ENTERING THE BUDDHA'S WORLD: The Road to Nirvana
A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion
are the things that renew humanity.
More than twenty-five hundred years ago, a being who had been searching for the Truth for many, many lifetimes, came to a quiet place in northern India and sat down under a tree. He continued to sit under the tree, with immense resolve, and vowed not to get up until he had found the truth.
At dusk, it is reported, he conquered all the dark forces of delusion; and early next morning, as the planet Venus broke in the dawn sky, the man was rewarded for his age-long patience, discipline and flawless concentration by achieving the final goal of human existence: enlightenment.
At that sacred moment, the earth itself shuddered as if drunk with bliss, and, as the reports tell us: “No one anywhere was angry, ill or sad; no one did evil; none was proud; the world became quite quiet, as though it had reached full perfection.” This man became known as Buddha.
The Buddha's four noble truths educate us about suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the path that leads to cessation, the path to freedom from the suffering that originates in the addictive quality of the mind and our habitual tendency to grasp at pleasure and push away pain. All our addictions stem from these roots. We begin to understand the way in which the cycle of birth and death manifests, and to look at an exit from the masquerade.
The Buddha taught that it is possible to end suffering in this lifetime. The Buddhist sutras and tantras do not speak about 'the meaning of life' or 'the purpose of life', but about the potential of human life to end suffering, for example through embracing (not suppressing or denying) cravings and conceptual attachments. The path offers a spiritual and psychological process of transformation that has been an effective treatment for our human addiction to thinking, and the suffering created with the mind. It is one of the most potent tools available for recovering our original wholeness, or our fundamental nature.
For those who choose a spiritual life, the Eight-Fold path is a map of freedom. It's a hands-on, practical prescription that assists us to incorporate the wisdom of the teachings into our daily life, and 'demist' the lens of awareness to embrace dharma - the joy of intelligence knowing itself. Buddhists practice with mindfulness to seek the causes of suffering and wellbeing in life - for instance, unhealthy attachment to material or non-material objects, and to embrace the suffering and wellbeing that is present in life.
The Buddha said his path to awakening was one of rebellion, a subversive path that is against greed, against hatred, and against delusion. It is a path of radical, engaged transformation, a path of finding freedom and spending the rest of our lives giving it away. It is a path that goes against the stream. By perfecting dispassion, and through many levels of attainment, the process and the path leads to Nirvana, or unbinding, which also ends the repeated cycle of birth, suffering, old age and death. Since Buddhism promotes no God, it is essentially a psychological faith, which in our age or secular anxiety, has profound lessons to teach about selflessness and the simple life.
Of interest are also The Jataka tales, the ancient wisdom stories that follow the many incarnations of the Buddha. These marvelous stories assist us to explore the Buddha’s teachings about the six paramitas or perfections: generosity, tolerance, wisdom, discipline, perseverance, and contemplation.
This course explores the essentials of Buddhism, starting with:
- Price Siddhartha becomes Buddha
- Exploring soul or no soul
- Karma, action and rebirth
- Samsara - keep going
- Dharma - a law that reflects the fundamental principles of existence
- Nirvana - cooling the ego
- Parables and stories
Course Fee: $695
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