Thoughts of Nonthinking: Dogen’s Teachings on Meditation, with Kanpu Bret W. Davis

Northeast USA  

May 17, 2014
10:00 amto4:00 pm

think-nonthinkingBDZen Center of New York City

Dogen stands out in the Zen tradition for two reasons that one might think contradict each other. On the one hand, more than anyone else in the tradition, he stresses the importance of seated meditation (zazen) as a practice of “just sitting” (shikantaza), a practice that involves “nonthinking” (hishiryo). On the other hand, more than anyone else in the tradition, he acknowledges the importance of reading and thinking about the dharma; he considers sutras and sayings of the masters as “expressive attainments of the Way” (dotoku), and he is generally considered to be the most “philosophical” figure in the Zen tradition.

Another paradox Dogen presents us with is the need to engage in ongoing practice even though the Buddha Nature is ubiquitous and so there is nothing to attain. Why do we need to practice when we are already standing in the midst of the ocean of the Buddha Nature? To understand Dogen’s Zen requires sitting and thinking through these paradoxes. Toward that end, in this retreat we will study and practice the teachings presented in Dogen’s first and programmatic text, Fukanzazengi (Universal Recommendation of Zazen), along with passages from other texts that develop the teachings of this concise and seminal work.

About the Instructor: Kanpu Bret W. Davis is an associate professor of philosophy at Loyola University Maryland who has published widely on German and Japanese philosophy as well as on Zen Buddhism. He is also a recognized teacher (sensei) of Rinzai Zen who has practiced Zen for 13 years in Japan (mostly at Shokokuji, one of the main monasteries in Kyoto), and leads the Heart of Zen Meditation Group in Baltimore. For more information, see www.loyola.edu/academic/philosophy/faculty/davis.aspx andwww.loyola.edu/zen.

Cost: $75 (MRO Students: $65)

For more information, or to register:
Thoughts of Nonthinking: Dogen’s Teachings on Meditation, with Kanpu Bret W. Davis
Zen Center of New York City
500 State Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 875-8229 • zcnyc@mro.org
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