Erik Curren is a business leader, community activist, Buddhist meditator, and politician—who is running for state legislature in Virginia during the 2010 election period. Erik serves as the marketing director for the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA where he also volunteers on several local and statewide boards related to economic development, tourism, and the arts. He is also one of the founding board members of the Staunton Creative Community Fund, an innovative public-private partnership for economic development, which offers business advice and funding to local small businesses throughout the area.
An avid hiker, backpacker, and cyclist, Erik has enjoyed the outdoors all his life and has supported green initiatives for two decades. He is a member of the Sierra Club and served a term on the board of the Sierra Club Shenandoah Group. He is also a member of the Valley Conservation Council. And in 2008, he co-founded Staunton Green 2020, a citizens’ coalition to support energy efficiency and clean energy.
Erik has meditated in the Zen and Tibetan traditions for more than a decade, has done meditation retreats in the US and Europe, and has traveled to Asia to research his 2006 book Buddha's Not Smiling, about the controversy over selecting the current Karmapa lama. Like millions of Americans from Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein to contemporary scientists, corporate executives, and government officials, Erik finds that meditation helps him work more effectively and live a meaningful life. He also finds that Buddhist philosophy is a valuable complement to Christian teachings and an impetus for serving the community.