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Silent Illumination: The Practice and Realization of Natural Awakened Mind
Dates: Oct 28, 2022 - Oct 30, 2022
Days: Fri - Sun (2 Nights)

Instructor(s): Guo Gu

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In the Chinese Chan (Zen) tradition, silent illumination refers to the natural awakened mind. It is also a method of cultivation, the simultaneous practice of stillness and clear-seeing, quiescence and luminosity, or samādhi and prajñā. It is similar to the practices of śamatha and vipaśyanā (Pāli: vipassanā) in the Theravada tradition and the shikantaza (“just sitting”) practice of Japanese Soto Zen. Silent illumination, however, is also unique. As a practice it cannot be pigeonholed into distinct sectarian methods, intellectual knowledge, or some kind of reified experience that can be possessed. This study retreat will be based on the writings of Chan master Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157). We will explore several expedient means to cultivate silent illumination on and off the cushion, learning formal seated meditation practice as well as how to cultivate silent illumination in daily life. 

Noble Silence: 

Noble silence will be observed following the evening session on Friday night through breakfast on Sunday 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.

  • Guo Gu (Jimmy Yu) is a Chan (Zen) is the founder of the Tallahassee Chan Center and the founder of the socially engaged intra-denominational Buddhist organization, Dharma Relief. Guo Gu is also an Associate Professor of Buddhism and East Asian religions at Florida State University. He was the late Master Sheng Yen’s senior and closest disciples for close to four decades, nine of which as the master's attendant monk. He is the author of Silent Illumination (2021),  The Essence of Chan (2020), and Passing Through the Gateless Barrier (2016).