Saturday, April 6, 2013

Francis Bennett workshops in May

Francis Bennett will be coming to Binghamton the first weekend in May (May 3-5). Francis was a Roman Catholic, Trappist monk for over 20 years, only leaving monastic life about 6 months ago. His teaching plans so far include a day-long (10am-5pm) workshop Saturday May 4 on Contemplative Prayer and a Sunday afternoon joint satsang with me at the usual 2-3:30 time. There may well be another teaching event scheduled for Sunday morning. While plans are still being finalized, I want to give everyone plenty of time to plan to attend one or more of these events. This will be a rare opportunity to spend time with an awakened teacher who is thoroughly steeped in the Christian tradition, and can speak of this realized truth from his own direct experience. All teaching events will be at the First Congregational Church in Binghamton on the corner of Front and Main St. Parking is in the Church lot on Front St., and the entrance is on the Front St. side of the building. Come in the side door and look for the Meditation Room, which is upstairs on the second floor. The Rev. Dr. Arthur Suggs has been the pastor for several years and has led an ongoing transformation of the church into a welcoming and hospitable location for people of different faiths, beliefs, and lifestyles. The church website is: .

 Francis is very active on Facebook, and I encourage those who are interested to check out his numerous, daily posts. He has a new website: 

Below is a description of Francis as well as a link to a Buddha at the Gas Pump interview with him.

"Francis Bennett entered the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemane in 1981 and in the 90′s subsequently lived at a “daughter house” of Gethsemane in Monks Corner, South Carolina. Until recently, he was living in a small urban monastery in Montreal Quebec. He has been a “spiritual seeker” during all those years, practicing in the Christian mystical/contemplative Tradition and working deeply with teachers in both the Vipassana and Zen Traditions as well. In 2010 he experienced a profound perceptual “shift” in which he realized the ever-present presence of pure Awareness, which some would call, the Presence of God."

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to me. The suggested donation for the Saturday teaching is $50-80 sliding scale, depending on ability to pay. The suggested donation for Sunday is $25. All donations beyond the cost of the room will go to Francis. All who are interested are welcome. For the Saturday workshop, please arrive by 9:50. We are required to keep the side door to the church locked, so if you arrive later than 10:05, you will be locked out and unable to attend.  For the Sunday satsang, please arrive by 1:50-the doors will be locked after 2:05. Until that time someone will be posted at the door to let you in and show you where the meeting room is located.
A  very tentative schedule for Saturday is 10-12 teaching, with lunch on your own. There are many local restaurants nearby. The afternoon session will be from 2-5. Further details will follow. For those unfamiliar with Contemplative Prayer, it is an ancient form of Christian meditation revived and updated by Fathers Thomas Keating and Basil Pennington in the 1970s and 80s. See the link below for background information on Father Keating.

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