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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Buddist priest Teijo Munnich visits Guilford

Not many Catholic nuns decide to take up dancing and end up becoming Buddhist priests. These are just a few of the events that shaped Teijo Munnich’s life, as Guilford College will learn this weekend.
Reverend Teijo Munnich, a Buddhist priest, will visit Guilford on Nov. 7-9. Munnich is the spiritual teacher for the Zen Center of Asheville, N.C. She has received formal training in Buddhism at Zen centers in California, Minnesota, and Obama, Japan.
Munnich will kick off her visit on Friday night with a lecture entitled Faith, Vocation, and Action. On Saturday, she will lead a Zen retreat that features both sitting and walking meditation, as well as yoga. She will also speak at Sunday’s College Meeting for Worship.
“[Munnich] began her first spiritual connection as a Catholic nun, decided that was not for her, and became a dancer,” said Professor Adele Wayman, who met Munnich at a Southern Dharma retreat center 10 years ago. “While she was a dancer, she began studying Zen, and after studying it, she became a Zen priest.”
All of Munnich’s events are sponsored by the Guilford Initiative on Faith and Practice, whose five-year grant has brought many small and invitational events to Guilford.
“The purpose of the Guilford Initiative on Faith and Practice is to help people to understand vocation from a broader spiritual context and to become leaders who will make a positive difference in the world,” said Sarah Beth Terrell, Director of the Initiative. “Faith, Vocation and Action’ is the topic of her talk – we will be tying those pieces together and also tying it in with practice on Saturday in the retreat.”
Wayman invited Munnich to come to Guilford so others would have a chance to meet her and learn from her.
“Often, people have misconceptions about what Buddhism is about, and I’m hoping that her visit will help to clear up things,” said sophomore Ben Taylor, clerk of the Guilford Council of Religious Organizations. “Her teachings focus on femininity and spirituality.”
These are also the focus of the Great Tree Zen Temple, a residential women’s Temple that Munnich is in the early stages of creating. She envisions it as a place to explore topics like body awareness and feminine spirituality in an environment of support and mutual understanding for feminine spirituality.
This weekend’s visit is an opportunity to learn from these and other Zen teachings, as well as a chance to enjoy Munnich’s unique personality.
“She is a traditional Zen priest wearing robes and doing all of the Buddhist practices of the Zen practice, but she loves to talk, go for walks and hang out with people,” Wayman said. “I found her to be a really extraordinary combination of spiritual understanding, very down to earth and a lot of fun as a person.

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