Summer 2021 Dharma Series: Three Turnings of the Wheel

Practice Center
Date / Time
Jun 7, 2021 / 7:30pm - Aug 24, 2021 / 9:00pm
Event Type
Classes & Extended Courses

All three classes are offered online. Register for each class through the link on the webpage.

About this Series

During this three-month summer series, San Francisco Zen Center's senior teachers will be offering classes and lectures on what are known as the Three Turnings of the Wheel.

June 7 – 28 — First Turning: A Zen Approach to the Satipatthana Sutta—The Direct Path of Realizations with Ryushin Paul Haller

July 6 – 27 — Second Turning: The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra – The Teaching of Vimalakīrti with Eijun Linda Cutts

August 3 – 24 — Third Turning: Gazing into the Well of our Existence with Furyu Schroeder

The Satipatthana Sutta, which describes the four foundational practices of mindfulness, is one of the primary teachings of early Buddhism, known as the First Turning of the Dharma Wheel. It outlines a progressive methodology for the cultivation of awareness.

This four-week class will be offered in June by Senior Dharma Teacher Ryushin Paul Haller, who will examine each of the categories of practice in the Satipatthana and compare them to the perspectives and practices within the Zen tradition.

The Second Turning of the Wheel took place on Vulture Peak when the Buddha revealed to his senior monks the teaching of prajna paramita, wisdom beyond wisdom. The primary philosophical school of the Second Turning is the Middle Way School, founded by Nagarjuna, also known as the Second Buddha.

In July, Senior Dharma Teacher Eijun Linda Cutts will offer a four-week class on the Vimalakirti Sutra, a Second Turning Teaching that features the wise and clever layman, Vimalakirti, who bests the Buddha’s senior students as to their understanding of non-duality and emptiness. This sutra features the famous “shout” the layman gives in response to a question—a shout that came to be known as the Thunderous Silence in which he said nothing at all.

The Third Turning of the Wheel took place in response to the followers of the Buddha who wanted to know what he had in mind when he gave the first two sets of teachings. He then taught the third turning which gives an even deeper revelation of the nature of the ultimate truth using a more conceptual and logical approach than in the Second Turning teachings.

In August, Green Gulch Farm Abiding Abbess Furyu Schroeder will offer a class on Vasubandhu’s 30 Verses, a summary of the primary teachings of the Third Turning sutras, which became the basis for what is known as the Mind-Only, or Yogacara, School of Buddhism.

  • Along with the classes that will be offered during the summer program, there will be a number of other teachers offering weekly lectures on these primary “turnings” or themes throughout each of the three months. These lectures will be offered during our regularly scheduled Dharma talk times (Wednesday evenings and Saturday and Sunday mornings). See our calendar for more information on upcoming speakers.