Exec Ed from a Zen Master and Christian Mystic - IEDP
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Exec Ed from a Zen Master and Christian Mystic

Lessons for leaders from Father Willigis Jäger


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To complement their “Zen for Leadership” executive program leading Dutch management centre De Baak is organizing a unique seminar on January 25, 2011 with the Benedictine monk and Zen master Father Willigis Jäger.

Jäger is one of the great mystics and spiritual teachers of our time. At the learning events and lectures he holds around the world, he directs people towards a deeper path of spiritual experience, which he believes can provide us with the power of renewal as individuals, and furthermore bring a renewal of humanity and all aspects of society.

Jäger’s teachings go far beyond the traditional concepts of religion. His vision of an integral spirituality combines profound religious expression from the East with the wisdom of the Western tradition, while also including the latest insights from the world of science.His teachings are said to represent a modern and transconfessional spirituality, a spirituality which can answer the pressing questions of those on the spiritual path of the 21st century.

Jäger was a Benedictine monk who after meeting Yamada Koun Roshi became one of his leading Western disciples. Yamada Koun Roshi became the head of the famed Sanbo Kyodan monastery, in Japan in the early 1970's and he opened the doors to Western students. The Sanbo Kyodan is an independent lay school of Japanese Zen in the Soto tradition. After Father Willigis Jäger Roshi had mastered many levels of Zen teaching he was given permission to teach in Europe.

Censured for playing down the Christian concept of God as a person in his work as a spiritual guide, and for stressing mystical experience above doctrinal truths, Jäger was ordered by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to cease all public activities. Jäger kept quiet for a little while, but soon he was speaking and writing again. In 2003 and 2006 Liguori Press published his books Search for the Meaning of Life: Essays and Reflections on the Mystical Experience, and Mysticism for Modern Times: Conversations with Willigis Jager.

Jäger believes that the universe is evolving and that man has reached a major milestone in evolution, entering an era in which his consciousness will be transformed. He believes that all religions point to the same God and promotes interfaith dialogue as the key to unifying mankind. He also links up mystic experiences of the world with modern natural sciences. In his opinion natural sciences validate mystical spirituality. He quotes the American Nobel prize winner Gary Zukav who wrote: “Don’t be surprised if in the 21st century lectures on meditation appear in university catalogues for physics.” By speaking at De Baak he will also be addressing a 21st century executive education audience.

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