Their paths first crossed in the war-torn Vietnam province of Quang Ngai where they volunteered with the American Friends Service Committee at a rehabilitation center for injured civilians, but it was their shared faith that truly brought Eryl and Wayman Kubicka together.
Wayman and Eryl Kubicka will bring their Buddhist perspective to Week Three’s Interfaith Friday at 2 p.m. EDT Friday, July 17, on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch.
Chautauqua Institution Director of Religion Maureen Rovegno is looking forward to the shift in spiritual discussions, as the previous two Interfaith Friday speakers spoke from the perspectives of religious naturalism and Evangelical Christianity.
“Because our Interfaith Friday conversations engage with a different religion or faith or spiritual tradition each week, focusing on the same questions throughout the season, it is important to include traditions that might not traditionally focus on the particular questions of the week — to shine a light on why a particular tradition might take a different perspective relevant to the issue of the week,” Rovegno said. “Stepping into Buddhist philosophy this week will be particularly interesting to our audience.”
Wayman Kubicka began his journey with Buddhism after he departed Vietnam; his years spent volunteering with the AFSC in an active war zone had left him with a severe case of PTSD that he treated with meditation under the guidance of Roshi Philip Kapleau, founder of the Rochester Zen Center. In 2001, Wayman moved to Batavia, New York, to assist in the creation and leadership of Rochester Zen Center’s country retreat location where he currently resides, teaching meditation and acting as the head of training.
Born in England in 1941 during World War II, Eryl Kubicka looked to the practice of Zen Meditation as a solution to the uncertainty that came with growing up in a country at war. She became a practicing Buddhist and in 1963 graduated as a physical therapist, the role she filled when she joined the AFSC in 1969 in Quang Ngai, where she then married Wayman in 1970.
For eight years after their marriage, Eryl and Wayman continued their work with the AFSC in efforts to rebuild communities following the end of the war. Upon their return to the United States, they began practicing Zen Meditation with the Rochester Zen Center, where Wayman was ordained as a Buddhist Priest in 2010.
Since then, both Eryl and Wayman have been teachers of Buddhist meditation at Chautauqua’s Mystic Heart program, which is dedicated to supporting programs and education about spiritual practices outside the Abrahamic traditions.
This program is made possible by The Myra Baker Low and Katharine Low Hembree Family Fund.