"Zen Practice at 50"

I think we must establish an American way of Zen life. … To have our own way of life means to encourage people to have a more spiritual and adequate way of life as human beings.  And I think one day you will have your own practice in America.

  • Shunryu Suzuki, from the Epilogue in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

San Francisco Zen Center and the Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley invite you to “Zen Practice at 50,” a symposium on Zen practice, 50 years after Suzuki Roshi’s arrival in America.

Friday, August 28,
9:00 am – 4:30 pm:
San Francisco Zen Center
300 Page Street, San Francisco
Saturday, August 29,
9:00 am – 4:30 pm:
University of California, Berkeley
Lipman Room, Barrows Hall

May 23, 2009 marked the fiftieth anniversary of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi’s arrival in America. It is a time to appreciate this singular, momentous historic event that offers a springboard for a broader look at Zen practice in America over the past fifty years, its current place in American life, and its vision for the future.

Center for Buddhist Studies at University of California, BerkleyAs part of this ongoing dialogue, San Francisco Zen Center is co-hosting, with the Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, “Zen Practice at Fifty,” a two-day symposium on Friday, August 28 and Saturday, August 29. The symposium will be a mix of scholars and Zen teachers, including Hoitsu Suzuki, Norman Fischer, Edward Brown, Carl Bielefeldt, Grace Schireson, Robert Sharf, Richard Jaffe, and Wendy Adamek, who will create a forum for a lively exchange of ideas.

The first day, at the San Francisco Zen Center, will begin with a brief biographical and historical presentation on Shunryu Suzuki, including the cultural context of his Japanese background and his choices of how to offer Zen practice to Americans. The day will continue with considerations of what was happening in the 1960s in San Francisco, what people perceived Suzuki offered, and what they received from him.

The second day, at the University of California, Berkeley, builds on the first, examining the current state of Zen practice in America. This will include a consideration of what has been transmitted from Asia, what has changed, what has possibly been misunderstood, and how and what may have been lost in the transmission of Zen to America. Also addressed will be the effect of Zen on American culture, the challenges facing Zen teachers and practitioners, the sustainability of Zen practice as a movement, and the most helpful and effective ways to offer and teach the dharma.

Registration: The symposium is open on a first come, first served basis. (Day 1 is fully subscribed.) You can register for all or part of the event by email at events@sfzc.org
Donation:  The symposium is offered without charge. However, donations are gratefully accepted and will help ensure the continuation of Suzuki Roshi’s “beginner’s mind” practice in the world.

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Sponsors: We're seeking sponsors for this event. If you're interested in supporting Zen Center is this way, please contact Scott McDougall at (415) 354-0354 or email at scottmcdougall@sfzc.org