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Poetry as/and Practice: A Conversation with Joseph Goldstein

Online Program
Dates: Nov 30, 2023

Instructor(s): Joseph Goldstein and William Edelglass

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Program Description:

In recent years, Joseph Goldstein has made poetry a part of his practice. In this, he joins many other Buddhist teachers and practitioners who turned to the language of poetry to express their experience and wisdom and to help others along the path. We see this already in the Therīgāthā and Theragāthā, songs of insight, aspiration, and loss composed by the early generations of Buddhist monastics that were included in the Pāli Canon. Buddhist philosophers such as Nāgārjuna, who wrote sophisticated rational treatises, also often wrote poetry expressing their sense of devotion and wonder that moves their readers beyond the limits of reason. Poetry was at the heart of much East Asian Buddhism, where the beautiful play of language was cultivated as a practice. Today, Buddhist poets in Asia and the West have become some of our most skillful teachers, inspiring us on the path, presenting objects of meditation, revelation, and beauty. This conversation with Joseph Goldstein and William Edelglass, BCBS Director of Studies, will explore the practice of poetry. We will inquire into poetry as a practice of attention, of giving voice to our own experience and insights, of resting in what Joseph in one of his poems calls the “love of my lonely hours.”

As preparation for this conversation, we invite you to read this interview with Joseph on how poetry has become an element of his own practice. The interview, originally published in the fall 2023 issue of Tricycle and republished by permission in the BCBS Insight Journal, includes a selection of his poems. We also invite you to read this Insight Journal article, from the Spring 2020 issue, by William, “‘When I could do nothing’: Buddhism and the Practice of Poetry in a Time of Pandemic.”

Online Schedule:
This program is hosted on Zoom and closed captions are available. You can check the time of the group sessions in your timezone here: https://www.worldtimebuddy.com. The schedule of Zoom meetings for this program (shown in US Eastern Time) is as follows:

Meeting Time: Thursday, November 30, 7:30-9:00 PM ET

Please note that sessions will be recorded and made available to participants within 48 hours of each session. Recordings remain available for two weeks from the program end date with the exception of one-time events, available indefinitely on our website.

Cancellation Policy:
There are no cancellation fees for donation-based programs.

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):
  • Joseph Goldstein is a co-founder and guiding teacher of IMS. He has been teaching vipassanā and mettā retreats worldwide since 1974. In 1989, he helped establish BCBS and, more recently, IMS's Forest Refuge. He is the author of One Dharma, The Experience of Insight, and Insight Meditation, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom.

  • William Edelglass is Director of Studies at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.  He publishes broadly in Buddhist studies, environmental humanities, and philosophy.  William has practiced in several different Buddhist traditions and has taught widely in dharma centers, academia, as a wilderness guide, and at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, in Dharamsala, India.  William is chair of the board of directors of the International Association of Environmental Philosophy and co-editor of the journal, Environmental Philosophy. His most recent publication is The Routledge Handbook of Indian Buddhist Philosophy (2022).