Ben Connelly: Inside Vasubandhu Yogacara

May 17, 2017 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Join us for an evening with Zen Priest, Ben Connelly author of Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara  and Inside the Grass Hut (Wisdom Publications).

Ben will be speaking about Vasubandhu, a profoundly influential but poorly understood figure in Mahayana Buddhism and a key member of Zen lineages. Mr Connelly’s new book illuminates the practical aspects of Vasubandu’s teachings, which integrate Theravada and Mahayana practices using the most powerful psychological and mystical aspects of the Buddhist tradition.

Ben Connelly is a Soto Zen teacher and Dharma heir in the Katagiri lineage. He teaches at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center. Ben is also a professional musician and teaches mindfulness in a wide variety of secular contexts. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Overview of Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara
Ben Connelly’s Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara is a practical, down-to-earth guide to Vasubandhu’s classic work “Thirty Verses of Consciousness Only” that can transform modern life and change how you see the world. Connelly’s warm and wise voice unpacks and contextualizes its wisdom, showing us how we can apply its ancient insights to our own modern lives, to create a life of engaged peace, harmony, compassion, and joy. This is a great introduction to a philosophy, a master, and a work whose influence reverberates throughout modern Buddhism.

“Through Connelly’s luminous teaching, some of Yogacara’s most vivid and inspiring innovations come to life…Newcomers and adherents to this lesser known Buddhist school alike are lucky to have Connelly as an exceptional guide to the central themes of Yogacara.” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)

“Connelly’s clarity and refreshing humility invite a wide range of practitioners into the view and methods of the Consciousness Only school.” (Shosan Victoria Austin, San Francisco Zen Center)

More in depth information
In fourth-century India one of the great geniuses of Buddhism, Vasubandhu, sought to reconcile the diverse ideas and forms of Buddhism practiced at the time and demonstrate how they could be effectively integrated into a single system. This was the Yogacara movement, and it continues to have great influence in modern Tibetan and Zen Buddhism. “Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only,” or “Trimshika,” is the most concise, comprehensive, and accessible work by this revered figure.

Vasubandhu’s “Thirty Verses” lay out a path of practice that integrates the most powerful of Buddhism’s psychological and mystical possibilities: Early Buddhism’s practices for shedding afflictive emotional habit and the Mahayana emphasis on shedding divisive concepts, the path of individual liberation and the path of freeing all beings, the path to nirvana and the path of enlightenment as the very ground of being right now. Although Yogacara has a reputation for being extremely complex, the “Thirty Verses” distills the principles of these traditions to their most practical forms, and this book follows that sense of focus; it goes to the heart of the matter—how do we alleviate suffering through shedding our emotional knots and our sense of alienation?

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