Bowing to Lotuses Blooming in the Mud: Gratitude as an agent for change

  • 01/14/2024
  • 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM (PST)
  • Institute of Buddhist Studies and online


  • Please select this ticket type if you plan to attend in person at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California
  • Please select this ticket type if you plan to participate in the workshop on Zoom

About this workshop:

We are thrilled to introduce our upcoming workshop series with an inaugural event featuring a distinguished author, Dr. Paula Arai. With her insightful writings and unwavering dedication, this scholar has illuminated the vital role of women in Buddhism, inspiring countless individuals to revisit and reevaluate the history and teachings of this venerable tradition. We look forward to celebrating with you as we engage principles of healing ritual from Dr. Arai’s latest work, The Little Book of Zen Healing: Japanese Rituals for Beauty.

Embark on a transformative journey in this hybrid workshop, rooted in the essence of Soto Zen Buddhism. Join Dr. Paula Arai, as she gracefully demonstrates a sacred gratitude ritual that can generate positive change. The workshop attendees will learn a profound Soto Zen gratitude ritual; participate in enriching group activities to share insights and experiences; and receive personal feedback and guidance from Dr. Arai. Together, let’s uncover the power of gratitude in a supportive community.

This series is generously funded by the The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism and is open to all. 

Location and schedule:

The event will take place in a hybrid format, which means it will have both in-person gatherings at a specific physical location, as well as an online component that can be accessed via Zoom.  The purpose of this arrangement is to serve the diverse preferences and needs of attendees.

Sunday, January 14, 2024
10 am - 4 pm Pacific Time

  • 10 am - noon: Introduction and talk by Dr. Paula Arai: Bowing to Lotuses Blossoming in the Mud: Gratitude as Agent for Change
  • noon - 1 pm: Lunch offered for on-site participants, lunch break for online participants
  • 1 pm - 4 pm: Gratitude ritual, ritual activities and small group discussion, large group discussion
2140 Durant Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704 and on Zoom

Accommodations are available on-site for those who would like to spend the night before or after the workshop. Please contact for more information.

The SZBA relies on the generosity of its donors in order to offer programming. We suggest a sliding scale donation of $30 for online participation and $75 for in-person attendance. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

About the speaker:

Dr. Paula Arai has made remarkable contributions to exploring women in Buddhism. This well-renowned author has dedicated her career to shedding light on the often-overlooked stories and perspectives of women in the Buddhist tradition. Through extensive research, storytelling, and a profound commitment to gender equality within Buddhism, she has unearthed and eloquently shared the remarkable journeys and experiences of women who have shaped this ancient and revered spiritual path. Dr. Arai is the Eshinni and Kakushinni Professor of Women and Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. She recently joined the faculty, transitioning from her previous role as the Gopal Singhal Professor at Louisiana State University. Dr. Arai trained under Aoyama Shundō Rōshi at the Aichi Senmon Nisōdō nunnery, received her Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University, and was awarded generous grants from esteemed institutions, including the Fulbright Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, Mellon Foundation, American Academy of Religion, and Reischauer Institute of Harvard University. She is renowned for curating exhibitions of Japanese scientist's Heart Sutra paintings at various prestigious venues over the past eight years, making her an esteemed authority in the field of women in Buddhism.

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