Zen Christian Meditation Retreat

Contemplative exercises and Buddhist insights for a deeper Christian spirituality.
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  • Lectures 23
  • Length 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 9/2014 English

Course Description

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.

What are the requirements?

  • Time and space for meditation
  • Mind, thinking, and action

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Explore contemplative practices
  • Discover intersections between Christian and Buddhist spirituality
  • Increase awareness of your divine nature

Who is the target audience?

  • Christians looking for a new spiritual insights
  • Buddhists interested in a biblical spin on the Dharma

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Zen: The Original Point

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


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.


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


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

Section 2: Peace and Mindfulness

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


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.


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.


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

Section 3: Healing by Letting Go

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


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.


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


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


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.

Section 4: Obtaining Spiritual Freedom

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


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.


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


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

Section 5: Bodhisattva Action

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


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.


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.


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.


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.

Conclusion to the Course

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Instructor Biography

James Burraston, 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.

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