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Dharma Talk with Monica Sanford

April 28 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Wednesday April 28, Rev. Dr. Monica San ford will give a dharma talk at Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Center.

The dharma talk starts at 5:30pm and you can join it by Zoom.

Rev. Dr. Monica Sanford began studying Buddhism on her own from her home state of Nebraska in 2002. She was inspired by books by Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron. From 2004-2008 she regularly travelled to Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado to learn meditation and spend time among a sangha, but ultimately chose not to join that community. While completing her graduate studies in architecture and community planning at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2004-2010), she made a major change in her life.

In 2010, she moved to California to study at University of the West, where she earned a Master of Divinity in Buddhist Chaplaincy in 2013. While working at UWest as an Institutional Planner (2013-2018), she also pursued her PhD in Practical Theology from Claremont School of Theology and graduated in 2018 with a dissertation based on a first-of-its-kind qualitative study of Buddhist chaplains working in interfaith contexts. Her teaching qualifications include spiritual care and counseling, leadership studies, qualitative research methods, and Buddhist history and literature. During this time, she also completed 4 units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) with the Academy for Jewish Religion under an outplacement program where she served as a campus chaplain at UWest for four years.

In 2015, Rev. Sanford was ordained a Lay Buddhist Minister by the International Center for Chinese Buddhist Culture and Education (ICCBCE), a branch of a group of Chan temples in the lineage of Humanistic Buddhist Master Taixu.

In 2018, Rev. Dr. Sanford accepted a post at Rochester Institute of Technology in western New York as the Assistant Director for Spirituality & Religious Life (SRL). There she oversees 16 different religious communities on campus who provide programs for 20,000+ students and staff. On any given day, she may provide spiritual care and counsel to struggling students, lead training programs in mindfulness, self-care, or religious literacy, advocate for the needs of religious minority students, conduct scholarly research on Buddhist chaplaincy and higher education chaplaincy, or meet with donors to raise funds to support the department, which operates on 90% philanthropic support. This diversity of experience gives her a unique perspective into the pragmatic nature of the Dharma, which she studies and applies on a daily basis.

She is the author of Kalyanamitra: A Model for Buddhist Spiritual Care (2021) from Sumeru Press, as well as numerous chapters in anthologies. She lives in Rochester with her partner of 10 years, two dogs, and a geriatric cat. More about her academic work can be found at https://monicasanford.academia.edu/ .

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