Zen Poets of Wisdom, Love and Passion: Leonard Cohen and Ikkyu Sojun
A discussion of religious dogmatism, sexuality, and Zen spirituality on Sunday March 24th 2019
Joe Shakarchi and Reggie Pawle, co-leaders
1:30 pm to 3:30 pm @ Shambhala Center, Asoke. Please arrive by 1:30
Sunday 24th March, 2019
Part of the tradition of Zen is practitioners who live the Buddhist dharma free of religious dogmatism and egoic self-possession. Their behavior can be at times outrageous, unconventional, and/or very sensual. Rather than being serious and austere they enjoy life. They can be very critical of any Buddhist monks whom they see as using Buddhism for their own self-interest. These practitioners sometimes write regarding Zen philosophy, their own poetic inspiration, satires of Buddhist institutions, and sensual relations. Very rarely, though, have Zen poets written openly about their love affairs, along with their experiences and thoughts about Zen. Two great poets who have done so are Leonard Cohen and Ikkyu Sojun. Cohen is more famous as the writer of songs like “Hallelujah” and “Suzanne.” Many people do not realize that he spent several years as a Zen monk at Mount Baldy Zen Center in California, USA. Many of his poems are about this experience, and how he combined it with his life of passion. (Google “Leonard Cohen poems”). Ikkyu was a Japanese Zen master of the 15th century, now still well known for his poetry and his eccentric teachings. He scandalously celebrated his love affairs in verse. (Google “Ikkyu poems”). Cartoons about his boyhood, which celebrate his sharp intelligence, are popular in Japan and Thailand (Search on YouTube). In our meeting, we will read and discuss poems by both authors, and what they have to say about the relationship between Zen wisdom, religious dogmatism, love, and sexual passion. There will also be a short meditation period.
1:10pm – 1:30pm: Gather at Shambhala Center (see map below)
1:30pm: Welcome and Zen meditation
1:50pm: Discussion of the poetry of Leonard Cohen
2:35pm: Break – chat time
2:45pm: Discussion of the poetry of Ikkyu Sojun
This event is free of charge, however, in line with welcoming and supporting Zen Club programs we do ask for dana (donations) to help with the expenses of the event.
It is in English only.
There should be plenty of room. However, there is a 15 person limit, so if you want to ensure a seat and are certain you will attend, please send a reservation request to Reggie Pawle at [masked].
About Joe Shakarchi:
Joe Shakarchi has been studying Buddhism since 1979, and was a student of Paul Haller and Norman Fischer at San Francisco Zen Center, where he also produced poetry and music events. He did PhD work on the influence of Buddhism on American poetry. Joe taught writing and literature at several schools, including San Francisco State University, while also publishing poetry and essays. His poetry and poetry/music CD and videos can be found on www.joeshakarchi.com. Joe has been living in Bangkok for six years, writing poetry, studying Theravada, and helping to spread the seeds of Zen.
About Reggie Pawle:
Reggie Pawle PhD, has been a Zen Buddhist practitioner since 1974. He has studied with Joshu Sasaki (Rinzai school) in the U.S. and with Sekkei Harada (Soto school) in Japan. He also sat with Buddhadasa Bhikkhu in 1989. He has a PhD in Buddhist causality, attachment and no-self. Reggie works as a psychotherapist, integrating Buddhism and Western psychology. Since 1999 he has been based in Japan. He lived for three years in Bangkok (2015 to 2018), teaching psychology and studying Buddhism. He has now moved back to his Zen roots in Japan and comes to Bangkok for meetings and study. His blog is at: https://reggiepawle.wordpress.com