Ben Connelly's New Book
Inside Vasubandhu's Yogacara: A Practitioner's Guide

Foreword by Norman Fischer
Wisdom Publications, 248 pages, ISBN: 9781614292845, December 2016
Click here to read a review in Publishers Weekly.
Click here to read Ben's article on the book in the MZMC Fall Newsletter 2016.

Book Tour Dates 2017

  • January 29, Dharma Field Zen Center, Minneapolis, MN
  • February 24 – 26, Midtown Atlanta Zen Group, Atlanta GA
  • February 26, Atlanta Soto Zen Center, Atlanta GA
  • March 25, Zen Center of Los Angeles, LA, CA
  • March 26, Santa Barbara Zen Center, Santa Barbara, CA
  • March 27, Dogen Sangha Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
  • March 28, Monterey Bay Zen Center, Carmel, CA
  • March 29, Santa Cruz Zen Center, Santa Cruz, CA
  • March 30, Bamboo in the Wind, Sunnyvale, CA
  • March 31, San Francisco Zen Center, SF, CA
  • April 2, Jikoji, Lost Gatos, CA
  • April 3, Dieu Nahn Zen Convent, Rescue, CA
  • April 4, Bamboo in the Wind, Sunnyvale, CA
  • April 5, Mount Diablo Zen, Pleasant Hill, CA
  • April 7, Heart of Wisdom, Portland, OR
  • April 8, Dharma Rain, Portland, OR
  • April 19, Marblehead Zen Center, Beverly, MA
  • April 23, Village Zendo, NY, NY
  • April 27, All Beings Zen, Washington, DC
  • April 28 – 30, Crooked River Zen, Cleveland, OH
  • May 1, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, Chicago, IL
  • May 17, Mountain Cloud Zen, Santa Fe, NM
  • May 18, Fort Collins Zen, Fort Collins, CO
  • May 20, Boulder Zen Center, Boulder, CO
  • May 21, Prairie Mountain Zen, Longmont, CO
  • June 10, Iowa City Zen Center, Iowa City, IA
  • June 11, Des Moines Zen Center, Des Moines, IA

More about the book:
A practical guide to Vasubandhu's classic work "Thirty Verses of Consciousness Only" that can transform modern life and change how you see the world.

In this down-to-earth book, Ben Connelly sure-handedly guides us through the intricacies of Yogacara and the richness of the "Thirty Verses." Dedicating a chapter of the book to each line of the poem, he lets us thoroughly lose ourselves in its depths. His warm and wise voice unpacks and contextualizes its wisdom, showing us how we can apply its ancient insights to our own modern lives, to create a life of engaged peace, harmony, compassion, and joy.

In fourth-century India one of the great geniuses of Buddhism, Vasubandhu, sought to reconcile the diverse ideas and forms of Buddhism practiced at the time and demonstrate how they could be effectively integrated into a single system. This was the Yogacara movement, and it continues to have great influence in modern Tibetan and Zen Buddhism. "Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only," or "Trimshika," is the most concise, comprehensive, and accessible work by this revered figure.

Vasubandhu's "Thirty Verses" lay out a path of practice that integrates the most powerful of Buddhism's psychological and mystical possibilities: Early Buddhism's practices for shedding afflictive emotional habit and the Mahayana emphasis on shedding divisive concepts, the path of individual liberation and the path of freeing all beings, the path to nirvana and the path of enlightenment as the very ground of being right now. Although Yogacara has a reputation for being extremely complex, the "Thirty Verses" distills the principles of these traditions to their most practical forms, and this book follows that sense of focus; it goes to the heart of the matter — how do we alleviate suffering through shedding our emotional knots and our sense of alienation?

This is a great introduction to a philosophy, a master, and a work whose influence reverberates throughout modern Buddhism.

Ben began Zen practice at MZMC in 2001, was ordained in 2009, and received dharma transmission in 2015. He is currently serving as a member of the Leadership Group and as Program Administrator. He started teaching Introduction to Meditation in 2005, and since then has taught a variety of courses to both newcomers and long-term Zen practitioners. Inspired again and again by the way people give themselves to the practice of transforming their lives at MZMC, he has taken up creating new practice offerings for the community, listening to students, washing dishes, and watching the wind cross the lake as Zen practice. Ben is a musician by profession: a singer and songwriter, guitar teacher, film composer and multi-instrumentalist. His first book, Inside the Grass Hut, Living Shitou's Classic Zen Poem (Wisdom Publications) was published in 2014, and his new translation and commentary on Vasubandhu's Thirty Verses was published by Wisdom in 2016.

Our mission is to help people experience a deep and quiet joy – a joy that arises whenever we are fully engaged in the work or play of this moment.