Fighter pilot and the monk

Did you hear the one about the fighter pilot and the monk?

If that sounds like the beginning of a joke, think again! We just got an announcement for a speaking engagement featuring those unlikely bedfellows.

In this case, it’s a talk about staying fearless in a tough economy, featuring ordained monk Michael Roach and Navy Blue Angel pilot John Foley. The talks, to be held at the Westin Southfield at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, and Thursday, April 1, seems to be all about staying strong and making lemons out of lemonade.

But, seriously, a Buddhist monk and a fighter pilot? If Buddhism’s reputation for pacifism seems an odd fit for the death-from-above set, it just gets weirder. (Not that we’re experts here, and we understand there are some wrinkles to the Buddhism-equals-pacificism equation.) According to his brief biographical information, Roach is a “scholar, successful businessman, author and a fully ordained monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.”

The two nights of talks are free, but for a $265 fee you can join a three-day retreat, which includes all meals and a brunch on Easter Sunday.

According to Roach, “When I was asked to take part in this series of talks — the Fighter Pilot and the Monk — I saw it as an opportunity to help people who are in need. People in a down economy face all sorts of fears that can hold them back. So I’m excited about sharing a practical, real-world model for dealing with such fears — a model that can free people to see and reach their potential.”

We can only wonder if this sort of event appeals to people whose “fear” is air-to-ground missiles!

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