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Compassion Retreat: Pure Land Practices in Shin, Zen, and Vajrayana

Residential Program
Dates: Mar 28, 2024 - Mar 31, 2024
Days: Thursday - Sunday
Number of Nights: 3 nights

Instructor(s): Ruben Habito, Judith Simmer-Brown, and Mark Unno

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Program Description:

In much of Asia, Amitabha and Pure Land Buddhist practices are much more widespread than silent seated meditation practices such as Zen meditation or Vajrayana visualization, which are predominantly the province of the monastic and the ordained. Yet, Pure Land practices are among the richest and most profound resources for realizing boundless compassion in a world filled with the suffering of all beings: human and non-human, lay and ordained. Well-suited to lay practitioners in the West, these practices make possible a deep realization of great compassion outside the monastic context.  

This program will include silent contemplation, chanting, Dharma presentation, and group discussion. This is a rare opportunity to learn and practice with three senior teachers: Zen teacher Ruben Habito of Maria Kannon Zen Center and Southern Methodist University; Judith Simmer-Brown of Shambhala and Naropa University; and Mark Unno, 14th generation Shin Buddhist priest in his family lineage and the University of Oregon. Ruben, Judith, and Mark all bring a deep knowledge of Pure Land compassion practices as well as other lineages along with a history of collaboration and mutual learning across Buddhist traditions.

Noble Silence:
Noble silence will be observed following each evening session through breakfast the following morning. Additional silent practice periods will be scheduled throughout the program.

Experience Level:
Suitable for beginning and experienced practitioners.

Cancellation Policy:
This policy applies to all residential and Path programs. Please note cancellation fees are at most $50 for those receiving financial assistance. Prior to six weeks before the program start date, cancellation fees are $50 for all programs more than two nights and $25 for programs two nights or less. 50% of your deposit is forfeited if you cancel between two and six weeks of the program start date. 100% of your deposit is forfeited if you cancel less than two weeks before the program start date.

Covid-19 Safety Protocol:
Please review our Covid-19 Safety Protocols here: https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/covid-19/.

As we work to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming. Please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.
    About the Instructor(s):
  • Ruben Habito received Zen training under Kōun Yamada Rōshi in Kamakura, Japan, and is Guiding Teacher at Maria Kannon Zen Center in Dallas, Texas. He also teaches at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and is author of Be Still and Know: Zen and the Bible (2017), Zen and the Spiritual Exercises (2013), among others. Married to Dr. Maria Reis Habito, together they are blessed with two adult sons, Florian and Benjamin.

  • Judith Simmer-Brown, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies Emeritx at Naropa University, where she has taught for over 40 years. She is a senior Shambhala dharma teacher, a former acharya, who teaches Vajrayana Buddhism, Shambhala teachings, and compassion programs. Simmer-Brown is the founder of Naropa's Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education (CACE), a compassion trainer for the Compassion Initiative, and the author of Dakini’s Warm Breath:  The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism (Shambhala).

  • Mark Unno, PhD, is Professor of Buddhism and Dept Head of Religious Studies at the University of Oregon. The recipient of the Thomas F. Herman Distinguished Teaching Award, he is the author of Shingon Refractions (2004) as well as many articles on Shin and Zen Buddhism and comparative religion. He is also an ordained Shin Buddhist priest. Please visit Mark's website here.