Zen Monastery Welcomes Transgenders
A new Phoenix AZ Zen Monastery welcomes transgenders as novitiate monks to its private boarding school, along with male and female applicants. It opens its doors on January 1, 2016. "Transgenders often have difficulty fitting in with their peers," says founder George Arthur Lareau, aka Sufi George. "In our monastery, transgenders will not face discrimination."
Phoenix, AZ, July 10, 2015 (Newswire.com) - A new Phoenix AZ Zen Monastery welcomes transgenders as novitiate monks to its private boarding school, along with male and female applicants. It opens its doors on January 1, 2016.
“Transgenders often have difficulty fitting in with their peers,” says founder George Arthur Lareau, aka Sufi George. “In our monastery, transgenders will not face discrimination. We accept transgenders as one more expression of nature’s diversity.”
The American Zen Monastery is accepting applications for novitiate monks ages 10 and up. The monks will receive training in a science-based approach to enlightenment in addition to online public schooling. They will also be taught photography and filmmaking to provide future career opportunities.
AZM is a development of the Sufi George Mission, active on the web and in book publishing since 1988. SGM promotes updating common sense with current scientific breakthroughs, and teaches Consciousness Management as a modern pathway to enlightenment.
“When it comes to applying oneself to achieving deep self-understanding and the skills for experiencing alternate realities, gender is completely irrelevant,” says Lareau.
Historically, monkhood has been restricted to males, but Lareau says that he has Americanized his approach to teaching Zen and that he mostly ignores the “cultural claptrap” that has attached itself to traditional monastic pursuits. “Today, we need to dump traditions and employ the power of scientific understanding.”
Science, he says, opens a pathway that is very efficient for achieving enlightenment, instead of the lifelong dedication traditionally required (with no guaranteed results in one lifetime).
In particular, developing lucid dreaming skills can open up access to alternate realities where moving on to enlightenment is a practical possibility.
Also, AZM teaches “intelligent meditation.” This, too, is science-based, learning the four brainwave states and how to identify the state one is in during meditation. “Meditation involves a lot more than simply closing your eyes,” Lareau says.
AZM monks will benefit from a healthy, almost sugar-free organic vegetarian diet. “The diet is not seen as a spiritual practice, but simply as a road to good health and longevity,” Lareau points out, adding that some traditional paths to enlightenment believe that a vegetarian diet is a necessary aspect of self-development. “Where is the science in that?” he asks.
In fact, mere belief is an anathema to spiritual progress, according to Lareau. “Belief is silly when actual knowledge can be used instead, and today we have that knowledge,” he explains. “Belief is just too simple-minded and can lead you down any of thousands of paths, none of which has a basis in science.”
AZM’s private boarding school will operate on a 365-day school year. Parents and sponsors may visit their child monthly and enjoy a day together away from the monastery. Monks will be treated to recreational outings Sunday afternoons.
Lareau has experience as a child welfare social worker, a minister, and a media expert. He is author of numerous books and has been a featured speaker in many venues. He has taught classes in Japan and China as well as in the U.S.