibwe of the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario.

His 2012 novel Indian Horse won the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit, and in 2015 he was the recipient of the Matt Cohen Award from the Writers’ Trust of Canada for his lifetime of work.

Wagamese also wrote for the TV show North of 60. Prior to becoming a novelist he was a journalist with the Calgary Herald, with his articles often appearing in the Vancouver Sun and other Southam publications of that era.

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