Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Buddhism and the 12 Steps (Kevin Griffin)

Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly; Kevin Griffin, Heather Sundberg, Vajrapani Institute
Laughing Buddha: music steeped in African, Latin, and reggae rhythms, with versatile guitar and lyrics with Buddhist themes recorded by Kevin Griffin, portion of proceeds support American Abhayagiri and British Amaravati Buddhist monasteries (

We did drugs, we devolved, and we daily strive to come back --  here's how. Intoxicated, one becomes as much a brute as reality show "cave people" shown here.
The Buddha said that craving is the [proximate] cause of suffering. Twelve-Step programs work with the deepest forms of craving, our addictions. How can these two traditions, one secular the other spiritual, work together?

A unique meditation retreat combining Buddhist practices with 12-Step work is in the offing. There is still time to join. It is a four-day intensive with author Kevin Griffin (One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps, 2004, and A Burning Desire: Dharma God and the Path of Recovery, 2010) and (Jack Kornfield's Spirit Rock/Joseph Goldstein's Insight Meditation Society) teacher Heather Sundberg.

A Burning Desire (
Using silent insight meditation, interactive exercises, lecture, and discussion, the weekend will explore the ways that Buddhism and the Steps complement one another. Such topics as powerlessness, higher power, inventory, amends, and spiritual awakening. All recovery programs and paths are welcome.

The emphasis will be on bringing mindfulness to all our activities, whether in formal sitting meditation, walking, speaking, listening, or eating. Participants will practice Noble Silence outside of the interactive exercises and discussion periods.

Kevin Griffin is one of the leaders of the mindful recovery movement and one of the founders of the Buddhist Recovery Network. A longtime Buddhist practitioner and 12-Step participant, he teaches nationally on the synthesis of these two traditions.

Heather Sundberg has combined her personal experience with meditation and 12-Step work for 20 years. She completed the four-year Spirit Rock/Insight Meditation Society Teacher Training and is also a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders program. She has studied with senior teachers in the Insight Meditation (vipassana) and Tibetan (Vajrayana) traditions and has sat 1-3 month of retreat a year for over a decade. She is a teacher for Mountain Stream Meditation Center in the Sierra Foothills and also teaches classes, daylongs, and retreats nationally.
  • Vegetarian meals and dorm-style room included in $350 cost
  • Camping is also available for a slightly lower rate.
  • Small number of single rooms and cabins are also available.
Teachers and retreat manager/registrar may be offered donations for their efforts at the end of the retreat. They receive no other financial compensation. For registration and information contact Quilley: or (510) 682-6873.
Kevin Griffin (Berkeley, August 2013) treats us to a soulful, tasty guitar solo as he wraps up a truly wonderful gathering with friends, which included song, dance, and sweet treats in celebration of the release of his newest CD, "Laughing Buddha."

No comments: