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Block7 : Cleaning your house in a muddy world (English speaking)

Talk: On absolute and relative reality
Zuiderkerk, Amsterdam, Zaterdag 25 september 2021
14:00 - 14:45 h
Zentatsu Richard Baker Roshi (In person appearance)
Talk: In lichtjaren heeft niemand haast
Zuiderkerk, Amsterdam, Zaterdag 25 september 2021
14:45 - 15:30 h
Marjolijn van Heemstra (In person appearance)
Q&A
Zuiderkerk, Amsterdam, Zaterdag 25 september 2021
15:30 - 15:45 h
Richard Baker Roshi & Marjolijn van Heemstra




Richard Baker Roshi


Richard Baker Roshi is a world-famous Zenmaster with a stylish Character.
He was already active in the sixties and seventies in San Francisco during and after the Beat Generation.
He was a friend with Alan Watts the B-Generation poet.
He was the founder of the great Zencenter in San Francisco and the restaurant chain: Greens which was an instant success.
Baker Roshi combined a quality as an organizer and Zenmaster in one person which is and was rare.
Some conflicts arose from that mindset, but If there is anybody alive who combines all these qualities and can turn them into a discourse of tremendous depth, it is Richard Baker Roshi.

Zen teacher Richard Baker was born in Maine in 1936. He studied architecture and history at Harvard College and in 1960 left the East Coast for San Francisco. A year later he began studying Zen with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. In 1962, Suzuki Roshi established San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC), the first residential Zen center in the West. In 1966, SFZC expanded to include the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, where Zen practice adhered to the traditional modes of a Japanese Soto monastery. Shortly before his death in November 1971, Suzuki Roshi installed Richard Baker as the abbot of the extended community. Over the next twelve years, Baker Roshi’s work included the founding of the Green Gulch Zen Practice Community in Marin County, the Tassajara Bread Bakery, and the Greens Restaurant. In 1983, under pressure from senior members of the community, and amid accusations and subsequent denials of sexual and financial misconduct, Baker Roshi resigned from his position as abbot. The rift between Baker Roshi and SFZC remained bitter for many years and still lacks resolution.

After leaving San Francisco, Baker Roshi started the Dharma Sangha, with centers in Germany, Austria, and Crestone, Colorado. For the past six years, Baker Roshi and his companion, Ulrike Greenway, have divided their time between the United States and Europe. His forthcoming book, Original Mind: The Practice of Zen in the West, will be published by Riverhead Books (Putnam).


Compare these words with the commentary in block 9 of Tim Parks : The spread mind


Baker Roshi: First, just because Buddhism is called a religion and Christianity is called a religion, and so forth, one cannot assume that they occupy the same territory in a culture. For example, Buddhism offers no contradiction to science, it has no problem with science at all, so the deep and fundamental split between science and the humanities that we’ve known in the West simply doesn’t exist with Buddhism.

Sugata: You mean the fear that science would displace God, or jeopardize the construction of who we think God is?


Baker Roshi: Yes, that just doesn’t exist in Buddhism. Also, going back to India before Buddhism, the basic conceptual position that Buddhism grew out of is that the exterior world and the interior world are the same—share the same reality or actuality. Whatever reality is, that’s what we are. We don’t live in the world as in a house. The house is us, and the house is in us. Nowadays, contemporary physicists are asking a similar question: If this is the way physics describes the world, then how should this affect my life? And Buddhists are saying, If this is the way the world is, then this must be the way we are too. So that’s why it overlaps with science. So many of these processes of studying ourselves and others are drawing on Buddhism because it offers the most developed technique of studying consciousness especially our own.


Marjolijn van Heemstra



In lichtjaren heeft niemand haast

Als we in deze tijd ergens te weinig van hebben, dan is het ruimte. Ruimte in onze agenda’s. Ruimte in ons hoofd. Ruimte in ons leven.

Maar wat als we het bestaan vanaf de grootst denkbare afstand bekijken?

Marjolijn van Heemstra neemt je mee op een intrigerende reis door de ruimte die we op aarde missen, en de ruimte die ons tegelijkertijd overal omringt.
Langs de vierkante meters waarop we elkaar in de weg lopen, tot de cirkels die we trekken om de zon. Want terwijl de wereld benauwder wordt en ons leven gehaaster, ontdekte ze: in lichtjaren heeft niemand haast.

Mini-docu: De Nacht-Wacht bij Hotel Isis from Stichting Marjolijn van Heemstra on Vimeo.