Zen and the Art of Storytelling

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Bai, H. & Cohen, A. (2014). Zen and the art of storytelling. Studies in Philosophy and Education. Springer, 33(3). DOI: 10.1007/s11217-014-9413-8

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Zen Buddhism
Educational philosophy
Moral education
Zen mind

This paper explores the contribution of Zen storytelling to moral education. First, an understanding of Zen practice, what it is and how it is achieved, is established. Second, the connection between Zen practice and ethics is shown in terms of the former’s ability to cultivate moral emotions and actions. It is shown that Zen practice works at the roots of consciousness where, according to the fundamental tenets of Buddhism, the possibility of human goodness, known as bodhicitta (awakened heartmind), lies. Third, it is suggested that storytelling is a viable and desirable means of moral education. Two examples of Zen stories are introduced, and interpretive commentaries are offered in the service of illustrating the major points made in this article. 

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