What You Will Learn in Each Lesson
Beginning at the Beginning
In this first lesson, Judy Lief presents basic meditation instruction and offers advice for relating to meditation practice through the duration of the course. She also offers context for the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa and introduces the qualities of hinayana discipline necessary to undertake meditation practice in earnest. In this lesson, we’ll also receive an overview of the three yanas, or vehicles, that make up the entire Buddhist path as outlined in The Profound Treasury.
This lesson provides an exploration of why we practice meditation and its implications on our life off the cushion. What makes it valuable? As part of this investigation, we’ll study the traits of a “dharmic person” as taught by Trungpa Rinpoche.
Discovering the Four Noble Truths
In this lesson, we’ll learn about the four noble truths, which are the foundation of the Buddhist teachings. We’ll investigate the causes of suffering and the many ways that suffering manifests in ourselves and the world around us. How does an understanding of suffering relate to the possibility of freedom from suffering? Finally, we’ll receive an overview of the five paths to liberation.
Working with Obstacles
What habitual patterns arise to interfere with our quest of becoming a more dharmic person? As it turns out, there are Buddhist teachings to address nearly all of them, which help turn our obstacles into fodder for the path. In this lesson, we’ll identify the most common obstacles to taming the mind, as well as their antidotes. You’ll have a chance to get in touch with the difficulties of your own practice and explore ways of working with them.
Making a Commitment
This week we’ll explore the notion of taking refuge in the three jewels of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the sangha—the formal entry point of becoming a Buddhist. We’ll also discuss the difference between theism and nontheism as they pertain to being a Buddhist.
Deepening Your Practice
In this lesson, we’ll become more subtle and refined in our meditation practice by contemplating the four foundations of mindfulness and connecting with the concept of “touch and go.” We will look at the different ways we watch ourselves in meditation and will discuss how we can apply effort in our practice without getting caught in a battle mentality.
What happens when the mind is settled in shamatha practice? In this lesson, we’ll experiment with extending our awareness into the practice of vipashyana, or clear seeing. We’ll go through the three stages of vipashyana and explore the notion of “sacred world.”
Cutting Through with Prajna
Prajna—what we define as “best insight” or “superior knowing”—comes into play as we sharpen our intelligence along the path. In this lesson we’ll discuss ego, egolessness, and how to distinguish between the two.
A Hint of Mahayana
In this final module of the course, we’ll get a glimpse of how the hinayana transitions into a broader path—the mahayana, or the path of the bodhisattva.