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Zen on the Trail: Being Fully in Nature as Nature
Dates: May 29, 2020 - May 31, 2020
Days: Fri - Sun (2 Nights)

Instructor(s): Chris Ives

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Non-duality, dependent arising, and other Buddhist teachings can help us realize the interconnection between ourselves and nature and enhance our outdoor experience. With a blending of classroom discussion and time outside, we will explore ways of attending to our senses, calming our minds, and thereby becoming open to and filled by what is around us. To support this shift from ego-driven doing to spirit-filled being, we will draw from Dōgen’s instructions to pour ourselves into the action at hand (gūjin) and realize how things presence themselves (genjō) just as they are in their suchness (Skt. tathatā). Outdoor activities will include walking moderately steep trails, so please bring sturdy walking shoes, as well as rain gear. The course will try to accommodate all abilities by offering a range of outdoor practices. Participants are encouraged, but not required, to read Zen on the Trail before the program.

Learning Intentions:

To understand Dōgen’s practice of pouring ourselves into the practice at hand (gūjin) as it relates to walking meditation; understand Dōgen’s presencing of things (genjō) as it relates to mindfulness and awakening; integrate Buddhist teachings of non-duality and dependent arising (interbeing) into a felt sense of embodiedness and embeddedness in nature.

Noble Silence and Mindful Speech:

Noble silence will be observed following the evening session through breakfast the following morning as well as during walks on the trails.

Experience Level:

Suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.

  • Christopher Ives, PhD, is a professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College. In his teaching and writing he focuses on modern Zen ethics, and currently he is working on Buddhist approaches to nature and environmental issues. He is the author of Zen Awakening and Society and Imperial-Way Zen: Ichikawa Hakugen’s Critique and Lingering Questions for Buddhist Ethics.