Robert Rosenbaum and Dr. Anne W. Smith in conversation about the newly published book, That is Not Your Mind! Zen Reflections on the Surangama Sutra (Shambhala).
“That Is Not Your Mind! is part scholarly commentary on this ancient and neglected sutra, part how-to meditation guide. Both the sutra itself and Rosenbaum’s commentary, including touching personal stories of his own vulnerability, offer us compassion for our weaknesses and great encouragement for our practice. Rosenbaum brings help to all of us meditators who are eagerly awaiting our moment of Great Awakening, encouraging us to get real, be human, and attend to compassion.”—Susan Moon, author of Alive Until You’re Dead: Notes on the Home Stretch
This event will be streamed on our Crowdcast channel.
About That is Not Your Mind!
What does it mean to be liberated through one’s sensory life? In That Is Not Your Mind! Zen teacher Robert Rosenbaum explores this question by taking readers on a step-by-step journey through the Surangama Sutra. This Chinese Mahayana sutra is known for its emphasis on practicing with the senses (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and the Buddhist “sixth sense” of mind or cognition), as well as its teachings on the necessity of basic ethical commitments, like not killing or stealing, to support the development of one’s meditation practice and insight.
Rosenbaum interweaves passages from the sutra with contemporary insights from neuroscience and psychology, illustrating the usefulness of the text with anecdotes from his life and his forty years of teaching experience. In addition to learning about a sutra that played an important role in the creation of Chinese Chan and Japanese Zen Buddhism, readers are guided through meditations and other practices derived from the sutra’s teachings, such as hearing meditations (awareness of sound, awareness of silence, turning hearing inwards) and centering meditations (basic centering as well as centering on compassion).
"One of the most difficult aspects of Buddhist practice is wrapping our minds around how every moment is both a deceptive seeming and also a true gateway to awakening," writes Rosenbaum. "Nothing is hidden, but there is an infinite field we cannot see."
About the participants
Robert Rosenbaum is an American Zen teacher with lay entrustment in Soto Zen from Sojo Mel Weitsman and denkai in Ordinary Mind Zen from Karen Terzano. A founding member of the Lay Zen Teachers Association, Bob started the Meadowmind Sangha in Arnold and Vallecito, California, and is currently starting an Ordinary Mind Zen center in Sacramento. He is a senior teacher of Dayan (Wild Goose) Qigong in the lineage of Yang Meijun, authorized by Master Hui Liu of the Wen Wu School. He worked for thirty years as a neuropsychologist, psychotherapist, and behavioral medicine specialist until retiring ten years ago to devote all his time to Zen and qigong. Bob has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as the books Zen and the Heart of Psychotherapy, Walking the Way: 83 Zen Encounters with the Tao Te Ching, and What’s Wrong with Mindfulness (and what isn’t)—Zen Perspectives.
Dr. Anne W. Smith has studied Zen, qigong, and Taoist principles of practice with Dr. Robert Rosenbaum for more than a decade. Anne is Arts Forum Co-chair for Commonwealth Club of California, the nation’s largest public affairs discussion group. A long-time arts executive, university educator, and nonprofit volunteer, with faculty appointments in the United States, Japan, and Canada, Anne continues to teach arts and culture leadership online and mentors graduate thesis and dissertation students. Anne is also currently Board President for Theatre Bay Area, Board member for the Medical Clown Project, and Chair of the Fountain Project Foundation. She is a local, state, and federal grants panelist. Her interests include fine press book arts, equity, diversity and access projects, and qigong.