Dr. Pilar Jennings
In “Looking into the Eyes of a Master,” Dr. Pilar Jennings uses her background as a relational psychotherapist to explore how spiritual students can come to understand their teachers as human beings. Dr. Jennings is a longtime practitioner of Tibetan and Vipassana Buddhism as well as a writer and researcher who has focused on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation practice. She received a master’s degree in medical anthropology from Columbia University and a PhD in Psychiatry and Religion from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Her book Mixing Minds (Wisdom Publications, 2010) compares the interpersonal dynamics between Buddhist teachers and their Western students with the relationship between psychoanalysts and their patients.
Dr. Jennings is a researcher at the Columbia University Center for Study of Science and Religion, where she explores the impact of narcissism on environmental issues. She also facilitates a Columbia faculty seminar addressing topics related to slavery and memory. In her ongoing psychotherapeutic work with inner-city families, she explores the impact of racism on children.
Winifred Bird, who interviewed Ittetsu Nemoto at his temple in rural Gifu Prefrecture, Japan (“The Counselor”), is a freelance journalist who most often writes about the environment, architecture, and agriculture. Since 2005 she has lived in Japan, where she grows organic rice, wheat, and vegetables. Her articles have been published in The Japan Times, Yale Environment 360, Environmental Health Perspectives, Dwell, and elsewhere. In 2011 she was a media fellow at Vermont Law School’s environmental law program, and in 2012 she won a Fund for Environmental Journalism grant to write about forests contaminated by nuclear disaster. Although she is not a Buddhist, Bird is a longtime fan of Edward Espe Brown’s Tassajara Bread Book, which she uses to bake her weekly loaf of sourdough, and of the amazing gardens at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center near San Francisco, where she grew up.
Camille Seaman, whose photographs appear in “Beautiful Storm,” is a 2013 Stanford Knight Fellow whose work has been published in National Geographic, Time, Camera Arts, The New York Times, and many other publications. Best known for her photographs of icebergs, in 2008 she debuted her one-artist show “The Last Iceberg” at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, showcasing images of the fragile and deteriorating beauty of the arctic wilderness. Much of her work focuses on the natural world; the images in “Beautiful Storm” are from her recent “Clouds” series. For five years Seaman crossed the Midwest with stormchasers, photographing the destructive beauty of single storm clouds called “supercells” as part of her mission to illustrate the interconnection of all life on Earth. She uses a wide variety of cameras and formats, both digital and film.
Photograph of Winifred Bird taken by Heather Fukase