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Human Flourishing and the Evolution of Buddhism in the West
Dates: Oct 15, 2021 - Oct 17, 2021
Online Course

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 retreat 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?

Online Retreat: This retreat will be hosted on the Zoom video conferencing platform and closed captions are available. 

Our intention is to build sangha and provide meaningful virtual interactions with each other and with teachers in our online programs. When registering for this retreat, please plan to attend as many sessions as possible. The schedule of the retreat (shown in US Eastern Time) is as follows:

Friday, October 15

7:00 – 9:00 pm, Opening Session

Saturday, October 16

9:00 - 10:00 am, optional zazen

10:00 am - 12:00 pm, Morning Session

2:00 - 4:00 pm, Afternoon Session

7:00 - 9:00 pm, Evening Session

Sunday, October 17

9:00 - 10:00 am, optional zazen

10:00 am - 12:00 pm Closing Session

Please check the time of the group meetings in your timezone here.

Registration fees for online retreats are nonrefundable after the retreat start date. Cancellations prior to the start date of the retreat will incur a $25 admin fee. Thank you for your understanding.

As we work to become a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse 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.

  • 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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