Training in the Six Pāramitās Class: Jan 22 – May 2

Event Details

This event finished on 02 May 2019

A eight-week class led by Greg Snyder

Every other week from January 22 to May 2
Class Dates: Tuesday 1/22 and 2/5, Thursday 3/7, 3/21, 4/4, 4/18, and 5/2
Class time: zazen from 6:30 to 7pm, class from 7 to 8:30pm

Following the Spring Wind: Training in the Six Pāramitās 

As Zen students taking up the Bodhisattva vow to live for the liberation of all beings, we are asked to open to an immensely painful, joyous and profound human world. At times it might feel that all of this will simply topple us over. How can we possibly go along with Hongzhi’s verse and “…follow the spring wind into the scars of the burning?”

Fortunately our ancestors have long placed the joyful practice of the six pāramitās at the center of Mahayana ethics, considering it to be the training program for those who take up the Bodhisattva path. The perfections include the critical teachings of dāna (generosity), sīla (behavioral discipline), kṣānti (patience/perseverance), vīrya (energy/effort), dhyāna (concentration/meditation) and prajñā (wisdom). This practice path strengthens our capacity for praṇidhāna (vow), karuṇā (compassion) and upāya (skillful means) that are the ever-deepening expression of the Bodhisattva way of life. Our class this winter and spring will begin to explore these boundless teachings.

The class will meet at BZC every other week from 6:30 to 8:30pm, beginning with a period of zazen from 6:30 to 7pm followed by a discussion. Unless you have a conflict and cannot make the zazen period, please consider it to be a part of the class. This class will involve study, journaled evening reflections and small group discussions between meetings. If you wish to take this class, please plan on reading 25–50 pages over each two-week stretch between classes. While the teacher may assign additional short readings, our primary text will be The Six Perfections: Buddhism and the Cultivation of Character. We will be reading most of this book so it would be good to buy it. You may also consider purchasing a small journal for your evening reflections on the pāramitās, though this is not necessary.

This class will be offered in alternation with Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan’s class The Practice-Realization of the Pāramitās in Upright Sitting.

Tuesday, January 22 – The Bodhisattva Path
Tuesday, February 5 – Dāna Pāramitā
Thursday, February 21– Śīla Pāramitā
Thursday, March 7 – Kṣānti Pāramitā
Thursday, March 21 – Vīrya Pāramitā
Thursday, April 4 – Dhyāna Pāramitā
Thursday, April 18 – Prajñā Pāramitā
Thursday, May 2 – Saṅgha and Skillful Means in Our Time

Class fee:  $200 Sustaining / $150 Base / $110 for BZC members (more than 3 months)

Registration for this class is now closed.

Limited copies of The Six Perfections: Buddhism and the Cultivation of Character will be available at the BZC Library in exchange for a $20/$25 donation. If you would like to obtain a copy of the book, please email as soon as you register for the class.

Please note our cancellation policy: To request a refund for this event, you must notify BZC in writing at least one week before the beginning of the course or event. Refunds are issued for any and all cancellations up to seven days before an event less a $10 processing fee. Less than seven days before an event, we do not offer refunds. There are no refunds for events with registration fees under $50.

About  Greg Snyder

Greg Snyder is a dharma teacher and senior priest at Brooklyn Zen Center, as well as its co-founder and a current Board Member. He is also the Senior Director of Buddhist Studies at Union Theological Seminary, where he directs and teaches in a Masters of Divinity program focused on Buddhism and Inter-religious Engagement. Greg received priest ordination and dharma transmission from Teah Strozer and is a lineage holder in the Suzuki Roshi lineage of Soto Zen. Greg is active with multiple interfaith and community networks organizing around peace-building, anti-violence and social justice initiatives, and currently sits on the Brooklyn Borough President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Community Partnerships. Greg’s practice of Zen and the dharma includes an understanding that personal and social liberation are a deeply integrated process of mutual unfolding. In addition to teaching in a formal Zen context, he facilitates Undoing Whiteness and Undoing Patriarchy workshops and ongoing groups that focus on investigating self-identities that may unconsciously perpetuate societal suffering. His efforts include ensuring the dharma is truly available to everyone, supporting young people in practice, developing a community-responsive Zen center, and advocating for bringing the illumination of conditioning around patriarchy, racism and economic exploitation to the center of our Buddhist exploration of self. He is devoted to co-creating an American dharma movement that fully embraces a deep social engagement focused on transforming inequity, bias and violence in ourselves, our communities and the world.

Access Notes: There is one short flight of stairs leading to the Carroll Street entrance of the building; please press 3-0 to be buzzed in. From there, the center is located at the top of a longer flight of stairs. A ramp and elevator are available via an alternate entrance on President Street; please email us in advance if you need access to the ramp. Chairs, benches, and extra support cushions are available. We are not yet a fragrance-free space; our hand soap is scented with essential oils. Visit our Accessibility Page for more detailed access info. If you have any additional questions about accessibility, please contact us at