A picture of a home altar

The “10,000 Things of Western Zen” – Alasdair Taisen Gordon-Finlayson

Dear sangha member,

I am a researcher at the University of Northampton, UK, and as you might know, I am also a Zen practitioner in the StoneWater Sangha. I received tokudo in 2011, and was made ‘Hoshi’ last year by Keizan Roshi, who’s graciously permitted me to send out this call for help with my new research project, which I’m calling the “10,000 Things of Western Zen”.

I have a particular interest in how we shape our physical spaces in light of our practice. This ‘material culture’ in the lives of British Zen practitioners is something that has not previously been researched. I’m looking for people to share photos with me of your home practice spaces (and any other areas in your home that show a Zennie/Buddhist influence) to help understand how Zen is adapting to UK culture and how we as Brits are adapting to Zen.

My study aims to use the photos that people send me to examine how our practices and beliefs are reflected and embodied in our homes and everyday artefacts and what this says about us and about contemporary British Zen. I would also want to follow up with some of the contributors to carry out more detailed interviews about the images shared with me.

The highest ethical standards will of course be maintained – protection from harm, anonymity, confidentiality and data protection will all be maintained to the standards of the British Psychological Society’s Code of Human Research Ethics – as well as my own commitment to the Zen Buddhist precepts that I have taken in my jukai and shukke tokudo ordinations

To participate, please go to https://form.jotform.com/alasdairgordonfinlayson/10000-things-of-western-zen. To ask any questions, please email me at alasdair.gordon-finlayson@northampton.ac.uk.

Many thanks,
Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson (aka Alasdair Taisen G-F)
Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Faculty of Health, Education & Society
University of Northampton