Paul Haller on achieving Zen 

For the past 20 years, Haller has taught at the San Francisco Zen Center. From 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, he will speak in the Koret Auditorium at the de Young Museum as part of a lecture titled “Love in the Age of Enlightenment.”

How did you become involved in practicing Zen? When I was a young man I traveled extensively, and at the end of those travels I found myself in Japan. I was introduced to Zen there, and it became such an extraordinarily powerful aspect of my life that I made it my principal activity.

What are the most important tenets to Zen? Zen is all about discovering what’s happening in your life and coming to trust who you are. When we trust who we are, we can discover the wisdom and compassion within ourselves. We develop this awareness through meditation, and we carry that awareness in all the activities of our lives.

Zen is an Eastern philosophy. How widely practiced is it in the Western world? Well, I think the number of people who get up and practice Zen meditation every morning is limited, but there are certain aspects of it that are very pervasive in this culture.

What will Saturday’s lecture focus on?
It will focus on the service of creating love and intimacy with others that is both a spiritual quest and a quest of our personal being.

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Will Reisman

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