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Impermanence is Buddha Nature: Exploring Time, Practice, and Realization
Dates: Oct 21, 2022 - Oct 24, 2022
Days: Fri - Mon (3 Nights)

Instructor(s): Barry Magid, Max Erdstein

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The Mahāparinirvāṇa Sutra states that “All sentient beings without exception have the Buddha-nature.” Practitioners often take this to mean that we all have the inner potential to become Buddha, to become enlightened. Using Joan Stambaugh’s Impermanence is Buddha-nature as our guiding text, we will explore how Dōgen rejected this traditional, perhaps common-sense interpretation of Buddha-nature in favor of something far more complex and radical. We will try to understand his view of practice that rejects any implication that it serves as a means or technique to the end of becoming enlightened, that practice is awakening. In addition to her study of Dōgen, Stambaugh also translated works of Martin Heidegger, most famously Being and Time. We will explore these two seemingly very different thinkers, engaging them in dialogue regarding temporality and its relation to our life and practice.

Noble Silence: 

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

Experience Level:

This course is suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

Three spaces will be held for self-identified BIPOC participants until eight weeks before this course begins when they will be released generally. Therefore, we encourage you to join the waitlist even if the course appears full as additional spaces may become available. Please see our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies for more information.

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.