What is This? consists of the meditation instructions and Dharma talks given by Stephen Batchelor during a Sŏn (Chan/Zen) retreat offered at the Gaia House retreat centre in Devon in April 2016. It introduces us to the practice of radical questioning as taught in the Korean Sŏn Buddhist tradition and offers reflections on how this form of meditation can be understood today.
The edited talks in this book explore how a practice that originated in China more than a thousand years ago can be enriched by ideas from the natural sciences, ancient and modern Western philosophy, Romantic poetry and the early Buddhism of the Pali Canon. The book serves both as a practice manual as well as a personal and critical reflection on the challenge of being fully human in the contemporary world.
All profits from this book will be donated to the building appeal to help raise funds to improve the building and provide a better environment for all those who visit, reside and work at Gaia House. The book was conceived by Stephen after Jim Champion - the secretary of HBS - sent him the transcripts that he had made of the recordings of these dhamma talks that are freely available on the dharmaseed.org website (link). The book was launched at a special event at Gaia House on the 28th April, which Jim and family attended.