This weekend was held in 2011 to observe the 10th anniversary of 9.11


A Weekend of Peace, Compassion & Forgiveness

Sept. 10 & 11, 2011

Today the human soul asks the question: What can I do to preserve the beauty and the wonder of our world and to eliminate the anger and hatred—and the disparity that inevitably causes it—in that part of the world which I touch? Please seek to answer that question today, with all the maginificence that is You. What can you do TODAY... this very moment?

  - The Dalai Lama of Tibet, from remarks made on 9.11.2001

Saturday, September 10, 2011

10 am  Creating Sacred Space  

Lama Surya Das, Sylvia Boorstein, Ruth King 

An opening of the heart through prayer, meditation, music and chants. 

Teachers explore the spiritual dimensions of how our lives were affected by the events of 9.11.2001. They show us how reacting with fear brings so much suffering to our lives, while responding with love brings us refuge and strength.

Sylvia Boorstein begins a weekend-long series of loving-kindness meditations to help us cultivate a deep sense of caring for ourselves and for all of creation.

Mirabai Ceiba provides musical accompaniment for the morning.


11:30 am  Lunch Break


1pm  The Enduring Refuge: Our Own Benevolent Heart                 

Sylvia Boorstein, Ruth King

Sylvia Boorstein — Experience How Mindfulness Cultivates Equanimity, Wisdom and Compassion

Buddhism teaches that the possibility of the mind and heart to remain clear and cordial is not contingent on events.  The Buddha’s Third Noble Truth, “Peace is Possible,” assures us that in spite of the inevitable challenges that life presents, our own heart-mind can remain grounded in wisdom, and inclined towards benevolence.  What is required of us is intention, diligence and practice.

Ruth King — Holding On, Letting Go: Freeing Heart & Mind

Our impulse to retaliate when our hearts are broken is a natural human experience—however these impulses are worthy of compassionate investigation. In this interactive exchange, we examine the grip of the judging mind and its tendency to create an “us” and “them.” We will also explore together how to let go, forgive, and embrace the sorrows and joys of the world with an open heart.


3:30 pm  Break

 4 pm  Disarming the Angry Heart: Catch Yourself Before Things Catch You  

Lama Surya Das 

Lama Surya Das speaks to us on the enlightened quality of patience—the ability to stay positive in the face of adversity. By cultivating tolerance, forbearance and acceptance—including mindful anger management—we develop strength of mind and heart.  This enables us to respond to the challenges of life with clarity, composure and serenity, rather than anger and aggression.


5:30 - 6 pm  Book Signing with Sylvia Boorstein, Lama Surya Das and Ruth King

5:30 - 7 pm  Dinner Break


7 - 9:30 pm  Saturday Evening Special Presentation  


  7 pm  Getting Personal: Sharing Some Lessons We've Learned Along Our Paths

Sylvia Boorstein & Lama Surya Das

Two of the country's most respected and influential Buddhist teachers offer insights into their decades of practice and teaching, and reveal some of the important lessons that have led to their own personal transformation. This promises to be a fascinating discussion for both experienced and new seekers. The two teachers and authors discuss what they have learned about taking painful and difficult experiences from their own lives and turning them into opportunities for gaining greater wisdom and compassion.



WINNER - Best Documentary at 2007 Sun Valley Film Festival

Watch a clip here

78 min.   Directed by Martin Doblmeier

This insightful and eye-opening film points to the centrality of forgiveness as a virtue in many of the world’s great religions, and to the struggle that people of all faiths have in honoring it. It explores how an emerging understanding of clinical and academic research shows that forgiveness is validated as having real potential for personal and spiritual transformation.

The film combines character-driven stories of dramatic transgressions with those of more commonplace annoyances, examining the role that forgiveness can play in alleviating the resulting anger and grief. It also looks at the physical, mental and spiritual benefits that come with forgiveness. These stories assure us that there is hope if we are open to seeking it and accepting it.

THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS includes stories and interviews with people from many faith traditions: Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel on forgiveness in the Jewish faith; Azim Khamisa on forgiveness and Islam; Rev. James Forbes, pastor emeritus of Riverside Church in New York, on forgiveness from a Christian perspective. And best-selling author Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul) speaks on forgiveness from a spiritual dimension.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 am  9.11 Remembrance and Blessing   

Lama Surya Das, Sylvia Boorstein, Ruth King

Actively blessing somebody lifts up one’s own mind and spirit.  As a way of remembering the victims of 9.11, we lift our eyes and awaken our attention, offering blessings to each other and the world as part of our morning program. Lama Surya Das, Sylvia Boorstein and Ruth King lead us in a simple but powerful ceremony that focuses on the joy of giving and receiving blessings.

We will also remember those who perished on 9.11 with the ringing of a bell.

Teachers talk to us about the healing power of compassion.

Steve Zappalla, a survivor of the Pentagon attack, shares his remarkable story publicly for the first time. 

Steve was one of only a handful of people who were in the area of impact who survived the crash of American Airlines 77 into the Pentagon's Corridors Four and Five. The impact knocked Steve to the floor, a fall that saved his life, as most of his colleagues perished in the crash or the secondary jet fuel explosion. He describes that experience, and reveals how that day's tragedy began a chain of events in his life that led him to a spiritual practice of mindfulness based on Buddhist principles—and to a place of personal transformation and inner peace.

We open our hearts and calm our minds with a loving-kindness meditation.

Eian Burgess will provide musical accompaniment for the morning.


12 noon  Lunch Break


1:00-2:30 pm  How to Bring More Peace and Forgiveness Into Your Life                                  

 1:00 pm  A Path Towards Peace

Hugh Byrne

The Buddha teaches that mindfulness is the path to enlightenment—and true peace. When faced with life's challenges, mindfulness helps us answer the very practical question: "What works?" Through meditation, we begin to steady and calm our minds, and open ourselves to our natural wisdom and compassion. This allows us to more easily make choices and take actions that lead to greater peace in our lives—and in the world around us.

  1:30 pm  Jonathan Foust leads a guided practice in mindful movement and breathing that will support us in slowing down and being more present.

   1:45 pm  The Transformative Power of Forgiveness

Tara Brach

While hatred and blame arise naturally when we've been threatened or hurt, if we are unable to process and release these reactions, they become a prison for our heart. On a global level, holding on to blame keeps our earth spinning in the throes of human violence. Tara Brach's talk explores how we can cultivate a forgiving heart—for our own freedom, and for the healing of our world.


2:30 pm  Break


3 pm Film: BUCK   

WINNER — Audience Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival

Watch trailer here

88 min. Directed by Cindy Meehi

BuddhaFest is thrilled to present this film as part of the 9.11 program.  Currently in release around the country, BUCK recently completed its run in the DC area.  We’re bringing it back because we feel it says so much about compassion, forgiveness and healing. 

We love it when films articulate powerful dharmic lessons in ways that are everyday and common. This cowboy tale of horse wrangling is as far from a Buddhist ashram as you can get, but as close to the heart of the dharma as you want to be.  Beautiful and moving, this film is gathering a strong fan base everywhere it plays.  We’re happy that Sundance has agreed to let us screen it on this special day.

This visually textured and stunning film follows horse trainer Buck Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses.  A real-life “horse-whisperer,” and the subject of the well-known feature film by Robert Redford, Brannaman renounces the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to communicate with their horses through leadership, sensitivity and compassion, instead of punishment. 

Buck possesses near magical abilities as he dramatically transforms horses—and people—with his understanding.  In this film, the animal-human relationship becomes a metaphor for facing the daily challenges of life.  A truly American story about an unsung hero, Buck is an ordinary man who has made an extraordinary life despite tremendous odds.


4:30 pm  What Can We Do Today?  

 Lama Surya Das, Sylvia Boorstein, Ruth King

We reflect on what the Dalai Lama said during those difficult hours of 9.11.2001—"Today the human soul asks the question: What can I do to preserve the beauty and the wonder of our world and to eliminate the anger and hatred—and the disparity that inevitably causes it—in that part of the world which I touch?... What can you do TODAY...this very moment?"

What can each of us do, beginning right now, to make our part of this world a better place?


5:30 - 6 pm  Book signing with Sylvia Boorstein, Lama Surya Das and Ruth King

5:30 -7:30 pm  Dinner Break


7:30 pm  An Evening of Peace & Devotion: Mirabai Ceiba in Concert              

The weekend comes to a close with a musical celebration -- a heart-opening evening of kirtan music and chanting. With deep, rich journeys into a sound that is lush, earthy and other-worldly, you will travel the world through the music of Mirabai Ceiba. Accompanied by Angelika's harp and Markus's guitar, their incredible vocals, sung in Spanish and English, include newly arranged chants from various traditions. Listen

The husband and wife duo are from different parts of the world.  Together they have forged an engaging new style of world devotional music, blending Gurmukhi mantras from the Kundalini Yoga tradition with original songs that reflect a Native American influence. Many of their songs draw words of wisdom from Rumi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Guru Nanak and Yogi Bhajan.

Join us for a musical celebration of peace on this significant day.

Mirabai Ceiba's 2010 album "A Hundred Blessings" was named one of the best of the year by LA Yoga magazine.

"Their music comes from a pure space of love and devotion. It is soothing, peaceful, and very meditative."

                              - Deva Premal

"Mirabai Ceiba, with this album and with their music, give themselves without hesitation to the spirit within us all. In this way of passionate giving, they take us into this divine realm of spirit that we all long for."

                              - Snatum Kaur