The Zen Rebel Project takes its name from the Zen school of Buddhism (emphasizing seated meditation) and from the category of deviance that the eminent sociologist Robert K. Merton identified as Rebellion. For Merton, deviance was that behavior exhibited by individuals who had rejected society's norms (regarding traditional goals such as health, wealth, status) and who had rejected the traditional means to attain them (education, hard work, self-promotion). But for Merton, the Rebel was very special in that he/she did not just simply reject society's goals and means, but rather replaced them with ones that better reflected his or her own values and sense of purpose.
The Zen Rebel Project is dedicated, then, to supporting those Rebels whose values and sense of purpose align with those of Zen. And so, what can we say about Zen values, what can we say about the Zen sense of purpose? While a description of 'what Zen is' can be intentionally obscure, what "Zen is' more often presented as 'what Zen isn't'. But aside from what Zen actually is or isn't, a description of the ultimate goal of Zen is actually quite direct - it strives for the complete awakening of the Zen student to the reality of the world (and their place in it) - and it values this above all else.
And so, if you are in current pursuit of truth or love or understanding ... or some other personal sense of certainty ... then the Zen Rebel Project can help. In a nutshell, the Zen Rebel Project is about helping you integrate Zen into your life with the sole purpose coming to terms with it. And it starts with zazen - seated Zen meditation.
Instruction in zazen
Basic instruction in zazen is offered Saturdays from 8:15 am to 9:15 am (free!). You can always check the current meetups for the next Friday session. The instruction is given by, and takes place at, the Albuquerque Zen Center (http://azc.org), 2300 Garfield SE - a bit south of the UNM main campus.
AZC schedules regular Zen practice sessions at the following times:
• Mornings: Monday - Saturday, 6 - 7:30
• Evenings: Monday - Thursday, 5:30 - 7
• Saturday Mid-mornings: 9:30 - 11
Practice sessions are essentially set up on 1/2 hour blocks to allow students to join in, and to leave as necessary, to fit their schedules. For more info, call AZC at 268-4877
The Zen Rebel Project collaborations
In addition to Zen instruction, we also coordinate with local groups in expanding the awareness of Zen beyond the zendo. One such collaboration is with the Both Hands Clapping Zen and Aikido club, who offer a regular Zen and Aikido Open Mat Sundays from 11 - 12:30. Participants are expected to have already received instruction in zazen (see above) and are also expected to have some basic Aikido background. (This is not meant to be an Aikido instructional class, but is geared to showing you how to include zazen into your Aikido training.) The class starts with 20 minutes of zazen, is followed by a brief warm-up and finishes with an hour of Aikido practice. The Sunday Open Mat is open to Aikido students of all backgrounds. The session is free for students of the Both Hands Clapping Zen and Aikido school. For Aikidoka from other schools, a $5 donation is requested. The Aikido Open Mat takes place at the Kodokan Judo Club, 670 G Juan Tabo NE (at Copper).
We are always interested in your ideas on how Zen could possibly be applied to new interests. Feel free to drop us a line.