Join us for this virtual event!
Tim Burkett, author, Zen Buddhist priest, and psychologist will present Enlightenment Is an Accident, a warm-hearted guide to Buddhist practice for those ready to contend with the reality that enlightenment—the realization of non-self—can’t be achieved by the self. He will appear in conversation with beloved Zen teacher Norman Fischer, author of When You Greet Me I Bow.
A well-known spiritual saying goes, “Enlightenment is an accident. But we can make ourselves more accident-prone.” As an authentic American Zen takes shape, enlightenment continues to be misunderstood as a project to be completed, a goal to be achieved, or a prize to be awarded. Tim Burkett’s new book unhooks enlightenment from the hot air balloon of ego and brings it back down to earth.
Drawing on stories of his first teacher, the Zen master Shunryu Suzuki (author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind), and Burkett’s decades of practice and teaching, he reveals how to live in the world with a deep joy that comes from embracing the work and play of this very moment. With the wisdom and humor of a seasoned practitioner familiar with all manner of eccentric fixations and silly dead-ends, he offers views and practices we can use to support the paradoxical process of letting enlightenment happen on its own.
TIM BURKETT began practicing Zen Buddhism in San Francisco in 1964 with renowned teacher Shunryu Suzuki. He is the former CEO of the largest nonprofit organization in Minnesota for individuals with mental illness and served as guiding teacher of Minnesota Zen Meditation Center from 2004 to 2021. He is a psychologist, a Zen Buddhist priest, and the author of Nothing Holy About It and Zen in the Age of Anxiety. He and his wife, Linda, have two grown children and two grandchildren.
NORMAN FISCHER is a Zen teacher, poet, translator, and founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation. A beloved figure in the Buddhist world, he is also well-known for his efforts at interreligious dialogue. His numerous books include, most recently, (prose) The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path, What Is Zen?: Plain Talk for a Beginner's Mind, and Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong, and (poetry) The Strugglers, On A Train At Night, and Untitled Series: Life As It Is.
“In Enlightenment Is an Accident, Zen teacher Tim Burkett manages, without fanfare or complications, to write about almost everything a lifetime of Zen practice entails, from beginners’ tips to philosophical depths. With encouraging grandfatherly kindness, he makes the practice clear and available, without sacrificing any of its wonder. I am especially impressed with his psychological acumen, borne of many decades of guiding Western students in the practice.”—Norman Fischer, author of When You Greet Me I Bow and Selected Poems 1980–2013
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