I. About the Helen Graham Park Foundation (HGPF)
The Helen Graham Park Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1994 to honor the life of Helen
Graham Park, a successful international architect and life-long student of consciousness, healing and the mind-body connection. Mrs. Park worked closely with C.V. Starr, an international insurance magnate and philanthropist with strong ties to East and South East Asia. In her free time, she devoted herself to the study of cross-cultural models of consciousness including Jungian psychology, quantum physics, Buddhism, and the medical traditions of China, Persia, India and Tibet. Mrs. Park maintained an avid interest in Tibetan Buddhism and spent a year in India in the 1940’s collaboratively researching Tibetan medical texts with her partner Theos Bernard, an internationally acclaimed scholar of India and Tibet and a pioneer in the study of Hatha yoga. She left behind an extensive archive of writings and personal papers documenting her exploration of consciousness and healing and exemplifying, through her own life-story, the potential for humans to heal themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. These papers articulate a powerful and prescient vision of bringing the modern sciences into meaningful dialogue with the ancient wisdom traditions of the world to help humanity resolve the challenges of this era.
The Foundation honors Mrs. Park’s legacy and supports her vision through a series of ongoing programs designed to promote dialogue between the modern sciences and the wisdom traditions of the world [that will facilitate collaborative solutions to the challenges of the 21 century.] to explore how these traditions can collaboratively help humanity meet the challenges of the 21st century. The Foundation is also initiating plans to archive the complete Helen Graham Park Collection. The collection includes Mrs. Park’s personal diaries, journals and papers, a number of unpublished essays and personal effects of Theos Bernard, and a rare collection of valuable Tibetan paintings, texts and artifacts. Upon its completion, the archive will be open to scholars for research and its rare Tibetan will be made available for exhibit at museums and cultural institutions.
II. Programs at the Helen Graham Park Foundation
The Foundation honors Mrs. Park’s legacy and her vision of bridging modern sciences and the ancient wisdom traditions to facilitate collaborative and non-violent solutions to contemporary challenges through two programs: Cultural and Educational Programs and archiving The Helen Graham Park Collection.
Cultural and Educational Programs:
Since its inception, the Foundation has worked to honor Mrs. Park’s legacy by developing educational programs that promote the study of human consciousness, support holistic healing of mind, body and spirit and enhance dialogue between the physical and human sciences and the ancient wisdom traditions of the world. To date, the Foundation has focused on group therapy programs that integrate the latest in psychotherapy techniques with spiritual growth as encouraged in the 12-step recovery methodology. In addition, the Foundation supports and sponsors programs to promote awareness and help preserve the rich cultural and spiritual traditions of Tibet. The Foundation is currently developing a series of programs that integrate Buddhism and psychotherapy to promote understanding of the mind-body connection and facilitate healing.
Past Programs include:
• Summer/Fall 1998: weekly therapy group for battered women, sponsored by the HGPF in collaboration with Escapes, a battered women’s advocacy group, and serving remote, coastal communities in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, CA.
• Fall 2000–Spring 2002: bi-weekly “Remembered Wellness” support group for individuals living with chronic illness, serving remote, coastal communities in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, CA.
• Fall 2000-Fall 2001: bi-monthly “Spiritual Ecology” educational study group to promote environmental awareness and sustainable living and development.
• Fall 2000-Fall 2003: weekly “Growth Group” support group for women in recovery, serving remote, coastal communities in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties, CA.
• December 2007: 5-day personal growth workshop at Pocket Sanctuary, Tubac, Arizona, co-facilitated by Barbara Findeisen, MA, LMFT, a leading expert in the field of Pre-and Perinatal psychology, Phagyab Rinpoche, a ranking Tibetan lama from Lithang Monastery, Tibet, and David Hobby, Ph.D., a psychologist trained in Native American shamanic healing practices.
• January 2007: co-sponsored Sacred Sand Mandala Event, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, featuring Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Tibetan Drepung Gomang Monastery in Karnataka, South India.
Scheduled Workshops and Programs include:
• April 2007: “What is right Relationship: Where psychotherapy meets Buddhism,” a 3-day psychotherapy workshop at Ocean Song retreat facility, Occidental, CA, to be co-faciliated by Barbara Graham, LMFT, and Phagyab Rinpoche, a ranking Gelugpa Tibetan Buddhist lama.
• April 2007: “Modernizing Tibet with Compassion from the Grassroots On Up,” an evening with Mr. Tamdin Wangdu, Founder and Director of the Tibetan Village Project, a non-profit, non-political organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development in rural Tibet while preserving Tibet’s rich cultural heritage, to be held in Oakland, CA.
• (TBA) “The Spiritual Medicine of Tibet,” a four-part workshop series on Tibetan healing practices and its implications for Western holistic healing, to be held in Miami, FL.
III. The Helen Graham Park Collection
The Foundation has recently initiated plans to archive the complete Helen Graham Park Collection, a unique collection of Indo-Tibetan materials of great historical, cultural and aesthetic value to scholars and the public alike.
The collection features a cache of rare Tibetan materials acquired by Dr. Theos Bernard, an eminent, early 20th-century scholar of India and Tibet, and inherited by his third wife and research colleague, Helen Graham Park. A pioneer of Indian and Tibetan studies at Columbia University, Mr. Bernard made international headlines when he traveled to Tibet in 1937 with the blessings of Tibetan government. The third American to ever set foot on Tibetan soil, and one of few foreigners allowed to visit the forbidden “Land of Snows,” Theos Bernard spent four months in Central Tibet conducting extensive research of Tibet’s rich Buddhist civilization. His passion for Tibetan Buddhist civilization and knowledge of Tibetan language and customs earned him the trust and admiration of ranking Tibetan aristocrats, government and monastic officials and won him unprecedented access to Tibet’s monasteries and their sacred rituals. These connections enabled Mr. Bernard to amass an extensive library of rare Tibetan Buddhist texts and manuscripts and a sizeable collection of Tibetan sacred art and cultural artifacts.
The Helen Graham Park Foundation is privileged to have a small but important selection of Mr. Bernard’s Tibetan acquisitions. Our collection features seven antique thangkas ornamented with gold leaf paint and set in brocade, and over seventy Tibetan Buddhist texts, text fragments and manuscripts. The textual collection is significant for its antiquity and for the wide array of Tibetan literary genres represented within it including Buddhist logic, grammar and philosophy, spiritual biography, ritual, liturgy, medicine, and history.
In addition, the collection holds an important selection of Theos Bernard’s unpublished essays, notebooks, correspondences and valuable historical documents from his historical 1937 trip to Tibet. These include records of official communications, accounts of expenditures and receipts, international telegrams and a fourteen-part inventory, composed in Tibetan, itemizing the hundreds of Tibetan texts and artifacts he acquired in Tibet. These rare documents offer significant historical data about Mr. Bernard’s illustrious scholarly and quasi-diplomatic legacy of interest to scholars of religion, Asian cultures and world history. They also offer invaluable snapshots of life in Tibet prior to the devastating Chinese communist invasion of 1949 and illuminate critical, little-known facts about Tibet’s traditional governance, monastic structures, religious curricula and social practices. As Tibetan culture and civilization continue to wane in the modern period, Tibet’s rich repertoire of Buddhist arts and sciences are at great risk of disappearing. In preserving and archiving this important collection, the Helen Graham Park Foundation hopes to make a small but significant contribution to preserving Tibet’s unique cultural and historical legacy and to promoting better understanding of Tibet’s sophisticated civilization.
The last section of the collection contains the complete archive of Helen Graham Park, Theos Bernard’s research colleague and third wife. Mrs. Park was a successful international architect who worked closely with C.V. Starr, an international insurance magnate and philanthropist with strong ties to East and South East Asia. In her spare time, Mrs. Park devoted herself to the study of consciousness, healing and the mind-body connection. She maintained a particularly avid interest in Tibetan Buddhism and spent a year in the Indian Himalayas in 1947 collaboratively researching Tibetan medical texts with Mr. Bernard under the guidance of Tibetan scholars. After Mr. Bernard’s untimely death later that year, Mrs. Park resumed her work as an architect for C.V. Starr but continued to pursue her interests in human consciousness privately. Upon retiring in 1968, she committed herself to full-time study of modern and ancient methods for healing mind and body.
Mrs. Park left behind an extensive archive of writings and personal papers which document her exploration of consciousness and healing and exemplify, through her own life-story, the potential for humans to heal themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Her archive includes her translations of Tibetan texts on medicine, metallurgy, logic, philosophy, and biography, and extensive personal diaries and notebooks documenting her research of Tibetan Buddhism, Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, Jungian psychology and other psychotherapeutic traditions, and quantum physics. These writings offer timely and prescient insights illuminating how the physical and human sciences can be bridged with the ancient healing traditions of the world to shed light upon the nature of consciousness and the innate human potential for self-healing.
To date, the Foundation has completed a preliminary survey of its Tibetan text collection and a preliminary finding aid of its Theos Bernard holdings, in consultation with two leading Tibetologists. It is now preparing to archive the complete collection with specific plans to professionally clean and preserve its Tibetan thangkas, catalogue the Helen Graham Park and Theos Bernard papers, digitize the Tibetan textual collection and thangkas, and create an online scholar’s finding aid of the complete collection. The Foundation’s goals in creating this archive are to: 1) catalogue, preserve and maintain the collection for posterity, 2) provide an on-line inventory of its holdings for scholars interested in researching the collection, 3) make its digitized holdings available electronically to scholars worldwide and 4) make its Tibetan collection available for exhibits at museums and cultural institutions.