CANCELLED: Teachings of the Vimalakirti Sutra

October 3, 2023

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


This class has been cancelled. We hope to offer it at a later date; please stay tuned.

“Because all living beings are sick, therefore I am sick. If all living beings are relieved of sickness, then my sickness will be mended.”

In this 8-week class, Kidō Ian Case and Kenshin Jefre Cantu will be leading an exploration of the Vimalakirti Sutra, a foundational Mahayana text that has been hugely influential in East Asian Buddhism and Zen in particular. The sutra has the feeling of a dramatic play, each of the chapters its own scene with its own cast of characters. Our protagonist is the lay person Vimalakirti, who takes on the role of a sick man, expounding the dharma from his bed. Like many Mahayana scriptures, the Vimalakirti Sutra has its moments of magic—wondrous transformations and multiverses–but its teaching is also radically ordinary: the gate of liberation is right here in this moment, in the midst of our suffering and delusion. Vimalakirti’s invitation is for us to meet this world fully for the liberation of all beings.

We will primarily be using Robert Thurman’s 1976 translation from the Tibetan, The Holy Teaching of Vimalakïrti: A Mahayana Scripture. It is available online as a PDF here.

We will also be referring throughout to these other translations and commentaries:
The Bodhisattva Path: Commentary on the Vimalakīrti and Ugrapariprccha Sutras by Thich Nhat Hanh

Vimalakīrtinirdeśa: The Teaching of Vimalakīrti translated from the Sanskrit by Luis Gómez and Paul Harrison

The Vimalakīrti Sutra translated from the Chinese of Kumarajiva by Burton Watson

Vimalakīrti and the Awakened Heart by Joan Sutherland

The class will meet online via Zoom on eight consecutive Tuesday evenings, from October 3 to November 21, from 7-8:30pm EST.

Equitable Pricing Model

BZC is committed to offering classes, workshops, and retreats on a sliding scale in an aspiration to move towards equity within our sangha. To that end, we offer an equitable pricing model as a mindfulness practice and a mirror of our relations to histories of wealth. Please see the Equitable Pricing Model to determine your registration rate level.

If you’re unable to pay at the lowest rate, please use this form to apply for an exemption.


Kenshin Jefre Cantu has been a member of Brooklyn Zen Center since 2013. He began practicing Zen at the San Francisco Zen Center in 2002, and was ordained a priest by Teah Strozer in October 2021. Jefre holds a bachelor's degree in Fine Art and a masters degree in Buddhism and Interreligious Engagement from Union Theological Seminary. He currently works as a hospice chaplain in New York's Hudson valley, where he lives with his family.

Kidō Ian Case has been a student at Brooklyn Zen Center since its inception in 2005. During this time, he has taken on various administrative and practice roles at the center, including serving for several years as Ino (head of the meditation hall) and as director from 2019 to 2022. He was in residence for 15 months at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in 2015-2016 and was ordained as a priest by Teah Strozer in October 2016. He served as shuso (head student) at BZC for the fall 2019 practice period and received teacher entrustment from Kosen Gregory Snyder in August 2022. Ian holds an MA in Linguistics from the City University of New York and a Masters of Divinity in Buddhism and Interreligious Engagement from Union Theological Seminary. He currently serves as the Tanto (Head of Practice) of Ancestral Heart Temple.

$300 - $660

To request a refund for this program you must notify BZC in writing at least 2 days before the beginning of the program. This supports the organizing effort involved in managing registrations and cancellations.

CANCELLED: Teachings of the Vimalakirti Sutra