April Philosophy Café
Dr Leesa S Davis, Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University presents: ‘Buddhist eccentrics: philosophical underpinnings of crazy wisdom’
Wednesday 24 April from 7-9pm at The Barking Dog hotel, 126 Pakington Street, Geelong West.
On Wednesday 24 April from 7-9pm at The Barking Dog hotel, Dr Leesa S Davis, Lecturer in Philosophy at Deakin University, will present ‘Buddhist eccentrics: philosophical underpinnings of crazy wisdom’.
A student, seeking instruction, asks a Buddhist teacher to explain the essence of Zen. Instead of answering, the teacher grabs his nose and gives it a hard yank. An aspirant questions his teacher on the meaning of the Sutras and is told to ‘eat when hungry, drink when thirsty’. After sitting in meditation day after day another student is told by his master that he would have more luck polishing a brick to make a mirror than attaining any spiritual insight through meditation.
Chinese Chan Buddhism, best known in its later Japanese form of Zen, is famous for these radically unconventional teacher-student exchanges and for the iconoclastic and sometimes bizarre teaching ‘strategies’ of its masters. Using biographies of Zen teachers and some paradigmatic teacher-student exchanges this talk will show how the distinctive rhetoric and performative gestures of Zen are underpinned by the fundamental metaphysical tenets of Buddhism: impermanence, no-self and interdependence. Seen in this light, the exchanges are dynamic attempts to experientially ignite key philosophical and spiritual understandings and are examples of philosophy in action.
Dr LEESA S DAVIS
Leesa S Davis is a lecturer in philosophy at Deakin University. She is the author of Advaita Vedanta and Zen Buddhism: deconstructive modes of spiritual inquiry (Continuum UK 2010) and has written on Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, meditative experience, Buddhist ethics, and Buddhism in Australia. She is currently working on a book on the use of paradox in Zen Buddhism.
Philosophy Café is held on the last Wednesday of each month (February to November) at The Barking Dog hotel, 126 Pakington St, Geelong West.
Entry is free and includes a glass of wine and nibbles.