Get to Know Your Sangha Member: Steven Spiro

How did you learn about Thich Nhat Hanh (“TNH”)?
My dear wife Susan turned me on to him in the early 1990’s.

What is your favorite TNH book?
The Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings

How did you hear about SnowFlower and how long have you been coming to sangha?
We heard from Karuna and David Lawrence in the early nineties, and joined in 2000 when Ed and Mary Celnicker were going.

Remembering your first time at SnowFlower, what did you like best?  Put another way, why did you decide to come back?
We were energized by the Vermont TNH retreat we attended in 2000.  Karuna and Cheri were there.  Our first visit to SF was with about 8 other people in the Friends’ library.

What other Buddhist teachers do you like?
Many….Joan Halifax and Bernie Glassman are my Soto teachers, along with others at Upaya; the Ven. Geshe Sopa had a profound influence on me, as did John Travis and others in the Vipassana tradition.  My wife has been a powerful teacher.  So have my children and grandchildren.  Dave Haskin has provided great encouragement to me.  And my dog loves me forever, although he currently doesn’t teach.

What is your favorite Buddhist website?

How does Buddhism as taught by TNH fit into your daily life?  Why is it important to you?
Thay has provided such clear and simple teachings.  He lives in the marrow of my bones—always.  He forever changed my life, for which I am over a million times grateful.

If you are working, what do you do?  If you are retired, what jobs or career did you hold in your working life?
I made a living as an artist in wood for forty years, creating sculptural furniture.  I built a house, lived in the country, served as a volunteer EMT, and still teach Tai Chi and Qigong (since 1995.)

Do you do any volunteer work?
I enjoy teaching meditation in three prisons, occasionally lead retreats in the Buddhist tradition, sit with those who are dying, teach Qigong, draw cartoons, garden organically, and try to keep up with my grandkids.  In SnowFlower I have various roles, including serving as a scheduler and on the Steering Council.

Oh, yes.  Eleven in the immediate family, ranging in age from seven to ninety-five—all close by in Madison.

Favorite hobbies or pastimes?
Meditation…..reading…..biking…….cc skiing

Favorite guilty pleasure?
All chocolate… guilt.

2 thoughts on “Get to Know Your Sangha Member: Steven Spiro

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *