Zen Christian Meditation Retreat
4.3 (9 ratings)
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Zen Christian Meditation Retreat

Contemplative exercises and Buddhist insights for a deeper Christian spirituality.
4.3 (9 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
85 students enrolled
Created by James Burraston
Last updated 5/2015
Current price: $10 Original price: $20 Discount: 50% off
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  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 8 mins on-demand audio
  • 9 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Explore contemplative practices
  • Discover intersections between Christian and Buddhist spirituality
  • Increase awareness of your divine nature
View Curriculum
  • Time and space for meditation
  • Mind, thinking, and action

There’s kind of a cliché among people who’ve studied and practiced with both Christianity and Buddhism. The Christians say learning Buddhism makes them better Christians, and Buddhists say the Christianity makes them better Buddhists. I have found this to be true from my own practice. This course is an opportunity to find out why, through examining how ideas from the great religious traditions converge and inform each other.

Designed as a 4-week "retreat in daily life", this course asks you to commit to a daily meditation practice and explore how the contemplative techniques can help you to find clarity, peace, healing, freedom, and new energy.

In a series of five lectures we will examine:

  • Humanity’s basic goodness and the path to enlightenment
  • The causes of human suffering in attachment and thinking
  • How people commonly create unnecessary suffering
  • The value of being mindful of God’s presence
  • Jesus' roles as healer and Zen teacher
  • The path from coping, to healing, to liberation
  • The emergence of an intrinsic discipleship

After each lecture you will learn a new meditation technique that is found in Buddhist practice, but is connected with biblical teaching. These meditation techniques range from simple to complicated, but their true value is only discovered by experience and regular practice. They cover functions such as:

  • viewing your own thinking
  • identifying attachments and desires
  • disrupting disordered opinion
  • and experiencing love and compassion.

A final component of the course is the opportunity to reflect on these ideas and discuss them with your fellow retreat participants. With each lecture there are some selected scripture readings for you to engage with and share your thoughts in the discussion forums. Similarly at the beginning of each new session you will have the chance to learn from the experiences of your fellow meditators as well as share your own.

Who is the target audience?
  • Christians looking for a new spiritual insights
  • Buddhists interested in a biblical spin on the Dharma
Compare to Other Christianity Courses
Curriculum For This Course
23 Lectures
Zen: The Original Point
4 Lectures 23:09

A description of the structure of the course and some suggestions for improving the outcomes of your retreat.

Preview 07:03

This lecture presents some of the most basic ideas from Zen Buddhism and how they are communicated through the Bible, including a description of the origins of suffering and the search for enlightenment at the original point. You can download a list of all the scripture references from this lecture.

Preview 13:10

This is our first "discussion lecture" of the retreat. Share your thoughts about the temptations Jesus experienced in the wilderness.

Jesus on Meditation Retreat

Our first and most basic meditation exercise. For more exercises of a similar type, check out the document for download.

Basic Meditation Exercise
Peace and Mindfulness
4 Lectures 16:17

At the beginning of our second week of retreat, we now have an opportunity to reflect on our meditation experiences of the first week.

Sangha Sharing

This explores the need for peace and the biblical teachings and Buddhist methods for finding it. You can download a list of all the scripture references from this lecture.

Peace and Mindfulness

An exercise in being mindful of the body. For ideas on practicing mindfulness in other areas of your life check out the document for download.

A Mindfulness Exercise

As another way of practicing mindfulness I demonstrate and explain a qigong movement that can help you experience peace.

A Moving Meditation
Healing by Letting Go
5 Lectures 18:39

Reflect and share your meditation and mindfulness experiences of the second week.

Sangha Sharing

This lecture examines the processes that generate spiritual woundedness and the consequences of attachment. I argue the need for the person to identify and let go of attachment in order to be open to receiving healing grace.

You can download a list of all the scripture references from this lecture.

Healing by Letting Go

Reflect and discuss the story of Jesus healing a paralytic, and instruction on healing from the Epistle of James.

Requirement for Healing

Introductory meditation for discovering attachments and desires. The supplementary document offers suggestions for processing attachments and woundedness.

Insight Meditation

A few follow up notes on insight meditation and the encounter with your own demons. Some perspectives that may help during this challenging phase of the retreat.

Help During Temptation in the Desert
Obtaining Spiritual Freedom
4 Lectures 14:42

Share and process your insights and experiences of meditating for the third week of retreat.

Sangha Sharing

Learn about how to find freedom from attachment and opinion through the use of action and Jesus' enlightened teachings. Consider the value of impossible questions and impossible commandments.

You can download a list of all the scripture references from this lecture.

Obtaining Spiritual Freedom

Reflect and discuss Jesus' teachings about attachment to material rewards and the story of the rich young man.

Rewards and Sacrifices

Suggestions for meditating with a koan. There are additional examples of Bible passages that present interesting koans in the document for download.

Koan Practice
Bodhisattva Action
6 Lectures 21:45

The last discussion of the retreat about our meditation experiences. Share yours from the last week, or the biggest from the entire retreat.

Sangha Sharing

Learn about the dynamic of sharing the good with others out of love and compassion. Such sharing is a natural consequence made possible when we first have our own needs met and have received the required gifts.

Bodhisattva Action

Reflect and discuss what it means to be a branch growing in the vine of Jesus and how the widow was able to give up her two mites.

The Source of Strength

This is an introduction to the last meditation of the retreat. Use one of the links in the Supplementary Material to see a movie clip that describes a version of this meditation.

Love and Compassion

This audio lecture will guide you through the four stages of our last meditation: the metta, or meditation to obtain love and compassion. You may want to set aside at least 20 minutes for this meditation exercise.

Guidance for Metta

Conclusion to the Course
About the Instructor
James Burraston
4.3 Average rating
9 Reviews
85 Students
1 Course
Educator and Behavioral Scientist

I'm just a guy who's been practicing meditation since he was 13, and had a chance to live in a Buddhist temple for a couple years. Meanwhile, I spent a lot of years teaching Gospel classes for my church, reading books on spirituality, and enjoying a variety of Ignatian retreats. My schooling has been in anthropology and educational research. I worked my way through undergrad doing field archaeology. Then I spent a few years teaching math and science. Currently I work as an educational researcher.