Early Zen, introduced to the world by great teachers who operated outside of China’s religious establishment, had immense religious and social significance. Refusing support from China’s emperors, Zen radically departed from traditional Buddhism by supporting itself through self-reliance and farming. Early Zen rejected the metaphysics and theories of imperial Buddhism, instead emphasizing meditation and directly perceiving the nature of the mind.Although evidence about Bodhidharma and his immediate disciples is fragmented, there are strong indications that his was a rebel’s Zen.
Augmenting his talk with slides of their ancient dharma seats, Andy Ferguson will provide the most complete picture to date of the rise of the early Zen masters, the expounders of a movement that had inestimable impact on eastern culture and history, as well of millions of Zen practitioners through the ages.
Andy’s talk will serve as an introduction to the planned Tricycle China tour: Heart of the Chan (Zen) Buddhist Tradition scheduled for the fall of 2013 which will be co-led by Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara and Andy Ferguson.
Andy Ferguson, a member of the San Francisco Zen Center, Andrew Ferguson is a writer and translator who lives in Petaluma, California. He is the author of Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and their Teachings and Tracking Bodhidharma.