Foundational Buddhist Teachings Classes

Tuesday Evenings October 4 - November 15, 7:45 P.M. (zazen at 7 p.m.) 

Regardless of how long or short we’ve been practicing Zen, it can be extremely helpful and enlivening to return to the core teachings of the Buddhist tradition, connecting our practice to the vast reservoir of dharma which flowed from Shakyamuni Buddha’s most original instructions. In a series of Foundational Buddhist Teachings classes, which will begin Tuesday October 4 and continue on Tuesday evenings through November 15, we will study each of the Four Noble Truths in detail. We will also examining related teachings such as karma, dependent origination, the five aggregates, the four seals of the law, and foundational Buddhist teachings on meditation. Classes start at 7:45 P.M.; feel free also to join us beforehand for zazen at 7 P.M. Study packets are available at the temple while a class outline is available via the link below. If you’re attending the first class October 4 you might find it helpful to read materials on the First Noble Truth beforehand. 



Foundational Buddhist Teachings Fall 2016 Outline

Class One (October 4): Overview of the Four Noble Truths. First Noble Truth—Suffering (dukkha-ariyasacca).

Study Topics: Four Truths as two contrasting approaches to reality; dukkha as a gateway to dharma; varieties of dukkha; dukkha and the five aggregates; four seals of the Buddhist law
Readings: Rahula, Chapter 2 ; Sumedho, “Introduction” ; “The First Noble Truth”; Carlson, “Zen and the Self”

Class Two (October 11): Second Noble Truth—Cause of Suffering (samudaya-ariyasacca). Study Topics: What is attachment?; 12-link chain of dependent origination; this/that conditionality; karma; Wheel of Life as a depiction of karma
Readings: Rahula, Chapter 3 ; Sumedho, “The Second Noble Truth,” ; Payutto, “Understanding the Law of Kamma” ; Carlson, “The Six Worlds”

Class Three (October 18): Second Noble Truth, continued. Study Topics and Readings: See above.

Class Four (October 25): Third Noble Truth—Cessation (nirvana-ariyasacca).
Study Topics: Nirvana as a gateway to dharma; “cessation” as reorientation toward reality of first two Noble Truths; what is and isn’t nirvana; differing Buddhist approaches to nirvana
Readings: Rahula, Chapter 3 ; Sumedho, “The Third Noble Truth” ; Carlson, “Dharma World,” Amaro and Passano, “What is It?”

Class Five (November 1): Fourth Noble Truth—Path (marga-ariyasacca).
Study Topics: What is “path?”; definition of Middle Way; overview of wisdom (prajna), ethics (sila) and meditation (samadhi) ; right view and right intention Readings: Rahula, Chapter 4; Sumedho, “The Fourth Noble Truth” ; Bodhi, Chapters 2-3

Class Six (November 8): Fourth Noble Truth, continued.
Study Topics: Right speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration; samatha and vipassana; four foundations of mindfulness; five hindrances
Readings: Rahula, Chapter 4; Sumedho, “The Fourth Noble Truth”; Bodhi, Chapters 4-7

Class Seven (November 15): Wrap-up.
Study Topics: Zen practice and foundational teachings; origins of Mahayana Buddhism; applying foundational Buddhist teachings to lived experience Readings: Carlson, Zen Roots; possibly other readings to be distributed