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Life, Death & The Space Between

May 24, 2021

“Hopefully we don’t believe everything we think.” – Ji Hyang Padma


Ji Hyang Padma has combined an academic career with her vocation as a spiritual teacher. Ji Hyang served as Director of Spirituality & Education as well as a Buddhist chaplain at Wellesley College for fourteen years. Additionally, she has served as a meditation teacher at Harvard University, Boston University, Babson College, Esalen Institute and Omega Institute.  Ji Hyang Padma currently serves as a chaplain at the University of California at San Francisco.


Ji Hyang Padma is the author of the new book “Field of Blessings” (  April 1st 2021). “Field of Blessings” is a turning point, a revitalization of the healing arts in Western culture.



Our conversation covers these fascinating topics:


  • The premise of her book is
    • to reclaim some of the nourishing resources forgotten as Buddhism crossed from the Eastern to the Western world,
    • to reclaim the power of ritual healing and reconnect with the roots of mind-body medicine


  • What healing looks like through the Buddhist lens - the mutuality and interconnected between consciousness and the body - or interaction between the limbic system and the brain


  • How we use food, technology, and overwork to medicate the dis-ease in the body


  • Mind-body practices that can help us reset the balance between the mind and body. For example, the practice of receiving the blessing of wellbeing can renew the body, and in turn can be used to echo those blessings out to the world


  • Somatic re-experiencing work (reference Peter Levine) to heal trauma and PTSD in the body


  • Personal healing and collective, societal healing are interdependent


  • All of us are one body on the earth
  • our sense of wholeness and our well-being depends on compassion, kindness and insight toward others; this enters into the collective field and brings about healing
  • One universal element is relational empathy: relationship heals
  • Healing the individual is healing the world



  • Attachment Theory - The way we have experienced early life relationships affects our relationship to our physical body and all our close relationships (intimate and otherwise). When our early relationships are essentially trustworthy the limbic system and prefrontal cortex have a healthy connection. If our early relationships were dismissive/avoidant, then the information is blocked, body centered awareness does not develop well. Disconnection leads to dysregulation leads to dis-ease. 


  • Ritual is embodied narrative, and our way of making meaning, including: visualization, music dance, rhythm, poetry (reference Daniel Siegal relational neurology, interpersonal neurobiology)


  • Chogas or rituals
    • Setting intention
    • Mindfulness
    • Creating space
    • Therapeutic attunement
    • Evoking sacred power
    • Changing awareness
    • Reconnection with the natural world and community


  • Five elements in healing
    • Earth – groundedness, centeredness
    • Water – emotions, confidence
    • Air - clear mind
    • Fire - action, assertion
    • Space




“Field of Blessings” is available on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble and wherever books are sold