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Before and After Awakening: Creating the Pure Land

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In this Dharma Talk series, Kurt Spellmeyer—a Zen priest and a professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey—discusses the importance of emptiness in Zen Buddhism. Absence and presence, life and death, permanence and change—none of these describe the way things really are. Instead, they depict the way that things appear when we leave out emptiness—the missing half of reality. And when we put the emptiness back in, everything is changed.

Kurt Spellmeyer is a Zen priest who directs the Cold Mountain Zen Sangha in New Jersey and a Tricycle contributing editor. He teaches English at Rutgers University and is the author of Buddha at the Apocalypse: Awakening from a Culture of Destruction.