Last week David Kaczynski, Lama Kathy Wesley, Lama Tsultrim Yeshe and Dr. James L. Knoll, a forensic psychiatrist and Buddhist, spoke to the community of Newtown, Ct. in a program called ” Violence, Loss and Emotional Healing: A Buddhist Perspective.” Newtown, Ct., lost 20 small children and 6 adults in a school shooting Dec. 14, 2012, and is really hurting. The talk was sponsored by a group called Sandy Hook Promise, which was formed in response to the tragedy there.
We had no idea how many people would come but there were 165 people in the synagogue — packed to overflowing. People were standing up along the back wall and sitting in chairs beside the pews. Everyone was very quiet during the presentations — one by each person — and very engaged during the Q and A period that followed. Afterward, people came up to say that the program had been personally helpful to them. So we had a feeling it had gone well, and were grateful that we could be of some assistance.
But I asked Scott Wolfman, who knows David and helped organize the event, how it was received by those who attended. What he wrote was so moving that I want to share it with you.
“I knew the four panelists offering the Buddhist perspective — on anger, pain, love, compassion, suffering — were going to be powerful, but the event in Newtown exceeded my expectations. David Kaczynski is a master storyteller, and through his own personal struggle, beautifully illustrates the complex dynamics at work when people grieve and lose loved ones, and the power of forgiveness and compassion to set healing into motion. Lama Kathy, Lama Yeshe and James Knoll were all wonderful too. Each of the four presenters came into our community bearing the gifts of mindfulness, love, compassion and gratitude.
Many of my friends and community members had commented to me after that this program is exactly what Newtown needs to heal. In thinking of the idea that it’s better to light one candle then to curse the dark, many of us feel that this program has helped us to illuminate our own candle, so that we may move throughout our community and allow the light to become even brighter.”
I thought you would want to know about this important way that KTD reached out to help a community in need.
We also invited the community to come for the June 14-16 teaching by Lama Tsultrim Yeshe and Dr. James L. Knoll, “Mindfulness: A Path to Mental Health and Recovery from Trauma,” so I expect we will have more opportunity to serve.
May all beings benefit.