Columns » Livelong Days

Bow deeply to change


The venerable Ruth Denison will speak on Sept. 11 at All Souls Church.
  • The venerable Ruth Denison will speak on Sept. 11 at All Souls Church.

Perhaps no event has more profoundly affected the collective consciousness of Americans in recent years than the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Fear and insecurity color our newscasts, our daily lives and our hopes for the future.

Venerable Buddhist teacher Ruth Denison was born and raised in one of the most terror-inspiring climates of the 20th century -- far eastern Germany, then called East Prussia -- on the verge of World War II. Denison was sent to a forced labor camp during the Russian occupation and was subjected to repeated rape, like most of the young women in the camp. After escaping to Berlin, she became a teacher and eventually was offered a sponsorship to come to the United States. In Los Angeles, 1958, Denison met her future husband who introduced her to Buddhist studies.

With her husband, Denison spent years studying Zen Buddhism at monasteries in Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Burma, and India and returned to California where she became one of the first women teachers of vipassana (an ancient Indian technique of meditation) in the West, eventually establishing a retreat center, Dhamma Dena, outside Joshua Tree.

On the second anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, Colorado Springs residents will have a chance to hear Denison speak on impermanence, death and living with change. In a 1977 interview with Insight magazine, Denison explained her approach to teaching: "Most of all, I encourage people to go into their difficulties and to cope with the change that's taking place even as they are paying attention to it. Our life is nothing but change and it is to this change that I bow deeply." capsule Impermanence and Death:

Living with Change

An evening talk with Ruth Denison

Thursday, Sept. 11, 7-9 p.m.

All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 730 N. Tejon St.

A benefit for Rocky Mountain Insight; suggested donation is $10-$15 (feel free to give more or less)

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