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Human Flourishing and the Evolution of Buddhism in the West
Dates: Oct 15, 2021 - Oct 18, 2021
Days: Fri - Mon (3 Nights)

Instructor(s): Barry Magid, Max Erdstein

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Buddha means "one who is awake" and awakening or enlightenment is understood as the goal and essence of Buddhist practice. What is this awakening, and how has our understanding and expression of it changed as Buddhism and Zen practice has taken root in modern Western life?

In this course we will look at the many ways Buddhism has been transformed in the process of coming to the West, most notably the move away from a practice whose goal is nirvana, as defined by the extinction of self and the cessation of the cycle of karma and rebirth, to a practice focused on human flourishing (eudaemonia) in the midst of daily life. 

How have attachment, personal commitments, family, love and loss been reformulated in this transition from East to West? To what extent does the monastic life remain the epitome or ideal of practice? What do we now expect enlightenment to look like, and how would it change our life?

Noble Silence and Mindful Speech: 

Noble silence will be observed following the evening session through breakfast the following morning.

Experience Level:

Suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.

  • Barry Magid he has been teaching Zen for over 20 years, having received Dharma Transmission from Charlotte Joko Beck. A practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, he has been at the forefront of integrating Zen and psychodynamic theory, and has explored the pitfalls of emotional bypass and dissociation that all too often warp Buddhist practice. He is the author of “Nothing is Hidden: The Psychology of Zen Koans.”

  • Max Erdstein teaches at the Insight Meditation Center and the Insight Retreat Center. He is trained as a teacher by Gil Fronsdal. Max has practiced Vipassana and Zen in America, Japan, Thailand, and Burma. He received lay ordination from Sojun Mel Weitsman at the Berkeley Zen Center. Max completed the Spirit Rock/IMS Dharma teacher training program and trained in Buddhist chaplaincy with the Sati Center. With Gil he taught the first weeklong retreat at IRC in November 2012. Max holds an AB degree from Stanford and worked at Google for five years. He is a husband and father of two girls.


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