Summer Institute in Buddhism - June 2019


Join us this June 4-9 at the Bodhi Manda Zen Center in Jemez Springs, NM for the

Summer Institute in Buddhism

Understanding Ignorance

According to Buddhist philosophical traditions, wisdom, understanding, and insight are central to awakening and gaining freedom from suffering; ignorance, delusion, and misunderstanding are the main obstacles to awakening and serve to keep us mired in suffering. But what is ignorance? What causes ignorance? How is ignorance maintained and cemented in our thinking, feeling, acting? What kind of ignorance is an obstacle to awakening (or is any ignorance at all an obstacle)? How does one recognize and address one’s own ignorance? What are the personal, ethical, and social implications of ignorance? This seminar will focus on these questions – and others – from Pāli, Chinese, and Tibetan Buddhist philosophical traditions.



Drawing on the Pāli Nikāyas as well as contemporary Buddhist writing, Dr. Karin Meyers’s series of talks will explore the nature of ignorance (avijjā) as an obstacle to personal freedom, freedom in relationship to others, and social freedom. Particular attention will be paid to the dynamics of the twelve links of dependent origination and classical and contemporary contemplative practices through which these forms of freedom may be cultivated.

Karin Meyers is currently a Retreat Support Fellow at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. Until 2018 she was Associate Professor at Kathmandu University's Center for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute, and recently visiting professor at Princeton and George Washington University. Her work focuses on free will and Buddhism, Buddhist psychology, and contemplative practice.



Dr. Emily McRae will explore the concept of ignorance from Tibetan Buddhist perspectives. Her first lecture will focus on definitions of ignorance from Indo-Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and how these may differ from common assumptions about what ignorance is. In her second and third lectures, Dr. McRae will examine some of the principle claims made about ignorance in the Buddhist context, such the claims that ignorance is the root or primary affliction, that ignorance is the root cause of suffering, and that ignorance can be eliminated. Finally, Dr. McRae will guide participants in a discussion of some contemporary applications of Buddhist accounts of ignorance, such as understanding race-based, gender-based, or class-based ignorance. 

Emily McRae is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of New Mexico. Her research focuses on Buddhist ethics and moral psychology, particularly in the context of meditative practice, and attempts to apply Buddhist ethical teachings to issues of social justice.



Dr. Joy Brennan will discuss the relationship between moments of experience and the path of practice in various schools of Mahayana Buddhism, including the Yogacara or mind-only school, the Huayan School, and Zen. She will focus in particular on how ignorance shapes moments of experience and how it can be overcome, and in particular on how knowledge or liberation can be achieved with regard to moments of experience that would be ordinarily understood as defiled.

Joy Brennan is Assistant Professor of Buddhism and East Asian Religions at Kenyon College, as well as Soto Zen priest and leader of the Mount Vernon Zen Sangha in Mount Vernon, OH. Her scholarship focuses on Yogācāra, Huayan and Zen Buddhist theories of human transformation.



Jiun Hosen, the Abbess of the Bodhi Manda Zen Center, will be providing instruction on Zen practice, including offering daily Zazen meditation periods for those who wish to participate. She will also be organizing the accommodations and daily schedule for the entirety of the event.

Jiun Hosen Osho began her formal training in Zen and began her residence at the Bodhi Manda Zen Center in 1980. She was ordained as a Zen nun in April, 1983. Hosen’s devotion to practice led her to become a Zen Priest or “Osho” in 1988. The following year Jiun Hosen was appointed as Abbess of the Bodhi Manda Zen Center.

$750 per person (scholarships available)

Begins Tuesday, June 4th with dinner at 5:00pm
Ends Sunday, June 9th with lunch at 12:00pm

Dormitory style. Limited number of private rooms available for additional cost on first come basis. Delicious farm-to-table home cooked meals. Access to our natural hot springs.

Instruction and participation in zazen meditation practice.

For questions, contact us at or (575) 829-3854

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