A Buddhist Politics in Challenging Times

Zen Meditation and Compassionate Action

with Tom Redden
Tuesdays, May 23, June 6, June 13, June 20 | 7:15pm-9:00pm
Free & Open to the Public
Please Register Here

Attend any of the sessions…participation in the full series is not necessary.

This series is an exploration of how to embrace a “politics of compassion” at a time of great pain and suffering. We will begin at the individual level investigating the politics in our own hearts and minds. Through the practice of Zen meditation, we will examine the perplexing question of “who are we?” and how our “sense of self” is related to our political beliefs and attitudes. We will then move from our particular place in the world from a “systems perspective” to the larger political realm and how we fit into it. The series seeks to help build people’s meditation practice while helping them find a way to engage in the world with love and kindness.

Transforming Anger/Anxiety into Compassionate Engagement

About Tom:

The series will be led by Tom Redden, PhD, a Professor of History and Politics at Southern Vermont College, in Bennington, VT. Tom is also an ordained Zen Buddhist priest in the Zen Peacemaker Order and has maintained a 39-year daily meditation practice.

The classes will combine talks on meditation and politics as well as periods of sitting meditation. Beginning meditators are especially welcome.

Session Outline:

Session I (May 23): Developing Mindfulness- This meeting will focus on learning about Zen meditation practice, how to “sit” (meditate) and apply a moment-to-moment “mindfulness” practice to our daily activities. We will analyze the Buddhist view of our “sense of self” and show how an understanding of “self” can help with our own anxieties and stress in our lives.

Session II (June 6): Clinging to Opinions- We will continue with a further focus on zazen (sitting meditation) and introduce walking meditation, a more active form of meditation. We will discuss the role that opinions/concepts/ideas/judging play in our lives often leading to great suffering for ourselves and others.

Session III (June 13): A Buddhist Politics- Tom will introduce what he calls, “a Buddhist politics,” that seeks to move beyond the traditional conservative/liberal paradigms that dominate political discourse today. By applying the Buddhist principle of “alleviating suffering” to political decisions, we may discover how we might develop a political vision that speaks directly to the reality of people’s lives.

Session IV (June 20): A Bodhisattva Army- The final meeting will attempt to tie our individual lives and spiritual practices together with our political/social engagement, whether we are activists or not. We will explore “the path of the Bodhisattva,” the archetypal figure of compassion in Buddhism who “hears the cries of the world” and commits herself to a life of service to help heal the world.

Each session is by donation. Attend any of the sessions…participation in the full series is not necessary.
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