Lama Losang, a fully ordained monk, is Resident Teacher at the Gainesville, Florida Karma Thegsum Choling; he also holds a Ph.D. in psychology, and is a licensed Doctor of Acupuncture.
Bill Alexander is the author of Ordinary Recovery and several other books looking at the process of addiction recovery from a spiritual point of view; a self-described free-lance storyteller, Alexander is an Episcopalian with a Buddhist spiritual practice who leads sobriety workshops in extremely diverse venues across the US.
The weekend will be a dialogue between three traditions—Buddhism, Christianity, and the 12 Step recovery tradition– with distinct but mutually clarifying viewpoints on how human beings can free ourselves from destructive dependencies.
Buddhism has a particular contribution to make to this dialogue because it teaches, in effect, that all sentient beings are addicts. According to the Buddha’s teachings, beings are destructively dependent on a variety of things that they falsely believe will bring them unshakeable stability and permanent happiness: comfort, pleasure, material goods, status, affection…
The Buddha’s key insight was that there is a primary dependency that is the source of all the others – dependence on a fabrication that is called “I” or “me”, an illusory self that is imagined to be solid, unchanging, and eternal. Buddhism may usefully be described as a collection of techniques for breaking this primary dependency. As such, it has something unique to offer in a dialogue about addiction recovery.
Participating in and hosting such dialogues is part of the exciting new direction in which KTD is now moving. As KTD President Tenzin Chonyi and Executive Director David Kaczynski wrote in a recent letter to individuals who might become members of KTD: “Now the focus of operations has shifted from the construction of physical buildings to a much broader horizon of dharma activity intended to benefit all beings by cultivating mindful compassion and loving-kindness throughout the world.”
Attending “Buddhism and Addiction Recovery” on the weekend of August 2-4 is a perfect way to experience one facet of the new KTD. We look forward to sharing this experience with you.