The University of Minnesota 9s Center for Spirituality & Healing enriches health and well-being by providing high-quality interdisciplinary education, conducting rigorous research, and delivering innovative programs that advance integrative health and healing. FALL 2009 AT THE CENTER The Buddha Prince Outdoor cwalking d play takes audience on journey through the extraordinary life of the Dalai Lama, in support of Center 9s new Arts and Healing initiative. Pag e 6 MANDALA \x2\x3\x9\x7\x4\x8\x8 \x4 \x4\x9 A LONG-BURNING PASSION FOR HEALING THROUGH THE ARTS CENTER PROFILE Sometimes the world converges in just such a way that paths cross and interests unite.
Such was the case when the University of Minnesota 9s Irst lady, Susan Hagstrum, introduced Markell Kiefer to the Center. A fan of the Center herself, Hagstrum knew of Keifer 9s interests and recommended she get to know the Center 9s work. cI was on this lonely road, kind of on my own, and I felt so fortunate to have Inally met others with similar passions, d Kiefer remembers.
cMy Irst conversation with the Center lasted almost three hours and I remember being completely drained 3 in a good way 3 after the experience! d One of the ideas that emerged from that ... more. less.
.rst conversation was to revive what has come to represent Kiefer 9s life passion: The Buddha Prince . The Center is co-presenting this production with TigerLion Arts, with public performances from September 17-21, 2009 at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis. For more information, please visit www.csh.umn.edu or www.buddhaprince.org .<br><br> The Buddha Prince is a celebration of His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, and of an extraordinary life spent in the practice of peace. The uncommon 8walking play 9 is also a celebration of Tibetan culture, heritage and healing. Kiefer points out that before the Chinese invasion and occupancy of Tibet, 50 years ago this year, the culture was not well-known to the international community.<br><br> cThe occupation has given the Tibetan people an opportunity to talk in the world, to share their message. The Buddha Prince is part of that message. d The mission of the play is to celebrate the good humanness, precious life, and universal teachings of the Dalai Lama, and to promote his worldwide efforts for peace. (The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for c&advocating peaceful solutions based on tolerance and mutual respect to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of the Tibetan people. d) Narrated with excerpts from His Holiness 9 own teachings and autobiographies, The Buddha Prince offers a personal point of view of his coming of age, precious life lessons, and the tremendous sadness he absorbed for his people.<br><br> Above all, The Buddha Prince is meant to invoke peace in the world and to celebrate the inherent goodness of human beings. The audience is encouraged to laugh out loud, cry with each other, and leave the experience inspired by the profound capacity of the human heart. It was Kiefer 9s own journey that informed the creation and evolution of The Buddha Prince .<br><br> Raised in the Shambhala community of Boulder, CO, she had a decidedly unconventional early life. Her father, Tom Kiefer, is a physician with Park Nicollet and lives in the Twin Cities. Her mother, Marlow Brooks, has a healing practice and teaches workshops in Ive-element healing and plant spirit medicine in Boulder.<br><br> Shuttling between Colorado and Minnesota as a child, Kiefer became a student of the world, inJuenced by both her parents 9 professional interests and inner circles. Her Shambhala upbringing largely deIned her. It is the Shambhala view that every human being has a fundamental nature of inherent goodness.<br><br> This nature can be cultivated through meditation, so that it radiates out to family, friends, community, and ultimately society. While Shambhala is rooted in the contemplative teachings of Buddhism, it is available 3 and practiced 3 by many who prescribe to other traditions or spiritualities. 6 | mandala FALL 2009 AT THE CENTER When she turned 18, Kiefer brieJy questioned whether she wanted to be a Buddhist.<br><br> So she deferred college for a year to explore her spirituality at Karme Choling, a Vermont retreat center. After that experience, she decided Buddhism was the right It for her 3 and she never looked back. While attending Middlebury College, she found herself gravitating toward the study of religions.<br><br> cLike many students that age, I found myself exploring all types of spirituality. Eventually I came to my own conclusion: all religions, at the most profound level, overlap in their core meanings and messages. In my opinion, that 8intersection 9 usually points to universal ideals that each of us seek: to become a better human being and to do good in the world. d cAt the same time that I was exploring my belief system, I was consciously connecting to nature.<br><br> You couldn 9t keep me inside! I Ind a deep sense of spirituality and peace in nature. But I also started realizing how disconnected many of us are to nature.<br><br> And I felt passionate about helping others get closer to nature. d It was also at Middlebury that Kiefer had a life-deIning experience. cI met Steven Rockefeller, now Professor Emeritus of Religion at the College. In 1991, Steven had started a symposium series, later to become a book: Spirit and Nature 3 Why the Environment Is a Religious Issue: An Interfaith Dialogue .<br><br> In getting to know him and discussing our shared interests, a bit of a roadmap Inally began to emerge for how I could connect my passion for religion and the environment into my life 9s work. d cMeanwhile, I 9d always been interested in theatre, but I had steered clear of that scene during my college days. To be honest, I was too intimidated by many of the actors 9 bold, self conIdence and guess I wasn 9t ready to put myself out there& Many times I wondered, 8How in the world can I pull all of this together? 9 d Kiefer Irst moved to Twin Cities in 2000 for an apprentice- ship with the Children 9s Theatre in Minneapolis. It was at a planning meeting for the Dalai Lama 9s Minnesota visit that Kiefer Irst had the idea for The Buddha Prince .<br><br> It debuted at Lake Harriet Peace Garden in May, 2001. A cast of children from local Tibetan, Zen and Shambhala Buddhist communities, along with members of the Jewish and Quaker communities, shared the stage with actors from the Children 9s Theatre Company. It was an unqualiIed success but The Buddha Prince remained far from Inished, at least in its creator 9s mind.<br><br> After September 11, 2001, Kiefer moved back to Boulder to begin a Master 9s program in Lecoq-based, physical theatre at Naropa University. cThis program gave me the conIdence to be a director. It really taught me how to be a creative professional. d With newfound conIdence and at the urging of her co- writer, Michael French, Kiefer decided to return to The Buddha Prince with a fresh perspective, determined to take it to the next level.<br><br> The Buddha Prince was revised with a new script and musical score for the Dalai Lama 9s 2004 U.S. visit. Later that year after meeting her future husband, Tyson Forbes, the couple moved back to Minneapolis.<br><br> cTyson 9s also an actor and a creative being and we were both inspired by the Twin Cities 9 theatre scene. This time, Minneapolis felt like home. d Renewed and inspired, Kiefer started planning for performances of The Buddha Prince in Minneapolis and New York the following year. cThe performances just kept evolving, d Kiefer says.<br><br> cThis is growing, living art and has always been an opportunity for me to connect with the Dalai Lama 9s teachings and to practice my own spiritual path while connecting with others in nature and theatre. d To mark the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan displacement, Kiefer asked the Center to join her to present The Buddha Prince once again. cThis play 9s principle message is one of peace. Peace that each of us can manifest and create in the world.<br><br> I believe it is an incredible medium to change the world and a perfect It with the Center 9s work. d cThe fact that this is a free play is very intentional. I want to celebrate the life of this special person, the 14th Dalai Lama, and the values he holds so dear. I want to give the Twin Cities 9 community the chance to share in this. d cThe connections between spirituality, healing and the arts are what I am most passionate about.<br><br> I see it as my purpose in life, d offers Kiefer. cI am so excited to discover, with the Center, how we can work together to bring healing through the arts center stage! d Kiefer rehearses with The Buddha Prince cast. !"#$"%&'()(*+"(,"-&%$",(./'&0"" #$"%&'()(*+"(,"1(+2+&,,03 "" 3 HIS HOLINESS, THE DALAI LAMA FALL 2009 mandala | 7<br><br>