Hello, my name, at least here, is Rev. Panda. While this is not my real name, it serves as somewhat of a moniker to the outside world. I am the custodian of the Xiong Nai Xin Retreat, which is run primarily out of my home and here on the internet. The Retreat is a place of harmony, peace, and solace from the outside world. It is a place where a soul can relax for a short time before returning to their paths. It was created with the spiritual paths of Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism in mind, a place to find one’s self.
While the retreat is explained and experienced elsewhere, here is a bit about me. I was ordained in 1995 as a minister of the Universal Life Church in Modesto California. At the time, I was following German heathenism and Asatru. While I have never served as the priest or head of a formal church or parish, I have roughly 2-3 dozen people who count me as their priest and as their community spiritual leader. Many of them live in cities far away from the retreat and communicate with me either through online conversations or phone conversations. This was one of the reasons (among a few others) that I created the online Retreat.
Over the decades, I have shifted my focus. I have not stopped learning about my ancestors and roots, however my life took a turn towards a more peaceful existence. I follow a personal Unitarian Universalistic path that combines elements of Taoism and Earth Religions along with Universalist teachings and other Eastern religions/philosophies (Zen, Buddhism, Hindu, etc.).
I believe that every person is unique and must find their own path through life. While there are areas and directions that these paths may follow that coincide with various religions and ideals, no two paths are exactly the same. Because of this, I believe that faith and belief is a personal journey.
My formal (Undergraduate) training is in Public Health and Sociology with specializations in Emotional Health and Multicultural Health. My ongoing graduate study is in Public Health with a specialization in Comparative and Complimentary Health Systems. I am a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) who focuses on educating my community about personal wellness, emotional/spiritual wellness, and mind/body connections.
As an ordained minister, I have worked with various Earth Religion and heathen communities, the GLBT community, college students, families, as well as singles. My personal study interests are in Civil Rights and Liberties, Human Rights, and Poverty Alleviation.
I consider myself an eclectic type of priest combining some of the traditions of street preacher, lay monk, religious scholar, and hometown minister. Growing up in an evangelical home and watching a father who was a minister and street preacher influenced my way of thinking as well as interacting with people. This doesn’t mean however that I will be standing in the middle of a sidewalk, virtual or otherwise, telling you to repent or be damned. My own personal path is one of helping, healing, and protecting not of proselytizing and converting.
While considered more monologues than actual sermons, the Musings here as well as the Poetry (Haiku mostly), and Informational posts are designed to give readers a point of jumping off on their own paths, support of the Three Jewels of Taoism (Compassion, Simplicity, and Humility), and a time of being with the Self. Nothing written here is meant as a final treatise on what is and is not right. This is simply my views on select subjects, many focused on love, harmony, peace, and compassion.
I hope you as the reader enjoy my little corner of the world and feel like it helps in some way. If you have any comments, suggestions, or feedback please use the form below. All information is private and will remain so.