Zen and Self-Cultivation Program with Rev. Takafumi Kawakami
By Takafumi Kawakami Follow | Public

How can we live in our VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) world? The pandemic of COVID-19 has been changing the world physically and psychologically. Our common sense (believes and values) no longer works like it used to. Now, we need to remove our old biases and to look at the world in the way it is. In order to see the world today, we should start with understanding "you" or "self". Who am I? This sounds like an age-old question. But in order to understand your biases, you need to recognize the biggest bias we have, the bias about "ourselves".

Self-cultivation is the central practice of Eastern philosophical traditions, like Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism (Taoism). Self-cultivation practice starts with meditation. Meditation is the practice to observe "self". In this case, we are mainly observing our feelings, sensations, and mental activities and formations. Also, during the meditation try to understand the patterns of our reactions and find out what kinds of believes and values behind of them. Then, we will investigate where they are coming from.

Also, in the self-cultivation practice, we will learn philosophies from various traditions. We are not trying to find out what the best philosophy today. But we are creating more flexible ways of looking at the world. That gives us more resilience.

In addition to meditation and philosophy, as option, we use the Japanese tea ceremony to learn how to connect with people. Tea ceremony is not about the serving the tea to your guests in some special way. But we can learn what kind of mindset is necessary to understand people as they are.

Rev. Takafumi Kawakami is the deputy head priest at Shunkoin Temple in Kyoto, Japan and travels the world giving talks about the Zen Buddhism, well-being and self-cultivation (meditation and contemplation). His travels and talks have brought him to the likes of MIT, Brown University, Eton College and more. He teaches how the various ideas from the different philosophies and self-cultivation practices like meditation and contemplation improve our well-being.

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  • 2020/05/26

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