What You Will Learn in Each Lesson
Beginning Genuinely—The Hinayana Foundation
In the first lesson we’ll review the basics of hinayana path—including the four noble truths and the notion of taking refuge. We’ll also learn how the concepts of shila (discipline), samadhi (practice), and prajna (view/insight) apply to this path.
Lightning Flashing in the Sky—The Discovery of Bodhichitta
In this lesson, we’ll define bodhichitta—both relative and absolute, or ultimate. What inspires bodhichitta in our daily lives? How do we experience glimpses of openness? We’ll start to grapple with the concept of basic goodness. We’ll also contemplate how joy plays a part in the path of the bodhisattva, even though we are relating directly with suffering all the time.
Opening the Heart—Working with the Four Limitless Ones
In this week’s lesson, we’ll describe the four limitless ones and contemplate offering them to the six realms. We’ll aspire to offer the four limitless ones in everyday life, and gently notice our limitations in doing so. We’ll also explore the difference between the four brahmaviharas and the four limitless ones.
Prajnaparamita—The Mother of All the Buddhas
What is emptiness, and what keeps us from experiencing it in our everyday lives? What is Madhyamika, or the Middle Way? This week we’ll explore these questions as we also learn about twofold egolessness, the differences between relative and ultimate truth, and how we trap ourselves in relative reality.
Engaging with the World—Paramita Practice
In this lesson we’ll define the paramitas—or “techniques of nongrasping”—and learn to practice deliberate compassion by working with aspiration and intention. You’ll learn the difference between idiot compassion and genuine compassion. Together, we’ll explore the ideal of the bodhisattva as one who dives directly into challenging situations.
Fifty-Nine Reminders to Wake Up—Mind Training and the Practice of Lojong
In this week’s lesson, we’ll practice tonglen—or sending and taking. We’ll use the lojong slogans of Atisha as reminders of how to train the mind. We’ll also consider some benchmarks for whether or not our practice is working.
A Map of the Journey—Paths and Bhumis
In this final lesson, we’ll reflect on the direction the mahayana path is taking us. We’ll also define the five paths of accumulation, unification, seeing, meditation, and no more learning.