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On The Origins of Dogen's Zen (Advanced Buddhist Studies Lecture Series), CC 8/14

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Carl Bielefeldt
The Advanced Buddhist Studies Lecture Series
with Carl Bielefeldt
in the City Center dining room

Thursday, August 14, 2014
7:30 - 9 pm

According to traditional histories, Japanese Soto Zen began in 1227 when a young Eihei Dogen, fresh from his enlightenment in China, returned to his native soil. Such was the strength of his new conviction and the urgency of his new mission that, almost immediately upon disembarking, he proclaimed the virtues of shikantaza (sitting meditation) and set to work transmitting to his countrymen the teachings of its Chinese patriarch, his master, Ju-Ching (Rujing).

Dogen's work, deeply indebted to the heritage of the Buddhism its author sought to introduce from China, expressed the doctrine of enlightened practice and described the unique Soto meditation of non-thinking in which that practice is realized.

This lecture and discussion will focus on what set the stage for Dogen's own presentation of zazen in his meditation manuals, most famously the Fukanzazengi and the Shobogenzo. We will touch on a few of the details of Dogen's life and review the history of the Ch'an meditation literature before and during Dogen's day, reconstructing what Dogen said (and also what he did not say) about Zen meditation. Along the way we will reflect on how some of this material is related to earlier accounts of the subject.

Recommended Reading: Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation, by Carl Bielefeldt.

Other lectures in this series

Fees: $15; $13.50 current SFZC members; $12 limited income. (About Registration, Scholarships, and Cancellations.)

To Register: Use the ticket table below. Or call our toll free number (888.743.9362) or our local number (415.475.9362).
Although online sales have ended, space is still available. Please call during business hours Thursday or register at the door with cash or check.

About Registration, Scholarships, and Cancellations

Related Bio(s):

Carl Bielefeldt
Carl Bielefeldt, professor emeritus of religious studies at Stanford, studied Zen under Shunryu Suzuki and Kosho Uchiyama, and received his PhD in Buddhist studies from Berkeley in 1980. He is the author of Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation and other works on early Japanese Zen, and serves as an editor of the Soto Zen Text Project, which provides annotated English translations of the scriptures of Japanese Soto Zen.