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Become One With Buddhism, August 15
August 9, 2012 - By Michele Johnson
Ph.D. psychologist Ron Sharrin will offer a lecture on Buddhism and Meditation at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15, at the Topanga Library. Its free and open to everyone.
Sharrin practices and teaches Recollective Awareness, a form of Buddhist meditation that involves recollecting what occurs during meditation. He believes the essence of meditation is learning to relax out of a world view to see things as they really are.
Meditators, he says, shouldnt expect instant gratification. Benefits are very long term you evaluate it over years, not days or months, eventually becoming less reactive, finding life is more meaningful and that the world is not what you think it is. It is much, much more interesting.
He invites people to discover what Buddhism might be, not just personally, but culturally. Historically, Buddhism has transformed every single culture that has taken it up, he says.
Sharrin graduated from Reed College in Portland in 1967 and joined VISTA (AmeriCorps), the local arm of the Peace Corps. He found it ironic that he was assigned to teach migrant workers in the same small outpost of Safford, Arizona, where Albert Brooks was uncomfortably Lost in America in the 1985 film. It seemed he was a little lost there, too.
Coming from a secular Jewish background, Sharrin didnt know he was looking for something until he found it. He discovered the pull of Buddhism in a deceptively simple way, listening to Ravi Shankar on sitar and Yehudi Menhuin on violin on what is now considered an historic album from 1967, West Meets East.
It changed my life, he says. It came out of nowhere, and drove him to join the LA Zen Center, founded in 1967 by Taizan Maezumi Roshi, an influential Japanese Buddhist Roshi (master), where he spent six years living a semi-monastic life. Sharrin found the discipline exhilarating as he learned to breathe and move according to the strict tradition.
While at the Center, he got interested in psychology through Buddhism, not the other way around, and finished his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a dissertation on using Buddhism as a framework for psychotherapy. Sharrin also met Becca Barkin there, shedding his monasticism to forge what is now a 37-year marriage.
Eventually, Sharrin quit the Center, struck out on his own and later studied with a Tibetan master and two American teachers.
Buddhism is very dense, he explains. Its a deep and subtle systemology and philosophy. Can Buddhism save the world? Perhaps. Its object is nothing less than the end of suffering.
Sharrin runs a free meditation class for the Canyon Sages, the over-50 group that is sponsoring his talk on August 15. The class, which is open to all ages, will resume on September 18, running Tuesdays from 3:30-5 p.m. at a place to be announced.
For more information: contact Michele Johnson at 455-1319; or visit ronsharrin.com.