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Discovering Buddhism

A fourteen-module program that gives students a solid foundation in the teachings and practice of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism.

Awakening the limitless potential of your mind, achieving all peace and happiness

Overview

The aim of the Discovering Buddhism is to give participants a solid footing in the practice of Mahayana Buddhism.

The course is an introduction to the teachings of the Lam-rim, or graduated path to enlightenment, a step-by-step blueprint of the realisations a single individual needs to actualise in order to attain full enlightenment in one lifetime.

By engaging in this programme, participants will gain an experiential taste of the Buddha’s teachings, some retreat experience, and the skills they need to make their lives most meaningful.

Also, by the end of this programme, participants should have a solid foundation from which to make informed choices about their continued spiritual development.

You can start the programme at any time – and participants don’t have to start at Lesson 1.

Class Structure

The first thirteen modules of Discovering Buddhism are taught at over a period of about two years.

Each module consists of:

  • Weekly talks and teachings our registered teacher
  • Guided meditations
  • Weekend practice retreat day
  • Required and suggested readings
  • Review questions in each class

The Fourteen Modules

Examine the mind and how it creates happiness and suffering. Learn to transform destructive thoughts and attitudes to develop a positive and joyous mind.

Explore the definition and purpose of meditation, how to sit, how to set up a meditation session, different meditation techniques, and how to deal with obstacles to meditation.

Get an overview of the entire Tibetan Buddhist path to awakening. Study the life story of the Buddha and discover a unique system for putting Buddhist philosophy into practice – the lamrim, or graduated path to enlightenment.

Investigate the role of the teacher on the spiritual path: the need for a teacher, the qualities of teacher and student, and how to relate to a teacher.

Explore the process of death and rebirth and its impact on how we live our lives. Learn to fulfill your purpose in life, resolve conflicts, and develop the skills to help yourself and others at death.

Learn the essential facts about the law of actions and their results. Explore ways to deal with life more effectively and take control of your future.

Find out what it means to take refuge in the Three Jewels – the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha – and the essential practices of refuge. Learn about the advantage of taking lay vows and their role in enhancing our spiritual growth.

Assemble the tools you need to develop a successful daily practice and find out the elements necessary to generate realizations. Get some tips for making every action you do meaningful.

Investigate what “samsara” is and how we are stuck in it. Find out what “nirvana” is and how to achieve it. Learn how to be free from suffering and gain practical tools to deal with and eliminate disturbing emotions forever.

Discover practices that develop our innate qualities of compassion. Learn to apply these techniques to generate bodhichitta, the mind of enlightenment, known as the very heart of Buddha’s teachings.

Learn the disadvantages of selfishness and the advantages of cherishing others. Learn to employ the special techniques of mind training (lojong) to transform problems into happiness.

Learn how to develop calm abiding (shamatha), the ability to remain focused in meditation for as long periods as you want without distraction. Try different ways of meditating on emptiness, the lack of true existence of the self and all phenomena, the realization of which is crucial for the attainment of liberation and enlightenment. 

Learn what tantra is, how it works, and why it is a powerful form of practice. Get a broad overview of the four classes of tantra and learn to practice simple kriya tantric methods. Learn how to integrate tantra with lamrim meditation to obtain the best results.

Undertaking intensive practices of purification, a ten-day lamrim course/retreat, and three Nyung Nä retreats creates the inner conditions needed to gain the realizations of the path to enlightenment. The purification practices entail 100,000 prostrations to the Thirty-Five Buddhas and a three-month Vajrasattva retreat of 100,000 mantras (two of the nine traditional preliminary practices).

The ten-day lamrim course/retreat can be done at various FPMT centers, including Kopan Monastery in Nepal. A Nyung Nä is a two-day fasting practice related to the buddha of compassion. It can be done at many FPMT centers, especially during the month of Saka Dawa, which falls in May-June.

More about the Programme at VI

Our Discovering Buddhism classes are held on Monday nights. Our next Discovering Buddhism class is listed below.

 

july, 2020

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