Transforming Self, Transforming World

September 18th, 2013David Loy, Ph.D. professor, writer, and Zen teacher Host: Barry Erdman

About The Presentation

What is the connection between our personal transformation and the transformation of society?

Buddhism emphasizes the relationship between dukkha (our inability to enjoy life) and anatta (the sense of a separate self is delusive). In modern terms, the sense of self, being an ungrounded and therefore insecure construct, is haunted by a sense of lack. Why do we never have enough money, fame, time? Money and fame have become symbolic realities with which we try to fill up our sense of lack. But our obsession with them is more than an individual problem: it reveals where our society is stuck. The “three poisons” (three unwholesome roots of evil) that the Buddha identified have become institutionalized and taken on a life of their own: our economic system institutionalizes greed, racism and militarism institutionalize ill will, and the corporate media institutionalize delusion. And our collective sense of separation from the rest of the biosphere lies at the heart of the ecological crisis. Any personal awakening we may experience remains incomplete until it is supplemented by a “social awakening” that realizes the importance of responding to these institutionalized causes of widespread suffering.

About the Presenter

David Robert Loy is a professor, writer, and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. He is a prolific author, whose essays and books have been translated into many languages. He blogs monthly for the Huffington Post, and his articles appear regularly in the pages of journals such as Tikkun and Buddhist magazines including Tricycle, Turning Wheel, Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma, as well as in a variety of scholarly journals. Many of his writings, as well as audio and video talks and interviews, are available on his website:

David lectures nationally and internationally on various topics, focusing primarily on the encounter between Buddhism and modernity: what each can learn from the other. He is especially concerned about social and ecological issues. He also leads meditation retreats.

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