Fordham Notes: Fordham Interfaith Zen Sittings

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fordham Interfaith Zen Sittings

Here are the Fordham Interfaith Zen Sittings for November:

November 3: Sensei Paul Schubert
November 10: Roshi Robert Kennedy, S.J.
Location: The Blessed Rupert Mayer Chapel, Room 221, Lowenstein Center, Lincoln Center campus

November 17: Brenda Shoshanna
Location: To be announced

Time for all events: 6:10 - 7:45 p.m.

Senseis Michael Holleran and Paul Schubert are both dharma heirs of Roshi Robert Kennedy, S.J. Roshi Kennedy studied with the Japanese Zen masters Yamada Roshi and Maezumi Roshi before returning to the tri-state area to study with Bernie Glassman Roshi of the Zen Peacemakers Order. It was Glassman Roshi who decided that it was not necessary to be a Buddhist to become a Zen master. He has given dharma transmission to men and women of a variety of faiths, including Catholics, Jews and Sufis (

Roshi Kennedy's Jesuit mission and Zen teaching and practice are seamless: both are contemplation leading to compassionate action ( He recently retired as Chair of Theology at St. Peter's College in Jersey City. He is the author of two books: Zen Gifts to Christians and Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit. People of many faiths and none sit with him, including Catholic religious and priests.

Sensei Paul Schubert was a research chemist until he took early retirement in order to teach chemistry (and Zen) in the high schools. He sits with us the first Tuesday of every month, saying a few words and giving daisan (individual meetings to discuss practice).

Sensei Michael Holleran is a Fordham alumnus who became first a Jesuit and then, for 22 years, a Carthusian monk. The Carthusians are an order of hermits who were recently the subject of a documentary, Into Great Silence. Michael's Zen studies with Roshi Kennedy began when he left the order. He is now working as a parish priest here in Manhattan. He visits Fordham Zen group on the fourth Tuesday of every month, giving a talk and daisan.

Brenda Shoshanna is from a different Zen lineage. Raised an orthodox Jew in Borough Park, Brooklyn, she is a Zen student of the Japanese master Eido Roshi. For her recent book, The Jewish Dharma, Roshi Kennedy wrote: "Dr. Brenda Shoshanna flies on two wings: A deep love of orthodox Jewish faith and her Zen practice of 36 years. Her vision embraces both traditions with fidelity and beauty." (

Our sittings are free and open to all, no registration required. Beginner instruction is given whenever necessary.

We are sponsored by Campus Ministry. Inisfada, the interfaith Zen center at St. Ignatius Retreat House in Manhasset, continues to loan us cushions for this practice, for which we again thank director Russ Ball. We also thank Roshi Kennedy for his continuing guidance and teaching.

Fordham's Westchester campus now also has a Zen group, sponsored by Campus Ministry Westchester, under the guidance of Carol Gibney and Russ Michel, a dharma student of Roshi Kennedy. Carol can be contacted at (914) 367-3420.

Sheila Ross
, Facilitator, Fordham Interfaith Zen

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