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We are all familiar with the image of a person sitting alone, cross-legged on a cushion or under a tree, practicing meditation as instructed by the Buddha. We are less familiar with the many guidelines the Buddha offered about how people can get along with one another better, and about using our interactions with others as a form of practice. Living in harmony with others is a skill that can be learned. There are specific psychological factors underlying the conflicts we engage in, and there are specific practical steps we can take to minimize and even neutralize these factors in everyday life. There are also antidotes to these harmful underlying tendencies of the heart and mind that can be activley cultivated and reinforced.In this course we look at a number of texts in which the Buddha describes all this, and we learn specific practices that will help us grow in healthier ways.
The program consists of eight units, each built around a carefully chosen passage from the early Buddhist texts (Pali Canon) that addresses an aspect of living in harmony. The text is presented in English and in Pali (side by side), with a commentary on each, describing the context and significance of the passage, and a breakdown of the meaning of the most interesting and significant Pali words and phrases. There is a 15-minute video introducing the theme of each passage, and a 15-minute video exploring ways its teaching can be put into practice in one's own life. All written materials may be downloaded and printed as .pdf files, and may also be downloaded as .mp3 audio files.
The Integrated Dharma Program
Integrated Dharma is a new approach to understanding and embodying the teachings of the Buddha. It is intended to bring contemporary people living in the modern world into very intimate contact with the thoughts and words of the historical Buddha. The approach is respectful of the classical tradition and faithful to the original teachings, but also secular in its orientation and focused more on the practical psychology of Buddhism than upon its religious or metaphysical aspects.
The program consists of three courses, each organized into 16 Units, with two texts per unit, for a total of 32 texts per unit and 96 texts altogether. The texts are short (one to two page) extracts from the Pali Canon, carefully selected and re-translated in gender-universal language. Each text is offered in both English translation and Pali original, in a side-by side format. There is a commentary on the English, bringing out the main ideas and putting them into context, and a commentary on the Pali, describing why some of the key words are translated as they are. There is also guidelines for investigating the meaning of each text in your own experience, and a section of suggestions for putting the teaching into practice in your own life.
All this material is offered both in downloadable and printable .pdf files, and in downloadable and streamable .mp3 audio files. Access to the material is open-ended, and participants can access any part of the program at any time. There is no time limit, and access will remain open indefinitely.
The second course in the program, Developing the Mind, focuses on samādhi, or the practices of meditation. When the mind can get free of its habitual restlessness and settle down upon a chosen object of attention, with some stability and clarity, one can one begin to see what the Buddha is pointing to in his teachings. Beginning with some basic ways of looking at mental training and clarifying the difference between directed and undirected meditation, the course takes a very close look at the classical instructions for meditation found in the Establishment of Mindfulness Discourse, including its important refrain, and at all four foundations of mindfulness individually. The higher concentration practices of absorption or jhāna are examined carefully, and each of the four ‘sublime abidings’ or brahma-vihāras are also investigated thoroughly. It goes on to address the issues of skillful effort and working with mental states, and concludes with a close look at the Mettā Sutta, the well-loved discourse on how to cultivate loving kindness and the many benefits of doing so.
Part III: Deepening Wisdom (paññā) 16-unit online course REGISTER NOW!
Like the Buddha himself, many of us are interested in living a more intentional life and devoting time and energy to things that matter most, including our own inner development. Whether you are about to retire and interested in downshifting or simply hoping for a richer spiritual life, Going Forth will guide you through early Buddhist texts that can help you cultivate balance, wisdom, and fulfillment. In this carefully structured program, we’ll spend eight weeks looking at a selection of passages from the Pali Canon and gain insight into the Buddha’s profound teachings.
The program consists of eight units, each built around a carefully chosen passage from the early Buddhist texts (Pali Canon) that addresses an aspect of going forth into a lifestyle of greater meaning and understanding. The text is presented in English and in Pali (side by side), with a commentary on each, describing the context and significance of the passage, and a breakdown of the meaning of the most interesting and significant Pali words and phrases. There is a 15-minute video introducing the theme of each passage, and a 15-minute video exploring ways its teaching can be put into practice in one's own life. All written materials may be downloaded and printed as .pdf files, and may also be downloaded as .mp3 audio files.
Learning how to meditate—and how to distinguish between your helpful and unhelpful habits—is a valuable, life-altering process. But in classical Buddhist study, these practices are the precursors to the most important aspect of the path: the development of wisdom. When wisdom is present and strong, a durable sense of well-being can flourish. This course takes a close look at the cornerstone topics of Buddhism such as impermanence, non-self, and interdependent origination, beginning the process of the development of wisdom in your own life. By studying the traditional texts and applying what you learn, you cannot help but be changed. This is a great opportunity to study primary sources with the guidance of a knowledgeable and contemporary Buddhist scholar, who will translate and explain the early scriptures in a way relevant to contemporary times.
Part II: Developing the Mind (samādhi) 16-unit online course REGISTER NOW!
Part I: Living With Integrity (sīla) 16-unit online course REGISTER NOW!
The first course in the program, Living with Integrity, addresses the topic of sīla, of how to live skillfully, experience profound well-being, and build a stable foundation of ethical behavior upon which progress in developing the mind and deepening wisdom can be supported and sustained. The importance of engaging actively with the teachings is emphasized, as well as allowing progress along the path to develop naturally. All the classical guidelines of the 8-fold path are covered, including speaking, acting, and living carefully, and practical approaches to sexuality and intoxication are addressed. The course includes teachings about generosity as a wider ethical practice, the cultivation of contentment, the skillful use of energy and intention, and learning to discern the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviors and states of mind. It concludes with a close reading of the householder’s guide to happiness, the Mangala Sutta, a discourse on the many kinds of blessings one can experience when living with integrity.
Our visit to the beautiful island of Sri Lanka will be an integrated study and practice experience. We will be learning about how the classical Buddhist teachings made their way to Sri Lanka from India during the time of King Ashoka in the third century BCE, and how the island welcomed and nurtured the early tradition as the winds of change and innovation swept across north India. Many of the sites we visit are important landmarks in the process of transmission, and we will have a copy of the ancient historical chronicles (Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Culavamsa) on hand as we tour the island. We will make an opportunity to sit in meditation each day, in a peaceful natural setting whenever possible, and allow the grace and dignity of a country steeped in Buddhist teachings for more than two millennia to infuse our practice.
LIVING IN HARMONY A study and practice course offered with Tricycle Online Courses A self-paced online course
Study and Practice Journey to Sri Lanka 2-week excursion
Buddhist Scholar, Teacher and Writer
GOING FORTH A study and practice course offered with Tricycle Online Courses A self-paced online course