Spiritual Practice for the Social Good: Cultivating Clear Awareness of Invisible Group Dynamics through Chan Practice

Are we aware that we may be perpetuating group dynamics that cause suffering to ourselves and others? Chan Buddhism emphasizes cultivating clear total awareness of constantly changing causes and conditions to live in accordance with wisdom and compassion. Yet, powerful but invisible group dynamics often compel us to act in contradiction to our bodhisattva vows. Understanding and awareness of these dynamics needs to be an integral part of our practice. In this course, students discuss sociological insights on subtle dynamics of solidarity, conflict, power and culture and how to integrate conceptual understanding of these social processes into our spiritual practice for the social good. Discussion is conducted in the context of Chan meditation practice.


Rebecca LiDR. REBECCA LI, a Dharma heir in the Dharma Drum lineage of Chan Master Sheng Yen, began her teacher’s training with the master in 1999 when she also began to serve as his translator until his passing in 2009.  Starting in the mid-2000s, she also trained with John Crook and Simon Child, two lay Dharma heirs of the master, and received full Dharma transmission from Simon Child in 2016.  Currently, she leads Chan retreats, teaches meditation and Dharma classes, and gives public lectures in North America, the U.K., and in Taiwan.  Her talks and writings can be found at www.rebeccali.org.  She is the founder and guiding teacher of Chan Dharma Community and a sociology professor at The College of New Jersey, where she also serves as faculty director of the Alan Dawley Center for the Study of Social Justice.


Mar 03 - 04 2023


1:00 pm - 5:00 pm


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Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)



Union Theological Seminary
3041 Broadway at 121st Street, New York, NY 10027


Union Theological Seminary
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