Kwan Um Zen Climate Summit

Inspiring Buddhist wisdom
for compassionate climate action

April 19–21, 2024


Last year was the warmest of late, and likely the hottest in 100,000 years. Although we are bombarded daily by dire climate-related headlines and smartphone alerts, we don’t need news stories and scientific studies to see what is happening to our home planet. We experience warmer winters, endless heat spells, devastating floods, fires, and drought. 

Whatever tradition we connect with, we aspire to connect our spiritual practice with a path of global healing. We look to the Dharma (Buddhist teachings) as a refuge, not an escape. Zen Master Seung Sahn (1927-2004) once wrote that all forms of Buddhism share the same goal: “How do we wake up and help this world right now?”

In the spirit of that question, please join us for a three-day virtual gathering focused on the intersection of Dharma and the climate crisis. Insights will be offered by leading Buddhist teachers and practitioners who are also writers, artists, and advocates engaged in climate action.  There will be opportunities to meet and talk with other concerned individuals worldwide. Together, we can support and encourage earth-centered activity and creativity within and beyond our personal lives and communities.

Register for Free


Day 1

Inspiring Hope, Wisdom, and Compassion


/ 9PM MYT / 10PM KST

Opening Program (1.5hrs)

Welcome Address by Myong An Sunim JDPS, Penang, Malaysia

Chanting for the Earth,
led by Kwan Haeng Sunim JDPS
and the Providence Zen Center

Wisdom and Compassion for Our Earth
Featured interviews with
Zen Master Dae Bong, South Korea 
Jane Hirshfield, poet, United States

Photographic Journeys into Nature
 by John Feely
Stillness and Tranquility by Dan Dill

Day 2

Coffee Hour: A Conversation about Climate Change


Small group live sessions offer the opportunity to connect with like-minded people worldwide through facilitated conversation. Two time options below:


Climate Coffee Hour: Session 1

10 AM CEST / 4 PM MYT / 5 PM KST / 6 PM AEST
Facilitated small breakout group discussion session

Climate Coffee Hour: Session 2
Facilitated small breakout group discussion session

Day 3

The Earth Is Our Temple



Panel webinar (1.5hrs)

Panel moderated by Wen Stephenson
Journalist and author of What We’re Fighting for Now Is Each Other: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Climate Justice (Beacon, 2015) 

David Loy
Zen teacher, author, trainer and activist  

Nancy Hedgpeth JDPSN
Kwan Um Zen teacher and local climate activist  

John Sabin
Great Lakes Regional Co-coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL) 

Soyoung Lee
Filmmaker and innovative organic farmer

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Our Collaborators

Opening Day Speakers

Zen Master Dae Bong

Zen Master Dae Bong has practiced and taught in the U.S., Europe, and Asia and was the abbot of Zen centers in Paris, France, Berkeley, CA, and Cambridge, MA, in the U.S. Since 1999, has been the resident Guiding Zen Master of Seung Sahn International Zen Center Musangsa in Korea and is currently also the abbot of Musangsa and Head Zen Master of the Kwan Um School of Zen in Asia. He first met Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1977 and was struck by the power of his teaching. After that, he began living and practicing full-time with Zen Master Seung Sahn at different Zen centers worldwide. He became a Zen monk in 1984 and received Inka from Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1992 and Dharma Transmission in 1999 to become Zen Master.

Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield (born February 24, 1953) is an American poet, essayist, and translator, known as 'one of American poetry's central spokespersons for the biosphere' and recognized as 'among the modern masters,' 'writing some of the most important poetry in the world today.' A 2019 elected member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, her books include numerous award-winning collections of her poems, collections of essays, and edited and co-translated volumes of world writers from the deep past. Her work has been widely published in global newspapers and literary journals and has been translated into over fifteen languages.


Myong An Sunim JDPS
Host & Opening Speaker

Myong An Sunim encountered Zen Master Seung Sahn in Hong Kong in 1992 and began practicing Zen as his student. He was ordained as a monk in 1997 and spent the next 16 years in Korea doing intensive meditation retreats. In 2015, he received inka, the authorization to teach kong-ans and lead retreats. Sunim has practiced meditation for over 30 years and is the guiding teacher for the Zen Centre in Penang, Malaysia. His teaching approach combines the wisdom of the ancient teachers with the science of meditation. He is also actively interested in our planet’s climate crisis and environmental degradation.


Nancy Hedgpeth JDPSN

Nancy Brown Hedgpeth JDPSN has practiced with the KUSZ since 1979 and received Inka in 1994. She has lived at and worked for many Zen centers and has sat long retreats in the US and South Korea. Nancy and her late husband started and worked on a micro-farm in South County, Rhode Island.  She is a retired nurse and now lives in Waterville, Maine, from which she does most of her group practice online. Nancy joined the local Waterville chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, which has helped her widen her involvement in climate action.

Soyoung Lee

Soyoung Lee is a filmmaker, visual storyteller, and organic farmer. She has been a photographer and photo editor since 1998 and trained in filmmaking at the New York Film Academy. From 2009 to 2019, she ran a certified organic heritage farm that expanded from 2 to 44 acres in Ontario, Canada. She established a niche market in Toronto by creating non-GMO, fermented vegan foods and various pickles with no preservatives. A lifelong Zen practitioner, she brought her agricultural know-how to the rural Providence Zen Center (PZC) in Cumberland, R.I. in 2021. She helped create an organic farm at the center. She wants to create a visual story about ecological, economical, and spiritually sustainable agriculture in our precarious climate.

David Loy

David Loy is an author, speaker and teacher in the Japanese Zen tradition who has conducted retreats worldwide.  A retired professor of Asian and Comparative Philosophy, his books and articles have been translated into many languages. His writing focuses primarily on the encounter between Buddhism and modernity, especially social and ecological issues. His most recent book is Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis, and he is co-editor of A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency (both Wisdom Publications). He is one of the founders of the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center near Boulder, Colorado. For more, go to david

John Sabin

John Sabin has been a Great Lakes Regional Co-coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby since 2019. He is a co-lead of CCL's Buddhist Action Team. He has also worked as a clinical social worker since 1990, mostly in mental health but also in the field of hospice and palliative care. He has been practicing Soto Zen Buddhism under the guidance of Rev. Tozen Akiyama since 1987. He lives in Oberlin, Ohio, with his partner Kathy and their dog, Bialy. Their adult daughters don't live too far away!

Wen Stephenson

Wen Stephenson is a veteran journalist, essayist, and climate-justice activist. A frequent contributor to The Nation and The Baffler, he is the author of What We’re Fighting for Now Is Each Other: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Climate Justice (Beacon Press, 2015). His forthcoming book is Learning to Live in the Dark, a series of essays on climate, politics, and literature. He was an editor at The Atlantic and the Boston Sunday Globe before turning to the fight for climate justice in 2010. He is an active member of a progressive Episcopal Church parish and a longtime member of the Open Meadow Zen Group in Lexington, Massachusetts, and of the Kwan Um School of Zen. For more, go to:

Contributing Artists

Sharon Choa
Composer and Musical Director

Sharon Choa (Ji Jae) is an orchestral conductor, teacher, and creative entrepreneur. She holds the position of Professor of Music in Conducting & Cultural Leadership at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. In her career, she has founded a number of ensembles that are well-known for their innovative programming. Recently, she has joined hands with National Geographic and the World Wildlife Fund to develop concert ideas that deliver to audiences strong messages of the need to conserve our planet earth and calls them to action. Sharon is a Zen student at the Su Bong Zen Monastery in Hong Kong. She took five precepts in 2020 under the guidance of Zen Master Dae Kwan.

Dan Dill

Based in Boston, Dan is a professor emeritus (chemical physics) at
Boston University and rows on the Charles River. He jumped into the Kwan
Um School of Zen with both feet in the summer of 1996, doing a 90-day
Kyol Che (long retreat) at Hwa Gye Sa in Seoul, South Korea. The solitude and mountain light awakened his deep interest in landscape photography on a 100-day solo retreat over the winter of 1999-2000 in western Massachusetts. Dan is especially drawn to northern and polar regions because of their tranquility. His photography collection is at

John Feely

John Feely is an Australian photographer whose inexperience with blood ancestry make his connection to the world distinctively universal. Consequently, his practice embodies a life-long discovery of kinship with all things. John has a 15 year background working with adolescents in behavior management, special education and youth detention. Often supplementing his photography with this type of work, he lives on-site in various communities and locations around the world, including the harsh landscapes of Mongolia. John Feely’s work has been exhibited internationally and he was a recipient of the Canon SUWP grant. He was named one of Lens Culture’s top 25 Emerging photographers and Australian Emerging Photographer of the year and has been a guest mentor for the B.A Program at Photography Studies College, Melbourne, Australia. John is a member of Kwan Um Zen Online.

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Will you join us?

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Kwan Um Zen Online produces Spirit of Hope Zen Climate Summit 2024 in partnership with Providence Zen Center and the following production team:

Kwan Haeng Sunim JDPS
& the Providence Zen Center


Spirit of Hope Steering Committee

Myong An Sunim JDPS
Kathy Park JDPSN
Sonia Maruti
Hang Ruan
Garret H. Condon
Annie Choquette


Volunteers & Tech Support Team

Tech Support Team Members
Viviane Casimir
Mary Ann O’Donnell
Jason Quinn JDPSN
Martin Renegar

Administrative Support Members
Tamarind Jordan
Danielle Alpher