Zen Study Group

See our virtual practice schedule for meeting times.

March
Continuing April 1 and April 8 – Led by Christopher Genyu Spinler:Awakening, Realization, and Enlightenment: Historical Perspectives on a Challenging Notion”March — (continuing April 1 & 8): Realizing Buddhahood: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Experience of Awakening — Led by Christopher Genyu Spinler.

April  On April 15, the Zen Study Group will begin studying the poem the Hsin Hsin Ming, translated Faith in Mind, by the Third Patriarch of Zen, Jianzhi Sengcan (Jp. Kanchi Sosan).  The dates for this study group are April 15, 22, & 29.

The purpose of this study group is to familiarize ourselves with one of the most important poems in the Zen tradition.  It is hoped that study and discussion of this poem will increase our inspiration to practice as well as our understanding of the method of practice.  The emphasis of the Hsin Hsin Ming is on practice.  This study group should serve as a helpful guide to both aspiring and experienced practitioners.  

Throughout the study group, we will use as a guide the commentary of Ch’an (Zen) master Sheng Yen from his book, “Faith in Mind.” This study group will be led by Eishin Houghton.  The text of the poem will be available for download on the Zen Study Group page of the Des Moines Zen Center website after April 8, 2020.

May  — led by Vicki Joren Goldsmith  White Fragility, a book by Robin DiAngelo, deals with the defensive responses — anger, fear, guilt, etc. — of white people in racially-charged situations.  The book helps us explore compassionate ways to examine racist behavior, language, and feelings.  Daishin McCabe and Sara Seibert used the book in February to teach an online class, and they will be co-teaching this discussion with me.  In a way, the divisiveness in our nation can be seen as the 400-year racist underbelly of our culture. Having honest conversations about race can be a brave step toward changing our society and relieving the suffering of sentient beings.