This seven-day intensive course gives beginning students a solid introduction to the Pāli language and the primary literature of early Buddhism, enabling them to begin the process of learning to read the texts for themselves.There are three components which are blended together throughout the week.
1. Academic. The course covers the place of Pāli in the family of Indic languages, the scope and diversity of the Pāli Canon, how to use the various reference protocols for the Pāli texts, understanding the Pāli alphabet and script, how to look up words in the Pāli/English dictionary and understand the information the dictionary provides, online tools and resources for research and for language study, the advantages and drawbacks of the secondary literature, and more.
2. Linguistic. The basic principles of word construction and of Pāli grammar are reviewed and clearly explained, including the inflection of nouns, verbal forms, syntax, an analysis of key Buddhist technical vocabulary, various literary conventions; the distinction between prose and verse, including an appreciation of poetic meter, and various strategies one might take toward translation.
3. Experiential. The course is designed for students with an interest in meditation and in putting the teachings into practice in their own experience. We work with selected passages and texts that point directly to lived experience, such as the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, and engage from time to time in meditation that is guided by these passages. Oral recitation is an important part of the course, not in the form of traditional chanting, but as a way of learning proper pronunciation and cadence, and as a means of bringing the material alive in experience.

LIVING IN HARMONY   A study and practice course offered with Tricycle Online Courses                    8-week online course          REGISTER SOON!

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Classical Buddhist Psychology:   Bodhi College: Good Enough College, London, UK                 Weekend course        REGISTER NOW!

Theory and Practice     

Integrated Dharma Program     Part I: Living With Integrity (sīla)                            16-week online course          Registration Opens

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aug 1, 2017                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

TEACHING SCHEDULE

 

GOING FORTH   A study and practice course offered with Tricycle Online Courses                   On-demand self-paced course          REGISTER SOON!

Presentation: "Reverse-engineering the mind: a Buddhist contribution to AI"     Shanghai, China           Conference Paper

Integrated Dharma Program     Part III:  Deepening Wisdom (paññā)                      16-week online course           Registration Opens:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mar 26, 2018

Integrated Dharma Program     Part II: Developing the Mind (samādhi)                  16-week online course           Registration Opens

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dec 1, 2017

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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.

Introduction to Pali         Bodhi College: Coates Castle, West Sussex, UK                      7-day residential course        REGISTER NOW!

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.

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.

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.

Andrew Olendzki

Buddhist Scholar, Teacher and Writer


Dharma Talk (TBD)     Community Meditation Center:New York, NY                                         Sunday Morning                  Public Talk

Study and Practice Journey to Sri Lanka                           2-week excursion                                                                                                                                           

Dharma Talk ('It Really Is About You')     Cambridge Insight MC:Cambridge, MA         Wednesday Evening           Public Talk

Early Buddhist literature contains a sophisticated model of the mind, body, and human behaviour that is of growing interest to modern psychologists, neuroscience researchers, and caregivers of all sorts. Rooted in the empirical experience of meditation and first-person investigation, it describes how a virtual world is constructed anew each moment, and explains in some detail how our experience is shaped by past action and how our responses in the present moment shape what will unfold in the future. This weekend program offers an overview of this model, and surveys some of the ways it can be practically applied to bring about change and greater well-being.
The first day of the course focuses on the conceptual model of five aggregates and six sense bases, arising and passing away each moment to construct a stream of consciousness and a virtual flow of experience. We examine how the presence or absence of suffering is governed by principles of interdependent origination, take a close look at the core Buddhist notion of non-self and its deep implications, and gain an understanding of a process of mental and emotional clarification that culminates in awakening.
The second day shifts to the practical application of this information to effect healing and transformation. We look at the role of ethics as a skilful tool for guiding behaviour away from unhealthy states and toward the cultivation of healthy states, and how both conscious and unconscious mechanisms affect this. We also look closely at different kinds of meditation, at how it works and why it is effective, and offer a broad outline of a path of healing and a vision of profound mental health.

Early Buddhist literature contains a sophisticated model of the mind, body, and human behaviour that is of growing interest to modern psychologists, neuroscience researchers, and caregivers of all sorts. Rooted in the empirical experience of meditation and first-person investigation, it describes how a virtual world is constructed anew each moment, and explains in some detail how our experience is shaped by past action and how our responses in the present moment shape what will unfold in the future. This weekend program offers an overview of this model, and surveys some of the ways it can be practically applied to bring about change and greater well-being.
The first day of the course focuses on the conceptual model of five aggregates and six sense bases, arising and passing away each moment to construct a stream of consciousness and a virtual flow of experience. We examine how the presence or absence of suffering is governed by principles of interdependent origination, take a close look at the core Buddhist notion of non-self and its deep implications, and gain an understanding of a process of mental and emotional clarification that culminates in awakening.
The second day shifts to the practical application of this information to effect healing and transformation. We look at the role of ethics as a skilful tool for guiding behaviour away from unhealthy states and toward the cultivation of healthy states, and how both conscious and unconscious mechanisms affect this. We also look closely at different kinds of meditation, at how it works and why it is effective, and offer a broad outline of a path of healing and a vision of profound mental health.

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.

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.

Integrated Dharma Program     Part III:  Deepening Wisdom (paññā)                      16-week online course           REGISTER NOW!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mar 26, 2017

Mind, Body & Human Behavior: Insights from      Centrum voor Mindfulness:

Buddhist Psychology for Healing and Well-Being         Amsterdam, NL                                                             Weekend course             REGISTER NOW!

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 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.

One way to go about designing an artificial mind is to look closely at the natural mind to see how it works.  Buddhist practitioners researched the mind many centuries ago using the empirical first-person methodology of meditation, and a detailed description of what they discovered is preserved in the literature we today call Dharma and Abhidharma. The early Buddhist model of mind is built around the sequential processing of bundled information by means of an apparatus that functions in six modes. In addition to this, three distinct but interdependent functions take place simultaneously: 1) the symbolic representation and interpretation of the information; 2) an analysis of the information's value to the apparatus; and 3) an appropriate response to the information by the apparatus. The process cycles several times per second, and each iteration is shaped by what went before and shapes what comes next—thus the apparatus learns and adapts. This presentation describes the model and discusses a number of intriguing implications for modern AI theory, including: the over-emphasis of symbolic processing and the neglect of other aspects of mind; whether feeling tone can ever be replicated; the crucial distinction between wholesome and unwholesome states; whether unwholesome states are necessary components of the system—the dangers posed if they are, and the promise offered if they are not; whether an artificial mind might either be designed to be awakened or be capable of itself attaining awakening.