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Time and Human Conditioning
Dates: Feb 24, 2017 - Mar 01, 2017
Days: Fri - Wed (5 Nights)

Instructor(s): Sayadaw U Jagara, Mathieu Boisvert, Mu Soeng

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An ancient Buddhist dialogue asks the question, “Time, kāla, that which consumes all and which consumes itself as well. But who does consume the all-consumer?” and is answered, “Those who, with the light of knowledge, outshine the fire of craving.” (Mūlapariyāya Jātaka, 346). The notion of time is central to our human condition. It is our constant companion and we live with it in numerous conscious and unconscious patterns. This five-day study seminar will explore the relationship of time to human lives primarily through the vast Theravada literature, but will also reference itself in wider Buddhist and South Asian contexts as well. Different literary genres, (sutta, jātaka, abhidhamma, aṭṭakathā [commentaries]) will be analyzed and will yield various ways of interpreting this complex construct: mythical, cyclical, momentary, etc. Parallels will also be drawn from other religious and philosophic traditions. The seminar will consist of didactic presentations as well as open-ended discussions with and among participants. Specific meditation practices will be offered throughout the seminar to allow concrete observations of manifestations of time.

  • Mu Soeng is Scholar Emeritus at BCBS. He trained in the (Korean) Zen tradition and was a monk for eleven years. He is the author of Thousand Peaks: Korean Zen (Tradition and Teachers); The Diamond Sutra: Transforming the Way We Perceive the World; Trust in Mind: The Rebellion of Chinese Zen; The Heart of the Universe: Exploring the Heart Sutra, and co-author of Older and Wiser: Classical Buddhist Teachings on Aging, Sickness, and Death.