Zen Enlightenment: Is It Sudden or Gradual?

Friday, March 30, 2018 - 6:00pm
University of Arizona Poetry Center

The issue of whether enlightenment is sudden or gradual was one the crucial debates that helps to forge the Zen Buddhist school in Korea, China, and Japan. The crux of this “sudden/gradual issue” is this: is enlightenment something intrinsic to the mind that is achieved in a sudden flash of insight; or something extrinsic to it that must be developed through a sequential series of practices? (Spoiler alert: it may be both.)

Special guest speaker Robert E. Buswell, Jr. will present the Khyentse Foundation Buddhist Studies lecture, in conjunction with the UA's Creating the World of Chan/Sŏn/Zen conference

Buswell is widely recognized as one of the premier Western specialists on Korean Buddhism and the broader East Asian Zen tradition. He holds the Irving and Jean Stone Endowed Chair in Humanities at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he is also Distinguished Professor of Buddhist Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and founding director of the university’s Center for Buddhist Studies and Center for Korean Studies. 

Buswell has published sixteen books on various aspects of Korean Buddhism, the broader Buddhist tradition, and Korean religions. Buswell was elected president of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in 2008, the first specialist in either Korean or Buddhist studies to hold that position. In 2009, he was awarded the prestigious Manhae Grand Prize in Korea in recognition of his pioneering contributions to establishing Korean Buddhist Studies in the West. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.