Craving Delusion, Avoiding Liberation: Buddhist Practice and Addiction, with Shugen Sensei

New York City  

June 29, 2013
10:00 amto4:00 pm

Zen Center of New York City

Although we have no wish for suffering, being confused, we are greatly attached to its causes. — Shantideva

The Buddha taught that our desire to have pleasure and avoid discomfort gives rise to all our suffering. Tempted by access to easy pleasures, we become confused, disappointed, and increasingly anxious when the things we reach for do not satisfy our deeper yearnings for genuine contentment and peace. This dissatisfaction can lead us to desiring more and more. For some, these attachments become entrenched and physicalized addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, food, gambling, etc. All the while, our basic sense of ourselves becomes increasingly injured and loathed. This cycle — samsara — is never-ending. The Buddhist path is a way to break this cycle.

In this retreat, offered to those in recovery as well as anyone facing strong attachments, we’ll examine addiction from the perspective of Buddhadharma, studying the disease of grasping and the antidotes that practice offers. We’ll explore how addiction turns our positive qualities — confidence, self-reliance, trust, knowledge and intelligence — against us, perpetuating the suffering we seek to free ourselves from. We’ll also look at compassion and how “caring” for someone in the throes of addiction can actually hurt them. How do we care without becoming numb or giving up? How can accepting powerlessness over addiction reveal a taproot of great and enduring strength?

Shugen Sensei will lead this retreat, assisted by students in recovery who have examined and engaged the power of Buddhist practice to gain stability and sobriety. While having some experience with meditation practice and Buddhist teaching will be helpful, it is not necessary for the retreat.

About the Instructor: Shugen Sensei is the Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order and the abbot and resident teacher of the Zen Center of New York City. He also manages the National Buddhist Prison Sangha. Shugen Sensei has been in full-time residential training since 1986; he received dharma transmission from Daido Roshi in 1997.  While he lives primarily at ZCNYC, he shares his time between there and the Monastery. His teachings have appeared in various Buddhist journals and The Best Buddhist Writing 2009, and his first book, O, Beautiful End, a collection of Zen memorial poems, was published in 2012.

Cost: $75 (MRO Students: $65)

For more information, or to register:
Craving Delusion, Avoiding Liberation, with Shugen Sensei
Zen Center of New York City
500 State Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 875-8229 •