The 13th century Zen master Dogen Zenji once wrote: “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by the myriad things of the world.”
Drawing on her own novels, her Zen practice, and Buddhist texts, Ozeki will discuss some of the ways in which autobiographical narrative fiction might function as praxis -- a way of observing, interrogating and deconstructing the "self" in order to perform, or act out, core Zen teachings of no-self, emptiness and dependent co-arising.
Ruth Ozeki is Professor of English Language and Literature and the Grace Jarcho Ross Professor of Humanities at Smith College. She is also an award-winning author, filmmaker and Zen priest. Her best-selling novel A Tale for the Time Being (2013) won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her earlier novels, My Year of Meats (1998) and All Over Creation (2003), were both New York Times Notable Books. Her latest book, The Face: A Time Code (2016), is a memoir. A longtime meditator, Ozeki was ordained in 2010 as a novice priest in the Soto Zen lineage.