HZM551 - Bodhidharma - the Man, the Myth, the Legend (3 Units)
Textbook: The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma: A Bilingual Edition by Red Pine
9 week course 

There is a question as to whether there is conclusive evidence on the existence of Bodhidharma, the 28th Ancestor after the Buddha in the Zen Buddhist tradition. Though he is an icon in the Zen tradition, many scholars and researchers still insist that he is a myth. 
Credit is due to those Chinese authors of the 5th, 6th and 7thcenturies who wrote about Bodhidharma in China - in the days when there were no modern facilities to assist them in their writing. It is only due to their writings and references to Bodhidharma that we are able to establish his bonafide and do away with the “myth” theory that is still being propagated. Regardless of this fact, if Bodhidharma did not exist, some very wise person wrote the essays that bear his name in history. It is the heart of Bodhidharma that we follow and this class will explore the man, the myth and the legend.

Separating the imaginative stories from facts has led to the creation of this course and Bodhidharma’s resilience and persistence in his endeavors set an example for us to pursue the practice of Zen ,though at times it becomes extremely difficult, as Bodhidharma is regarded as saying,“Fall down nine times, get up ten times.”
HZM552 - Chán Master Huangbo (3 Units)
Textbook: The Zen Teaching of Huang-Po: On the Transmission of Mind by John Blofeld
9 week course 

This complete translation of the original collection of sermons, dialogues, and anecdotes of Huang Po, the illustrious Chinese master of the Tang Dynasty, allows the Western reader to gain an understanding of Zen from the original source, one of the key works in its teachings; it also offers deep and often startling insights into the rich treasures of Eastern thought. Nowhere is the use of paradox in Zen illustrated better than in the teaching of Huang Po, who shows how the experience of intuitive knowledge that reveals to a man what he is cannot be communicated by words. With the help of these paradoxes, beautifully and simply presented in this collection, Huang Po could set his disciples on the right path. It is in this fashion that the Zen master leads his listener into truth, often by a single phrase designed to destroy his particular demon of ignorance.

HZM554 - Chán Master Mǎzŭ (3 Units)
Prerequisites: None 
Sun-Face Buddha: The Teachings of Ma-Tsu
9 week course 

A translation of the primary materials on the life and teachings of Ma-Tsu (709-788), the successor to the great sixth patriarch and the greatest Ch'an master in history, Hui-Neng (638-713). The book should be invaluable to all who wish to study the development of the Zen thought and philosophy over the course of history.

Course Description 

In this course, we will explore the life and writings of the thirteenth-century Buddhist priest, poet, and Zen Master Eihei Dōgen. Dōgen is known as the founder of the Sōtō Zen school of Buddhism in Japan. His major writings, collected into the Shōbōgenzō, also known as the “Treasury of the True Dharma Eye,” is considered a seminal work in Buddhist literature and philosophy. It covers topics from the mundane, including how monks are to care for their hygiene, to the esoteric, including the nature of time itself. The course will give the student a variety of resources both to study during the course, and to return to in order to delve more deeply into Dōgen’s philosophy, practice, and work. 


  • Demonstrate and explain how to do zazen meditation 
  • Describe Dōgen’s history and his influence on Buddhism 
  • List components of Dōgen’s instructions for monastics 
  • Compare and contrast different translations of Dōgen’s writings 
  • Describe how Dōgen used Kōans, and compare one of his kōans to a corresponding Dharma talk 
  • Describe how Dōgen’s writings can be used in your work as a priest, teacher, or chaplain 


  • Engaging in all components of each week comprised of videos, readings, reflection papers, and other exercises 
  • Regularly contributing to discussions and responding to peers: 30% 
  • A mid-term assessment assignment: 30% 
  • A final paper: 40%