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Archive for Friday, April 24, 1998

S SPIRITUAL LADDER

April 24, 1998

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Two Lawrence teachers of Zen Buddhism recently were promoted at a ceremony in Rhode Island.

A Lawrence couple, Stanley Lombardo and Judy Roitman, recently were promoted within the teaching ranks of Zen Buddhism.

Roitman received ``inga'' or seal, which is a formal recognition of her authority to teach Zen. Her formal title is Ji Do Toep Fa, or master Dharma teacher.

Lombardo, who received inga six years ago, received dharma transmission, making him a ``Soen Sa,'' or Zen master.

``This means in our school of Zen, I became the 79th in the line of succession that begins with Shakyamuni Buddha,'' Lombardo said.

Zen is a school of Buddhism that originated in China around the year 500. It emphasizes meditation.

The Lawrence couple underwent their respective promotions at a ceremony April 4 and 5 at the Providence Zen Center in Cumberland, R.I.

Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn gave Roitman inga and Lombardo transmission.

Lombardo, the guiding teacher of the Kansas Zen Center, 1423 N.Y., is a classics professor at Kansas University. Roitman is a KU mathematics professor.

The local center, founded in 1978, is part of a larger school, the Kwan Um School of Zen, which is an international school that has its roots in Korean Buddhism.

Lombardo, 54, said he and his wife have been interested in Zen Buddhism for more than 20 years.

``It was through her that I began my formal practice,'' Lombardo said. ``There were a lot of people in the early '70s looking for spiritual practice, and Zen was prominent in the alternative culture.''

He said there are about 35 people who practice regularly at the Kansas Zen Center, although there are more people in Lawrence who practice on their own.

There also are some people who come in from Topeka and Kansas City areas.

The center has formal meditation practice six mornings a week, from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. and at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays. They have an evening practice at 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

Besides the daily practice, the center has intensive religious retreats, ranging from one day to three days, he said.

``Zen is a meditation practice that aims at clarity and compassion in our everyday lives,'' he said. ``Zen has always been very strongly connected with ordinary life and everyday work. It's how you live your life moment-to-moment.''

-- Dave Toplikar's phone message number is 832-7151. His e-mail address is dtoplikar@ljworld.com.

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