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Year Two Spring Class Description

Buddhist Philosophical Tenets: Middle Way School

In Buddhism, the cultivation of limitless wisdom is inextricably linked to the understanding and realization of selflessness. The Buddhist philosophical tenets represent different views and interpretations of the meaning of selflessness. Progression through the tenets takes one to more and more subtle understandings of selflessness. Thus, for one to fully realize wisdom, one must develop an understanding of selflessness through listening to, contemplating and meditating on each of the tenet views. This class focuses on the tenets of the Middle Way School. This school presents the most subtle understanding of selflessness. It is recommended that students have some basic familiarity with Buddhist Philosophy.

Text: Cutting Through Appearances by Great Jangya Rolbay Dorje and Opening the eye of Awareness by H.H.14th Dalai Lama’s.

Lam Rim (Stages of the Path to Enlightenment): Part 4. Meditative Serenity and Special Insight

The Lam Rim (The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment) is a fundamental text in Tibetan Buddhism that details all the teachings and practices of the complete path for the attainment of enlightenment. Part Four covers the second part of the stage of the path in which one realizes to achieve Buddhahood one must work for the welfare of all beings and liberate them from suffering. Topics covered in this class include: Meditative Serenity: Focusing you mind, Dealing with Laxity and Excitement, Attaining Serenity as part of the Path; Special Insight: Dependent Arising and Emptiness, Identifying Object of Negation, Emptiness of person, body and things. Emptiness views according to Svatantrika and Prasangika School, Uniting Serenity and Insight.

Text: Lama Tsongkhapa’s the Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment or other scholars’ lam rim text.

Book Study (Mind Training Text): 37 Practices of the Bodhisattvas

The Thirty-Seven Practices of the Bodhisattva, written by Gyelsay Togmay Sangpo (1295-1369) is a classic Tibetan Buddhist mind training text that examines the path of the Bodhisattva. While recognizing their true potential and letting go of everything that could hinder them on their spiritual journey, Bodhisattvas entrust themselves to the path taught by the Buddha. By resisting disturbing emotions, the Bodhisattva learns to respond to difficult situations in more constructive ways. By fully understanding the nature of reality and the illusion-like nature of pleasure and pain, they overcome clinging attachment and aversion. In this way, Bodhisattvas come to cherish living beings as the source of all happiness and are therefore ultimately able to work solely for the good of all beings.

Intermediate Colloquial Tibetan

This course provides instruction on the modern Tibetan language in both its spoken and written forms. Students will further develop their speaking and comprehension proficiency through extensive use of drill and conversational practices. Fluent Tibetan, Vol. I will be used as the main text for the course and will be supplemented with selected handouts from the instructor.