The Goal of No Goal
Assessing Contemplative Practice

How do we assess contemplative practice when the attitude of practice is to have no goal? For a decade, Richard Collins taught literature at Xavier University, including a popular seminar on Zen literature. Those students have kept in contact with him over the last decade, providing feedback about their exposure to Zen literature and contemplative practice. Collins will share some of this feedback and how practice has informed his life as a Zen teacher, father, scholar, writer, professor, and university administrator. Central to his tradition's practice are two concepts: mushotoku (effort without the desire for profit, without personal gain) and shikantaza (just sitting--without goal or purpose). Together we will explore how these "goal-less" goals might be assessed in a system where only the quantifiable seems to be valued.

Richard Collins is Dean of Arts and Humanities at California State University, Bakersfield, and a Zen teacher at the New Orleans Zen Temple in the tradition of Taisen Deshimaru. Collins edited Deshimaru's commentaries on the Heart Sutra, Mushotoku Mind, The Heart of the Heart Sutra (Hohm Press, 2012). His new book is No Fear Zen: Discovering Balance in an Unbalanced World (Hohm Press, 2015), which Charles Johnson, author of Middle Passage and Oxherding Tale, has called a book of "wisdom and inspiration." Collins was RosaMary Professor of English at Xavier (1997-2007) and longtime editor of the Xavier Review.

(Photo and sculpture by James E. McKie, Jr.)

  • Led by: Richard Collins
  • Date: Monday, July 6, 2015
  • Time: Noon - 1:30 PM
  • Location: Mellon Seminar Room (Library 532B)
  • Sponsor: CAT

Note: Lunch will be served.

To register: RSVP to

Tags: contemplative
Format: discussion
Event ID: 01355

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