Actualizing a Realizational Practice: Zen Meditation & Psychoanalysis

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Online Via Zoom

All psychoanalytic theories are nothing but manic defenses against existential anxiety.”        

~ James Grotstein

All of those teachings are nothing but yellow leaves used to stop an infant’s cry.”       

 ~ Baso

 Meditation functions as the core practice and foundational teaching of the Zen Buddhist tradition. This silent retreat will be an opportunity for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, mental health professionals and interested individuals to practice meditation intensely in a day-long, intensive retreat framed in the holding environment provided by the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition. Experience with Zen meditation practice is not necessary. People from all meditative backgrounds – experienced or with little or no experience- are welcome.

This retreat, specially tailored to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and mental health professionals, within the context and structure of the traditional and formal Soto Zen silent retreat format, will include presentations and discussions on the interrelation between Buddhism and psychoanalysis and opportunities for dokusan (private one-to-one discussions with the teacher).

Seiso Paul Cooper, Sensei will present on Bion and Dogen to frame and facilitate the interrelation and integration of Buddhism and psychoanalysis. Periods of sitting meditation are scheduled throughout the day and opportunities for private interviews will be part of the schedule.

The British psychoanalyst, Wilfred Bion (1897-1979) and the Soto Zen master, Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), were both highly creative and brilliant writers and thinkers whose works, while distinct, share many areas of overlap. They both exerted a radical impact on their respective disciplines. However, despite the highly regarded philosophical and theoretical complexity of their teachings, they both shared the agenda of strengthening and deepening experiential realizational practice with an insistent emphasis on the present moment. They both strived for authenticity. The direct experience of practice animates their teachings and brings them to fruition for both Zen practitioners and psychotherapists in the Twenty-first Century. Both are directly applicable to religious realization and effective clinical work from the realizational perspective.

We invite you to participate in an exploration of these great thinkers deeply centered and nurtured in the shared intimacy of a practice-oriented silent retreat environment grounded in extensive meditation practice, which, in the spirit of Dogen and Bion, will function as the nodal point of the retreat.

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