The ancient masters of Zen were adventurers, healers, seekers, lovers, and artists of joy. What are we doing if our practice is not adventurous? What are we doing if our practice is not healing? Can we seek without seeking, explore the internal and external environments with utter curiosity and interest? What is true love, without the texture of need? In modern, and probably ancient Zen as well, perfectionistic discipline seems to override the natural opportunities for joy and excitement. One of our basic human needs is fun; did you know that? In this talk, we will explore the freedom and life that is available in our modern Zen practice and dispel myths and misunderstandings of a Zen deadened by egoic fear and rote followership of the ordinary.
Looking at the practice from a different light: I had been scheduled to give a talk on the adventure of Zen Buddhist practice, but given the frightening circumstances in Ukraine, I have decided to shift the intention of my talk toward these current events. I will still weave in the theme of adventure in Zen practice, but from a very different light. Many of us are emotionally affected by the seemingly senseless war that has suddenly erupted in Eastern Europe. Added to global warming, a stressful pandemic, the effects of overpopulation on the environment, and the rise in awareness of systemic oppression, we human beings are carrying quite a load of anxiety, stress, fear, anger, depression, and confusion. Please join me for a talk and discussion focused on emotional and cognitive healing, making sense of our current reality, and applying our Zen practice in a new era of uncertainty.