Get to know your Sangha member: Curt Pawlisch

How did you learn about TNH?

I was at a bookstore browsing meditation books and I bought Peace In Every Step.  The book spoke to me.

What was the first TNH book you read?  What is your favorite TNH book?  

Not just one favorite, but three:  The World We Have because it addresses helped transform my immobilizing despair about climate change into action based on love and not anger. And two very early poetry books published in the mid-60s by Unicorn Press:  Viet Nam Poems and The Cry of Vietnam.  The last two books are anti-war poetry with beautiful illustrations by a Vietnamese artist Vo-Dinh.

What is your favorite TNH quote or teaching?  

“When your shift is over and you go home, who is it that forbids you to enjoy walking meditation, touching the beauty around you, listening to the birds, and contemplating the blue sky or the stars?”   Thich Nhat Hanh, Keeping the Peace, Mindfulness in Public Service at 35 (Parallax Press, 2005).

It reminds me to overcome my habit energy and come back to the present moment.

How did you hear about SnowFlower?    

A neighbor.  He and I went to a Tuesday night sangha.  He never came back. I did.

How long have you been coming to SnowFlower?  

Since 2004 or so.

Remembering your first time at SnowFlower, what did you like best? Put another way, why did you decide to come back?  

I liked the vibe:  the people seemed so kind and gentle that I had to come back.

If you could change one thing about SnowFlower, what would it be?  

I would like us to seek annual contributions from people and get enough money to hire part-time administrative staff.  It’s a real burden on our finance volunteers to raise money $2 at a time from people. Plus, more volunteer time could focus on teaching and building sangha.

What other Buddhist teachers do you like?  Tara Brach, James Baraz, and Jack Kornfield.

Do you have a favorite Buddhist website that you turn to frequently? and  

How does Buddhism as taught by TNH fit into your daily life?  Why is it important to you?

I would like to believe that I am mindful in varying degrees throughout the day.  It has helped me stay calm and centered, more observant and I hope more compassionate.

If you are working, what do you do?  If you are retired, what did you do in your last job?

I am a retired lawyer.  

Do you do any volunteer work?  

I help with SnowFlower stuff, recently with diversity issues, the new website and with scheduling and helping to manage Sunday Sangha.


My wife and I have been married for 33 years.  We have two adult daughters who live in Madison.

Favorite hobbies or pastimes?   

Chess, reading, swimming, being in nature.

Favorite guilty pleasure?

Actually, I have several.  Here’s one: Bingeing on series from Netflix, HBO and the like.  

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