April 26, 2014: Romancing the Buddha with Ajahn Thanissaro

Saturday, April 26, 2014
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
at the
 Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

An important part of understanding Dharma is understanding what is not Dharma. A great deal of American not-Dharma—what passes for Dharma but actually isn’t—comes from the thought of the early German Romantics.

Even though their names are little-known in America, their ideas have had an enormous influence on Americans attitudes about spiritual life. When approaching the Dharma, we tend to view it in light of these attitudes, which in some ways are congruent with what the Buddha taught, and in many ways run directly counter to it. This daylong course—through talks, readings, and discussions—will focus on understanding Romantic ideas about religious life and inspiration, the transmission of these ideas through American thinkers such as Emerson and James, their influence on modern American Dharma, and the ways in which this influence has seriously distorted our idea of what counts as Dharma and where Dharma practice leads.

Please see the attached Readings for the daylong.

Ajahn Thanissaro (Geoffrey DeGraff) is an American monk of the Thai forest tradition. In 1991 he traveled to the hills of San Diego County, CA,where he helped establish Metta Forest Monastery, where he is the abbot. He is a prolific writer and translator. Many of his works can be found online at www.accesstoinsight.org.

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.

March 15, 2014: How Empty is Emptiness? with Gay Watson

Saturday, March 15, 2014
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

This workshop will explore ideas and experiences of emptiness. We’ll begin by considering Buddhist concepts of emptiness from early Buddhism through the later Mahayana and beyond.  Then we’ll take a brief look at echoes of emptiness in later eastern and western philosophies and religions before examining emptiness in the work of contemporary artists and practitioners.

Central to the day will be investigation of our own experience and ideas of emptiness.  Hopefully we’ll discover how emptiness is far from the quality of lack often ascribed to it, and how a such a transformed understanding may enrich our daily lives and well-being. The day will include teaching, discussion and sitting.

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

Gay Watson has a PhD in Religious Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She trained as a psychotherapist with the Karuna Institute in Core Process, a Buddhist inspired psychotherapy.  She is the author of Beyond Happiness, Deepening the Dialogue Between Buddhism, Psychotherapy and the Mind Sciences (2008) and A Philosophy of Emptiness (2014).

January 18, 2014, The Women Around the Buddha: New Perspectives on Early Buddhist History and Modern Practice with Rita M. Gross

Saturday, January 18, 2014
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
at the Insight Meditation Center
108 Birch St.
Redwood City, CA

Early Buddhist history and the legendary lives of Siddartha Gautama are important for and fascinating to Buddhists of all orientations. However, in many accounts, the stories of the women central to the Buddha, especially his foster-mother and his wife, are obscured or forgotten.  A great deal of Buddhist story-telling has grown to fill out our impressions about the lives of these women.  We will focus especially on these stories in this daylong workshop.

This focus will also allow us to explore how historical memories are created, the importance of creative story-telling to a living religious tradition, and changing ideas about gender in early Buddhism. The day will end with an exploration of how the implicit and explicit views of men and women appear in the stories and the practice of people practicing Buddhism in our modern world.

Known as a warm, humorous and very clear teacher, Rita M. Gross teaches with a rare combination of academic and dharmic perspectives.  She is internationally known for her innovative work on gender and religion.  She alsohas extensive training and experience as a professor of comparative studies in religion and is a Buddhist dharma teacher, appointed to that position by Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche.

October 12, 2013, 9:30am – 5:00pm, The Brahmaviharas with Ajahn Thanissaro

Brahmaviharas Flyer

Please read the attached material before attending the daylong and bring with you (offered in PDF or Word format): [Brahmavihara Word Document] [Brahamavihara PDF]

The Brahmaviharas—attitudes of unlimited good will, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity—are useful tools for counteracting unskillful mind states, such as ill will and resentment, and for developing all three parts of the path to the end of suffering: virtue, concentration, and discernment. This day-long course will use readings, talks, discussions, and periods of meditation to explore the uses and limitations of these attitudes in the context of the total path.

Ajahn Thanissaro (Geoffrey DeGraff) is an American monk of the Thai forest tradition. In 1991 he traveled to the hills of San Diego County, CA,where he helped establish Metta Forest Monastery, where he is the abbot. He is a prolific writer and translator. Many of his works can be found online at www.accesstoinsight.org.

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.