A many stranded thread of practices aimed to end mental anguish joins the various Buddhisms. As a practitioner with twenty-seven years of experience meditating according to the guidance of teachers and texts from the Zen, Tibetan, and Theravada traditions, it is my experience that if we have an established, daily meditation practice, and if we engage the texts and teachings with courage, curiosity, creativity, and faith in our own capacity to realize the Buddha’s promises, we will see that we can use the meditation teachings from one school to clarify and enrich the meditation guidance from another. Thus fortified, we will achieve deeper levels of calm and insight and therefore, we will be closer to the end of our own mental anguish.
During my talk, and in the Q & A period that follows, those in attendances and I will explore the meditation guidance from three texts. The Maharahulovada Sutta, a text that shows the Buddha teaching his son, Rahula, how to meditate; Verses on The Faith Mind, a meditation poem by Seng-Tsan, the Third Zen Patriarch in China; and The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, a cornerstone of Nyingma meditation practice.
The goal of our exploration will be to experience how a creative and intelligent triangulation of meditation guidance from various Buddhist traditions can help us “…see things as they, … observe things as they are, and let everything go as it goes.” (Suzuki Roshi)
BIO: My name is Mark Nelson. I became a Zen practitioner in 1989. Zen is a school of Buddhism that originated as Ch’an in China. Both ch’an and zen simply mean meditation.
My Zen training is primarily in the lineage of the Japanese Master Taizan Maezumi Roshi. This training includes both Koan contemplation and an approach to meditation called Silent Illumination. Though most of my training is in the zen style, and though I am an ordained Soto Zen priest, I have also benefited greatly from training in other Buddhist schools including Vajrayana and Theravada approaches. In addition, I am a yoga student with Marc St. Pierre and consider Marc and Pam Gather to be my guides on the yoga branch of the Path.
I have degrees in philosophy (B.A., Phi Bata Kappa, University of Utah), Labor Relations (M.S., UMass-Amherst), and Sociology (M.A., Chancellors Fellow, U.C. Berkeley). In addition to being and ardent student of meditation, I teach ESOL at Training Resources of America in Salem, mathematics to adult HiSET students at Beverly Bootstraps, and I lead an effort to bring mindfulness training to the educational staff and to at-risk middle school students at Beverly Bootstraps.
All are welcome. A $15 donation is appreciated.