Jean Fazzino Lain

After raising four children and recently retiring from a career in public education, I found myself with spare time. Sage advice spoke to me advising me to focus my time and energy on what is most important to me. My heart-mind was clear: my family and my sangha.

My high school studies shifted me from belief in the Catholic church and trust in the US government towards a willingness to question the systems that control people’s lives. My connections with those who were dedicated to speaking truth to power inspired me to be of service to those most deeply impacted by systemic injustice. Through my peace and social justice activism, I met the Nipponzan Myōhōji Buddhist sangha and Thich Nat Hanh. I was transformed by the abiding compassion of those who had suffered at the hands of the US yet willingly shared their practice with and prayers for us.

A life dedicated to compassion-in-action blossomed within community life in Boston. While caring for the homeless and elderly, I engaged in acts of nonviolent civil- disobedience against the war in Vietnam, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and environmental degradation resulting from prioritizing greed over humanity. My Italian passion and innate sense of justice were nurtured through dharma teachings and I recognized Buddhism as the path to join the spiritual with the worldly.

My life led me to upstate New York where I intently focused on my growing family and the career necessary to support it. The time of home-schooling, organic gardening, canning and freezing abundant harvests, and chopping firewood, seemed to shrink my circle, yet blessed me with lovingly spacious time with my children. While physically separated from Sangha, I studied the dharma through books, recorded teachings, and travels to be in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Thich Nat Hanh. I felt spiritually connected and carried Buddhist practices into our home, a welcoming haven to soldiers and struggling women, and into the public education system where I served as a teacher and administrator.

When I reconnected with my dear friend in Kathe, I was introduced to NDF. It was through the Margha Program’s online offerings that my somewhat scattered practice came together and my re-connection to Sangha was made. The Margha program provides me with the sacred structure of practice, teachings, and sangha and I continue to participate, support and be infinitely grateful for it.

The NDF community inspires me with its collective commitment to conscious living within this world as we follow the traditional and sacred path of Buddhism. Now, on the cushion of my Buddhist practices, and off the cushion as I love and learn from beloved grandbébés there is a gentle harmony of this precious life as service for the benefit of all.

I am home.