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Buddhist Studies Forum featuring Halvor Eifring – Let the mind wander towards the Pure Land: Two 19th-Century Chinese Monks on How to Treat Spontaneous Thought
April 25, 2022 @ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Speaker: Halvor Eifring, University of Oslo
Mind wandering has been an issue within contemplative traditions for more than two thousand years. How to go about your meditation or prayer when spontaneous thoughts constantly pull your mind in other directions? This talk will focus on the answers of two 19th-century Chinese Pure Land Buddhist monks, Wukai (悟開, d. 1830) and Gukun (古崑, c. 1828–1892). Both display seemingly paradoxical attitudes towards mind wandering, combining the urge to drive it away with the wish to accept it. They do so, however, for different reasons, which will be presented and discussed in the talk.