June 27, 2011
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There is a Zen koan that asks what does the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the embodiment of compassion, do with all those hands and eyes?
Since she began teaching 25 years ago, Enkyo Roshi has fostered the imperative of social engagement in the practice of Zen Buddhism at her center in New York City. The question of what to do with all those “ hands and eyes” points us to the heart of the matter: how do we fully engage in our life, which is also the life of the world? How do our Buddhist teachings and practices lead us naturally to a life that actively engages the world around us?
Roshi will discuss such dangers on the path as infatuation with other-worldliness, the illusion of separateness, and self-centered practice. How can we move into a more skillful understanding of the teachings? How can we be aware, courageous and wise?
First we engage the here and now; the awareness of the suffering around us, and specific remedies that we can offer such as listening, holding a hand, serving food, tutoring, offering work. Then, with the insights that arise out of this, we begin to recognize the broader social structure that brings the present suffering into being. And we find ways to change them.
Roshi will offer a dharma teaching, exercises and meditations as methods of inquiring into what stops us from active engagement.
Image: © Danuta Otfinowski
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