Recognizing Our Pure Potential: Buddha Nature in East Asian Buddhism, with Tao Jiang

Northeast USA  

November 2, 2013
10:00 amto4:00 pm

Zen Center of New York City

Buddha Nature is arguably the most important teaching in Chinese Buddhism, including Zen (or Chan). It is usually understood to mean that all sentient beings have the potential to achieve enlightenment and to realize the Buddha within. However, we do not recognize this “inner Buddha” without going through vigorous training prescribed by various Buddhist teachings. Although it is taught in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, Buddha Nature has come to define Chinese, and to a large extent East Asian, Buddhism. As a vital part of the larger East Asian Buddhist tradition, Zen is an important participant in the discussion of Buddha Nature and is a major contributor to that discourse — so much so that Buddha Nature has permeated every aspect of Zen training and practice.

In this retreat, we will examine various facets of the concept of Buddha Nature. We will look into the transmission and transformation of Buddhism from India to China that pushed Buddha Nature to the center of Buddhist universe. Our discussion will be guided by questions like: what problems did the notion of Buddha Nature address in medieval China, and why was this so important to Chinese Buddhists? In addition, we will investigate the tension between the Dharma as the eternal teaching of the Buddha and the cultural, historical, and intellectual vicissitudes of Buddhism’s international journey. Finally, we will explore the practical implications of Buddha Nature for modern-day Zen practitioners.

About the Instructor: Tao Jiang is Associate Professor of Buddhist and Chinese Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Religion at Rutgers University. He is the author of Contexts and Dialogue: Yogācāra Buddhism and Modern Psychology on the Subliminal Mind and the lead editor of The Reception and Rendition of Freud in China: China’s Freudian Slip. He is the book review editor of the Journal of Buddhist Philosophy and is a co-chair of the Neo-Confucian Studies Seminar at Columbia University.

Cost: $75 (MRO Students: $65)

For more information, or to register:
Recognizing Our Pure Potential, with Tao Jiang
Zen Center of New York City
500 State Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 875-8229 •