Buddhist Studies Course

MARCH 2021 - JANUARY 2022

Wednesdays | 6:30-8pm
One Saturday per month: 8-9:30am (next Sit is September 25th))
Monthly Peer Meetings (teachers’ track)
For more information email info@theshala.com

For Drop-ins and Monthly,  Sign up here in MINDBODY ONLINE CLASSES and choose a date.
For Full Course, Sign up here in MINDBODY BUDDHIST STUDIES

OVERVIEW

The Shala Buddhist Studies program focuses on:

  • Immersive study of Buddhist history and philosophy.
  • Deepening your own meditation practice and applying Buddhist principles to everyday life.
  • Sharing meditation with others and building skills for effectively teaching meditation (if you choose to follow the teaching track). 

 

The program is divided into two tracks. 

  1. The continuing education track is designed for those who wish to deepen their commitment to contemplative study and have no intention of teaching. 
  2. The teachers’ track is aimed at those interested in leading meditation or teaching others. The teachers’ track is suitable for therapists, social workers, yoga teachers, educators, health care professionals, and anyone seeking to integrate teaching meditation into their lives and/or professions. 

 

LINEAGE AND ORIENTATION

The Shala’s meditation program began in the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic. As we practiced in our own homes and stayed connected via Zoom, we quickly realized the beauty and significance of group meditation practice. The Shala’s orientation toward meditation is informed by the teachings of preeminent teachers Sharon Salzberg, Pema Chodron, Joseph Goldstein, and Sebene Selassie. 

FACULTY

Shala Teachers
Guest Teachers: Sharon Salzberg, Dr. Constance Kassor, Peace Twesigye, Kate Johnson, Karin Meyers, Geoff Barstow + others

TUITION

Full Course $1050 ($500 non-refundable deposit)
Drop-ins $20 (drop-ins welcome)
Monthly $100 (Wednesdays + 1 Saturday session)
Unlimited access to all meditation classes for the duration of the training
Recordings will be available
Scholarships offered | inquire info@theshala.com
All sessions will be online via Zoom until further notice.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE

Classes will take place on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

LECTURE & DISCUSSION: Wednesday evenings, 6:30 to 8:00pm, will include lecture, group discussion, and meditation practice.

SATURDAY SITS: One Saturday morning per month from 8:00 to 9:30am, we’ll gather for a longer period of seated meditation, in-depth discussion of meditation techniques, group conversation, and Q&A. There will be time at the end for tea and chatting. No meditation experience is necessary. Practices and topics will include: Elements of posture, Four Foundations of Mindfulness, shamatha and vipassana techniques, lovingkindness, gratitude, tonglen, Four Elements Meditation, Five Sense Meditations, and common challenges and obstacles on the path.

TEXTS

Course texts will include original discourses of the Buddha as well as contemporary interpretations and commentary. Monthly suggested reading will be posted under Course Outline on the right hand column. 

 

COURSE OUTLINE (topics covered are subject to change)

PART 1: WISDOM TEACHINGS provides a thorough introduction to the core concepts of Buddhist philosophy.

MARCH: History of Buddhism with Connie Kassor & Sharon Salzberg
APRIL: Four Noble Truths & Three Characteristics with Connie Kassor & Sharon Salzberg

PART 2: ENGAGED TEACHINGS explores Buddhist ethics and practical applications of Buddhist ethical philosophy. 

MAY: Eight Fold Path with Connie Kassor & Peace Twesigye
JUNE: Buddhism and Justice (gender), Mindfulness + Emptiness with Connie Kassor & Peace Twesigye
JULY + AUGUST: Summer break, no classes
SEPTEMBER: Buddhist Perspectives on Nature and the Ecological Crisis with Karin Meyers

  • Wednesday, 9/29: Interdependence, Emptiness, and Radical Dharma with Connie Kassor

OCTOBER: Buddhism and Justice: Political, Economic, + Environmental with Geoff Barstow & Connie Kassor

Tuesday, October 5: Doctrinal Perspectives on Vegetarianism
  • Barstow, Food of Sinful Demons
  • Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, excerpts in Faults of Meat*
  • Mahāparinirvāna Sūtra, excerpts in Faults of Meat 
Tuesday, October 12: The Moral Complexity of Vegetarianism in Practice
  • Shardza Tashi Gyeltsen, "A Necessary Evil," in Faults of Meat
  • Khenpo Tsultrim Lodrö, "Appeal to Contemporary Tibetans," in Faults of Meat 

Tuesday, October 19: Buddhism's Ambiguous Take on War

  • Harvey, Introduction to Buddhist Ethics, 239-285

 

PART 3: MEDITATION TEACHINGS  delves further into specific techniques, the mechanisms underlying meditation, benefits, and obstacles. 

NOVEMBER: Paramitas with Kate Johnson
DECEMBER: Paramitas with Kate Johnson
JANUARY: Interdisciplinary connections: Research, Science, Psychology, + Buddhism.

TEACHERS’ TRACK: ART OF TEACHING 

  • Experiential Learning
    • Studying and interpreting texts
    • Writing and giving dharma talks
    • Lead sitting groups 
    • Attending smaller group meets for practice, practice teaching, community involvement, and home study between weekends 
  • Apply Buddhist philosophy and practices in developing meditations for field of study or profession 
  • Develop confidence, voice, and an authentic approach to teaching 
  • Learn practical and adaptive methods for facilitating classes for a variety of audiences
  • Expanding access to the teachings to underserved populations