Online class: Introduction to Yogacara Thought and Practice, starting Oct 19


Event Details

This event is running from 19 October 2020 until 7 December 2020. It is next occurring on October 19, 2020 7:00 pm

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Eight-week class led by Ian Case and Jefre Cantu

Class dates: Mondays 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/23, 11/30, 12/7

Class time:  7:00 to 8:30pm. Students are encouraged to sit zazen before the class starts, if possible.

This class will be offered online via live stream. Participants will receive log in details after registering.


Introduction to Yogacara Thought and Practice

Everything conceived as self or other occurs in the transformation of consciousness. -Vasubandhu

What does consciousness have to do with liberation? How can understanding our mind lead to  wholesome and compassionate living that supports the bodhisattva vow to benefit all beings? How is the transformation of our habits of body, speech and mind connected to our effort to transform social systems that cause suffering?

These are questions that will be at the center of this eight-week course focusing on key aspects of Yogacara, a school that integrates teachings from both Mahayana and early Buddhism. Yogacara has also left an indelible mark on Zen, and so the study of these teachings will further support a deeper understanding of our own tradition.

In this class we will investigate the major innovations of Yogacara thought, including the model of the eight consciousnesses and the theory of the three natures, and we will consider their implications for our practice along the way.

Our central text for study will be Vasubandhu’s Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only, specifically the translation and commentary in Ben Connelly’s Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara. Students are encouraged to buy this book. Supplementary readings from the Samdhinirmocana Sutra, a foundational Yogacara text, and Reb Anderson’s The Third Turning of the Wheel will be provided.

While this course is an introduction to Yogacara, it is not an introductory Buddhist course. Students are strongly encouraged to have an ongoing meditation practice and to have received Buddhist precepts.


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

To register, please click here. Please note that registration for this class closes October 26.

Please note our cancellation policy for this offering: To request a refund for this class, you must notify BZC in writing by the start of the first class. Refunds will be issued in the total paid less a $15 processing fee. Please note that there are no refunds for events with registration fees under $50. Please see our complete cancellation policy here.


About Ian Case

Ian 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). 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. Ian holds an MA in Linguistics from the City University of New York an a Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary.

About Jefre Cantu

Jefre Cantu has been practicing Zen Buddhism under the guidance of Soshin Teah Strozer since 2003. He received the Bodhisattva precepts from her in 2005 at the San Francisco Zen Center and has been a member of the Brooklyn Zen Center community since moving to New York in 2013. Jefre is a graduate student at Union Theological Seminary, working towards a Masters of Divinity focused on Buddhism and interreligious engagement. Currently Jefre is interested in the non special, everyday quality of Zen practice and how it can be the foundation of our day to day lives.