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Alumni Spotlight -- Spencer Ballantyne, 2015

Want to hear what Woodenfish alums have said about their experiences in our programs and their spiritual/professional paths? Alumni Spotlight will introduce you to our alums and their insights!

Spencer Ballantyne's Woodenfish Story

I heard about HBMLP from a Professor at Davidson College. My father passed away a year before. I had many questions and kept asking why. I wanted answers. Through the program, I learned about living in equanimity instead of having polarized emotions, and to have this state of appreciation.

One Take-away from the HBMLP (Humanistic Buddhist Monastic Life Program)

I learned mindfulness and to extend emotional awareness and have equanimity. This emotional awareness is particularly helpful in my career path in the entertainment industry where things are often unpredictable. I try to focus on the present and retain a calm mind.

How Has Buddhism Played into Your Career?

I loved reading Zen Koans and the book The Art of Happiness. The book helps me to deal with desire, and to recognize attachments and learn a more healthy way of living. Buddhism makes me more open to new ideas and understanding people and not getting caught up in trivial things, like the obsession with the outward appearance. The entertainment industry is very unpredictable and Buddhism has helped me to navigate inconstancies and be present. It has taught me to be appreciative so the industry doesn't wear on you. Sometimes the industry is all about the self. But in Buddhism, at the end of the day, it’s not about the Buddha, which would be crazy in other religions. For example, it would be crazy to say Jesus doesn’t matter. (In the end, it is about achieving personal enlightenment and helping others do so.) I do stand-up comedy where I need to make fun of yourself. Sometimes the self is not important.

A Quote from Spencer

"Sometimes, the self is not important."

Note: The content above is transcribed from an interview with Spencer Ballantyne, and parts are verbatim transcription, others are paraphrases.

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