Realizational Practice Study Group


Actualizing a Realizational Practice: Buddhist Meditation & Psychoanalysis


Seiso Paul Cooper, Sensei, Mark Finn, Pilar Jennings & Karen Morris

Friday, October 22 – Sunday October 24, 2021

14 Mary’s Way, Rt. 9D, Garrison, N.Y. 10524

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 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. The direct experience of practice animates their teachings and brings them to fruition for both Buddhist practitioners and psychotherapists in the Twenty-first Century. Both are directly applicable to religious realization and effective clinical work. This silent retreat will be an opportunity for psychoanalysts and psychotherapists and the interested individual to practice meditation intensely in a retreat framed in the holding environment provided by the Soto Zen meditation 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 will include presentations and discussions on the interrelation between Buddhism and psychoanalysis with an emphasis on both Bion and Dogen with an eye toward similarities and differences.

It is in the spirit of these great thinkers that we offer this silent retreat, which is specially tailored for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychologists, mental health practitioners, and seekers of the Dharma within the context of a Soto Zen Buddhist retreat structure and includes Zen, Tibetan meditation practices, a daily Social Dreaming Matrix, presentations and discussions on the interrelation between Buddhism and psychoanalysis and opportunities for private one-to-one discussions with the teachers.

Meditation functions as the core practice and direct expression of the foundational teachings of the major Buddhist traditions. This silent retreat will be an opportunity for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, mental health professionals and interested individuals to engage in intense and extended meditation practice in the Soto Zen and the Tibetan Buddhist traditions.  Experience with meditation practice is not necessary. Individual and group instructions will be available. People from all meditative backgrounds – experienced or with little or no experience- are welcome.

Seiso Paul Cooper, Sensei will present on Bion and Dogen to frame and facilitate the interrelation and integration of Buddhism and psychoanalysis, Mark Finn will moderate follow-up discussions. Karen Morris will facilitate a Social Dreaming Matrix each morning. Pilar Jennings will offer Tibetan teachings and guided practice. Periods of sitting and walking meditation are scheduled throughout the retreat and opportunities for private interviews will be part of the schedule. 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.

The afternoon session will provide space for questions and discussion facilitated by Mark Finn. It may be helpful to reflect on the decision to locate our sitting practice in a religious frame and to name the foundational view of the Mahayana that underlies both Zen and Tibetan Buddhism. This is also an opportunity to share how all of this is lived out in clinical work.

Retreat Fee:

Registration: $160 [Before September 30th. $130] Registration Closes October 15th, 2021

Registration Info

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This retreat is limited to twenty participants

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