Online Sutta Study: Long Discourse of the Buddha with Gil Fronsdal and Diana Clark

Studying the Long Discourses of the Buddha (Dīgha Nikāya) Part 1: Views and Practices

A 4-week online course taught by Gil Fronsdal and Diana Clark

April 16 – May 14, 2018

The Long Discourses of the Buddha (the Dīgha Nikāya) is a collection of discourses filled with colorful stories, compelling characters and important teachings. In this course on the Dīgha Nikāya we will explore how the Buddha responded to different religious and existential views that were prevalent in ancient India and relevant today, including beliefs about the beginning of the world, what happens after death, and the nature of a “Self.”

Join us as we investigate and discuss the Buddha’s response to views and the specific training he espoused as part of his response in the context of colorful engaging stories.

The course will include study guides, videos and the opportunity for online group discussions.

We will be using Maurice Walshe’s translation of the Dīgha Nikāya (Wisdom Publications, 1995, ISBN: 0861711033) as the course textbook.

More information and registration will be available in January 2018.

Online Sutta Study Course: Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha with Gil Fronsdal and David Lorey

The Middle Length Discourses (Majjhima Nikāya) Study Course – Part A
5-week online class
Gil Fronsdal and David Lorey
January 21 – February 25, 2018

Registration deadline: January 14, 2018 (see registration form here).

The Middle Length Discourses (Majjhima Nikāya) is one of the most important anthologies of the teachings and religious practices attributed to the Buddha. These rich and dynamic discourses which include the circumstances and people that prompted the Buddha’s teachings, provide context for better understanding the content and nature of early Buddhist teachings. A careful study of this collection can provide a meaningful foundation for the study and practice of Buddhism.

This course, Part A, is the first of a three-part series of online courses on the Middle Length Discourses (Majjhima Nikāya) to be offered by the Sati Center during 2018. In this course, topics will include (in addition to an introduction to this key canonical text) “Relating to the Teachings of the Buddha,” “Faith and Confidence in the Teachings,” “The Path of Practice” and “The Buddha.”

The course consists of weekly readings of suttas from the Middle Length Discourses plus short videos, audio recordings and study guides written by Gil Fronsdal. The videos and study guides function as the “lectures” for the class, helping to bring the richness of this early literature alive.  Participants will have access to a Google Drive where the material will be located and can participate in an online forum to promote a sense of community and learning which will be in Google Groups.

Sample study guides are available here and here to review to get a sense of the nature, assignments and scope of the course. In addition, participants might wish to review the “Introduction” to the Middle Length Discourses (Majjhima Nikāya), written by Bhikkhu Bodhi in the course textbook, before the course begins. It both provides a useful overview of the Majjhima Nikāya and gives a sense of the approach we will be taking in the class.

We will be using Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of the Majjhima Nikaya (4th Edition, 2009; Boston: Wisdom Publications; ISBN: 0-86171-072-X).

The course is open to all registrants and freely offered (if you would like to make an online donation, you can use the PayPal button below).

Registration deadline: January 14, 2018 (see registration form here).


 

Nov 18, 2017 9:30 to 4:30 p.m. Poems of the First Buddhist Women and How They Might Inspire Practitioners Today with Meg Gawler

Nov 18, 2017, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Poems of the First Buddhist Women and How They Might Inspire Practitioners Today with Meg Gawler

The ancient poems of the Therīgāthā are a celebration, with many different human faces, of the personal experience of awakening by women who practiced in the time of the Buddha. In this daylong, we will study the distinguishing characteristics of these early female voices transmitting the Buddha’s teachings. The poems of these enlightened women will be explored through talks, readings, interactive break-out groups, general discussions, and meditations.

We will begin by examining the religious, social, and literary context in which they were composed. We’ll look at how the poems of these female teachers differ from those of their male counterparts. We will then investigate a central message of the text – that awakening or Nibbāna is possible for practitioners of all sorts. The Therīgāthā provides examples of vanquishing poverty, rejection, mental contaminants, wild mind, debilitating grief, despair, and even insanity – leading to complete freedom. We will end with what may be one of the functions of the Therīgāthā, namely to elicit delight, thus setting in motion a natural process that prepares the mind for the profound release of awakening.

Bring lunch

Meg Gawler began practicing Buddhism in 1968 as disciple of the Zen Master, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, including over three years of monastic training. Later, Meg trained with Gil Fronsdal and others in the Theravāda tradition. Authorized as a meditation teacher by Jack Kornfield, Meg holds a Master’s in Buddhist Studies, specializing in early Theravāda studies, from the Graduate Theological Union.

 

The Ten Perfections with Ajaan Thanissaro (Geoff) – September 16 and September 17 2017

Ten Perfections Sati Center Class September 16, 2017 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 pm, September 17, 2017 1:30 pm -4:00 pm

At the Insight Meditation Center, 108 Birch St. Redwood City, CA 94062

The Ten Perfections (pāramī) provide a useful framework for leading a meaningful life, especially for lay Dhamma practice. This course–through readings in the Pali Canon and the teachings of the Thai wilderness Ajaans, along with talks, discussions, and meditations–will explore, ways in which these perfections can be pursued effectively in an imperfect world. For Saturday September 16th bring lunch. There will be an opportunity to offer food to the monastics. Handouts for the daylong are attached Ten Perfections Sati Center Class

Ajaan Thanissaro (Geoffrey DeGraff) is an American monk of the Thai forest tradition. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1971 with a degree in European Intellectual History, he studied meditation under Ajaan Fuang Jotiko in Thailand and ordained in 1976. In 1991 he helped establish Metta Forest Monastery in San Diego, CA where he is the abbot. He is a prolific writer and translator. Many of his works can be found online at www.accesstoinsight.org.

November 14, 2015 – Women in Buddhism Symposium: In Honor of the Nuns of Aloka Vihara

Saturday, November 14, 2015
9:00am – 4:00pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

On Saturday, November 14 the Sati Center will host a symposium highlighting the accomplishments of women scholars in the early years of Buddhist Studies in the West, on the one hand, and portraits of women as presented in the scriptures of early Buddhist literature on the other. We will celebrate the contributions of these women as part of a benefit to support the pioneering Theravada Buddhist nuns living at Aloka Vihara in the Sierra foothills.

Please bring a bag lunch and an offering for the meal, if you would like.

Lunch will be at 11 am and include a meal offering for the nuns and other monastics attending.

No registration needed. The symposium is a benefit for the Aloka Vihara nuns’ community.

9:00 a.m. – Welcome and opening remarks Gil Fronsdal

9:15 a.m. – Session I:  Pioneering Women in Buddhist Studies

  • Caroline Rhys Davids  – Dawn Neal (Institute of Buddhist Studies
  • B. Horner – Grace Burford (Prescott University)

11:00 a.m. – Meal offering to the nuns and other monastics (everyone invited to make an offering)

12:15 p.m. – Session II:  Women in Pāli Literature (1): Portraits of Women in the Suttas

  • Women in the Majjhima Nikāya – Diana Clark (Institute of Buddhist Studies)
  • Women in the Saṁyutta Nikāya – Xi He (UC Berkeley)

2:00 p.m. – Session III:  Women in Pāli Literature (2): Tales of Accomplished Nuns

  • Women in the Therīgāthā, poetry of the early Buddhist nuns – Meg Gawler (Institute of Buddhist Studies)
  • Mahāpajāpatī, the first Buddhist nun – Jan Nattier (UC Berkeley)

3:30 p.m. – Concluding remarks 

4:00 p.m – End

October 24, 2015 − Exploring the Dhammapada with Diana Clark

Saturday, October 24, 2015
9:30am – 3:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

The Dhammapada may be the most popular canonical text among Buddhists and is one of the great religious texts of the world.  This anthology of poems is comprised of inspiring and thought-provoking verses on practice, liberation and even includes auto-biographical elements from the Buddha.  Countless persons through history have been stirred to practice the ethical and mindful life on account of reading these verses.  

Please join us as we read, discuss and explore this beloved text.  We will use the translation by Gil Fronsdal as our primary reference, but we will also examine the role of the translator as we compare translations of some of the most famous verses.  The daylong will include lecture and discussions. Bring lunch.

Diana Clark has a Master’s Degree in Buddhist Studies from the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley. She practices and teaches at IMC.

This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required.

August 1, 2015 − Overview of Buddhist Meditation with Diana Clark

Saturday, August 1, 2015
9:30am – 3:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

Meditation is one of the key practices taught at IMC. As a type of “technology of transformation” meditation has been taught for millennia as a method for training and developing the mind for the highest spiritual aim of awakening. More recently, meditation has also been extracted from its Buddhist framework in order to harness its benefits for a wide range of applications including simply managing daily tasks and problems. In this daylong we will explore the different types of meditation practices presented in the earliest Buddhist texts and how they may be relevant for our own lives. Join us as we practice and discuss vipassana (insight), samatha (calming), metta (loving-kindness) and anussati (recollection) meditations. 

Diana Clark has a Master’s Degree in Buddhist Studies from the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley. She practices and teaches at IMC.

This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required. Please bring a bag lunch.

September 19, 2015 − The Thai Forest Masters taught by Ajahn Thanissaro

Saturday, September 19, 2015
9:00am – 4:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

Teachings of the Thai Forest Tradition

The Thai forest tradition is well-known for the style of its teachings–direct, down-to- earth . . . but very little has been written about the content of its teachings: the positions it took on controversial issues regarding virtue, concentration, discernment, and release. This daylong will focus on filling in this gap with reference to the recorded teachings of Ajaan Mun Bhuridatto, one of the founders of the tradition, as well as to the more systematic writings of two of his most articulate students, Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo and Ajaan Maha Boowa Nanasampanno.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu, also known as Than Geoff (born 1949), is an American Theravada Buddhist monk of the Dhammayut Order (Dhammayutika Nikaya), of the Thai forest kammatthana tradition. He is currently the abbot of Metta Forest Monastery in San Diego County. Thanissaro Bhikkhu is also a translator of the Pali Canon and other modern Buddhist works, and is the author of many Dhamma books and articles.

There will be a meal offering for Ajahn Thanissaro and other monastics in attendance.  If you would like, please bring food to offer at that time, otherwise, please bring your own lunch.

This Class Is Offered On A Donation Basis ~ Pre-Registration Not Required.

Download a printable flyer.

Readings for the daylong – please prepare by reading these in advance and bring them with you to the daylong.

July 18, 2015 − Right View taught by Tony Bernhard

Saturday, July 18, 2015
9:00am – 4:30pm
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

Right View is the first element of the Buddha’s Eightfold Noble Path. Understanding Right View supports our practice of the Buddha’s path, benefits our day-to-day behavior and ethical conduct, and leads to diminishing dissatisfaction and suffering in our lives.

But what, after all, is a ‘view’? and what makes it Right? What kind of views enable us to live without dissatisfaction? This daylong will focus on a variety of the Buddha’s teachings about Right View in order to expand our understanding of the multiple dimensions of the the Buddha’s path to the end of suffering.

Tony Bernhard is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s first Community Dharma Leadership training program, and the Sati Center’s Chaplaincy program. He is also a Sati Center board member. Along with being the founder/ teacher at Davis Middle Path, he offers his unique perspective on the Dharma throughout Northern California which include speaking engagements at Insight Meditation Center; Spirit Rock Meditation Center; Mountain Stream Meditation Center; Sacramento Insight Meditation; Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group and many more.

This class is offered on a donation basis. Pre-registration not required. Please bring a bag lunch.

Introduction to Buddhist Chaplaincy with Rev. Daijaku Judith Kinst, Ph.D. and Rev. Jennifer Block, M.A.

May 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

By Donation*

Location: Institute of Buddhist Studies at 2140 Durant Ave., Berkeley

Chaplains provide spiritual care and support to people in places such as hospitals, hospices, prisons and a wide variety of other settings.  The work is wonderfully challenging and satisfying.  In recent years, dharma practitioners have been experiencing chaplaincy as a powerful opportunity to practice engaged Buddhism, and for some, as a vocation and profession.  

Join us for an explanation of this field of service, which is gaining in size and scope in dharma communities.  Professional chaplains and educators will introduce aspects of chaplaincy, including: a definition of chaplaincy, the history of chaplaincy, settings where chaplains serve, and the steps one can take to become a volunteer or professional chaplain (including educational requirements) as a Buddhist practitioner.  Information about the Sati Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Training and the Institute for Buddhist Studies Chaplaincy Degree Program will also be provided. 

Taught by:

Reverend Daijaku Judith Kinst, Ph.D., is a Soto Zen Priest and teacher and is the coordinator and primary professor for the Buddhist Chaplaincy program at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley.

Reverend Jennifer Block, M.A., is an Interfaith minister and Buddhist chaplain who has practiced Zen, Vipassana and Yoga since 1988. She co-teaches the yearlong Buddhist Chaplaincy Program offered by the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies. 

*Pre-registration is not necessary for Sati Center daylong classes. These classes are offered freely, but your donations and support for these classes is appreciated.