In both Eastern and Western traditions, spirituality has been defined in opposition to the body, its limitations, and its physical needs and desires. The spirit or soul was immaterial, timeless and pure; the body was material, the seat of sexuality and emotional attachment, subject to decay and death. Consequently, spiritual practices involved the denial, or renunciation of the body through celibacy, asceticism, mortification of the flesh, and the cutting of all personal ties under the rubric of home-leaving. This course will present a contemporary view of Dharma practice that attempts to undo the long-presumed dichotomy of body and spirit. Indeed, the Buddha’s fundamental realization of impermanence and interdependency is nowhere more immediately and viscerally evident than in the ever-changing needs, aging, sickness and death of our bodies.
This is a model of Zen for householders, not home-leavers. We will look at the implications of a meditation practice that does not aim to take us to a “higher” state of consciousness or promise transcendence of this bodily existence, but rather sees the Dharma as fully realizable and expressible in this body, this moment–the only life there is.
To collapse the painful dualities of body vs. spirit, actual vs. ideal, human vs. Buddha; reclaim the possibility of perfectly realizing the Buddha’s deepest teachings in the midst of the fullness of our everyday lives; and embrace Dharma practice as a whole person, whose body, desires, emotions, thoughts, intentions and awareness are all inseparable from our Buddha nature, all continually manifesting their inherent interdependence, impermanence and perfection, just as they are, right here and right now.
Noble Silence and Mindful Speech:
Noble silence will be observed following the evening session through breakfast the following morning.
Suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.