Cultivation of Detachment in Chan Buddhism

 Professor Mario Poceski



The heart of Mario’s talk focuses on the fundamental danger of practice of unknowingly turning the practice itself into just another possession of the self. He focuses on the teachings of the early Chan masters who developed teachings and structures to alert practitioners of this danger that many would consider the greatest challenge of the spiritual path, in that of surrendering the notion of self without simply reinforcing it.

Professor Mario Poceski is an associate professor of Buddhist studies and Chinese religions at the University of Florida, USA. His latest books include:

The Wiley Blackwell Companion to East and Inner Asian Buddhism (Blackwell 2014)
Introducing Chinese Religions (Routledge 2009)
Ordinary Mind as the Way: The Hongzhou School and the Growth of Chan Buddhism (Oxford 2007)


rob grant:

Fascinating insights into the approach of 7th century Chan masters to the challenges of detaching from the self (especially the challenge of “detaching from detachment”). Also some humorous observations on the conceit with which we co-opt religion as an extension of the self–particularly the propensity of many Westerners to (ab)use Buddhism as a form of therapy. .

Karen Piggin:

A really informative talk. I got slightly despondent with the emphasis on humans having such propensity to mess things up, but on reflection it does seem to be an accurate assessment of the focus we all have on ourselves and our habitual tendency to put me first. A super ending, culminating in the Chan three-step approach to detachment, the Bodhisattva path, and how with commitment and on-going reflection we can aspire to drop all ideas of self gain and instead practise for others.