Zen Study Group

See our virtual practice schedule for meeting times.

April 2021

April Zen Study Group
Led by Chris Genyu Spinler

Zen Buddhism encourages practitioners to set aside their personal agenda, sit quietly in zazen, and work to understand the world on its own terms through patient and careful examination of day-to-day life. So doing, three fundamental insights may arise: (1) that nothing in the world exists inherently on its own, but instead requires (and implies) the existence of every other thing (emptiness), (2) that this being the case, there is no such thing as an inherently existing self anywhere to be found (absence of self), and (3) that qualities normally considered opposites (e.g., hot/cold, good/bad, self/other) are in fact mutually conditioning elements of an undifferentiated wholeness (identity of opposites/non-dualism).These themes are ubiquitous in Zen Buddhist literature, but the temptation exists to forgo deep consideration of the teachings in-and-of themselves in favor of investigations of their ethical and philosophical implications. While it is just these implications that manifest Zen insight in the wider world and help make Zen Buddhism a living and viable spiritual tradition, it is also important to work to understand what these teachings both do and do not say, the better to understand the foundations of Zen Buddhist thought and practice. The April discussion group will examine the themes of emptiness, absence of self, and the identity of opposites as presented by both contemporary Zen teachers (including Robert Aitken, Thich Nhat Hanh, Steve Hagen, and David Loy) and classical masters (including Dogen Zenji, Huang Po, and Shitou Xiqian). Materials for this discussion group will be posted on the DMZC Virtual Practice webpage.

April 14 reading – Nondualism