Ronna Kabatznick is a social psychologist in private practice in Berkeley, California, where she assists people with eating, depression, and relationship issues. She is the author of The Zen of Eating: Ancient Answers to Modern Weight Problems and is currently writing a book on dharma and depression.
A resident of Thailand for two and a half years, where she practiced with Ajahn Anan and Ajahn Ganha, two of Thailand’s foremost meditation masters, her piece in this issue, “Sea of Sorrow”, details her experience aiding survivors after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed more than 225,000 people in 14 countries. As a “tsunami psychologist,” Kabatznick helped survivors and family members identify their loved ones in makeshift morgues and cope with the piercing pain of extreme suffering and the reality of sudden separation.
Reverend Patti Nakai
Rev. Patti Nakai, whose article on the importance of cultivating relationships in Buddhist practice appears in this issue (“The Tie That Need Not Bind”), is the resident minister of the Buddhist Temple of Chicago. A Chicago native, Rev. Nakai became interested in Buddhism while attending the University of Minnesota, where she earned a BS in economics. With the encouragement of her teacher at the Buddhist Temple of Chicago, Rev. Nakai went to Kyoto, Japan, to study at Otani University, where she received an MA in Shin Buddhist Studies and full ordination as a dharma teacher (kyoshi) at Higashi Honganji, the head temple of the Otani-ha subdenomination of Shin Buddhism. After serving as part-time minister at Higashi Honganji in Los Angeles for eight years, she returned to her hometown in 1995.
Rev. Nakai is especially interested in communicating the key ideas of Shin Buddhism to seekers outside the ethnic Japanese community, where the teachings of Shin Buddhism, she says, “have been too long hidden away.”
Philip Blenkinsop is a Thailand-based photojournalist whose work documenting little-known and forgotten conflicts in Southeastern Asia has been widely published in the American and international press. In this issue, his photos of the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami accompany “Sea of Sorrow.” “There was a moment,” he says of his experience after the tsunami, in which “I had the very real and disturbing feeling that I was the last person left on the planet. The sensation was one of incredible vulnerability.”
From top to bottom: images courtesy of Galia Szurley; Lynnell S. Long; Goran Galic/Gian-Reto Gredig, Philip Blenkinsop, 2007.
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