Attachments as Addiction: Exploring Spiritual Power, with Shugen Sensei

Northeast USA  

May 3, 2014
10:00 amto4:00 pm

addictionBDZen Center of New York City

All our attachments are attempts to find satisfaction by depending on something outside of ourselves. Inherently unstable and unsustainable, such attachments are always accompanied by subtle fears. When attachments become addictions, this can create a strong perceived experience of insufficiency and powerlessness. Thus, whether we are speaking of substance addiction or attachment to identity, views, and desires, the heart of the problem is a spiritual matter: a deep disconnect between who we are and how to be in this world.

Twelve-step programs have been recognized for effectiveness in helping people break the addiction cycle. In this retreat, we’ll look at the first three of the twelve steps from the perspective of Buddhism and Buddhist practice — especially meditation. The Twelve steps begin with a recognition of this sense of lost power: admitting one’s powerlessness over the object of our addiction; believing in a greater power that can restore our sanity; deciding to turn our will and life over to this power. For students of the dharma, there are both important parallels and differences on the path to liberation from attachments, depending on how one understands and practices these guidelines.

As Buddhists (or for anyone who doesn’t identify with a belief in God), what does it mean to admit powerlessness over an attachment? What “greater power” is there to “restore us to sanity”? And what is “sanity” anyway? How might Buddhists understand the decision to “turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him”? We’ll explore how Buddhism and Buddhist practice can help us discover our own spiritual power, sanity, and basic dignity. This retreat is open to everyone interested in working with the mind of craving and addiction — including those who have no experience with twelve-step programs or Buddhism.

About the Instructor: Shugen Sensei received dharma transmission from Daido Roshi in 1997. He is Head of the MRO and abbot of Zen Center of New York City. Shugen Sensei also manages the National Buddhist Prison Sangha. He has been in full-time residential training since 1986. His teachings have appeared in various Buddhist journals and in The Best Buddhist Writing 2009. His first book, a collection of memorial poems titled O, Beautiful End, was published in 2012.

Cost: $75 (MRO Students: $65)

For more information, or to register:
Attachments as Addiction: Exploring Spiritual Power, with Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei
Zen Center of New York City
500 State Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 875-8229 •