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Each day of retreat will begin just before dawn with everyone taking the 8 Mahayana Precepts. The retreat day will then include group recitations of The Sutra of Golden Light; The Sanghatta Sutra; and other practices, mantras and prayers! We will be holding these retreats at Guhyasamaja Center, which is in the suburbs of Washington , DC. Anyone is welcome to attend and participate. We are also welcoming any other centers, sangha groups or individuals outside of the DC area to join us in this process for the well-being of our nation and planet. (If you do decide to hold a retreat elsewhere whether as a group or an individual, then please let us know so we all can rejoice together!) Note that the start times of the retreats are designed to allow everyone to take the 8 Mahayana Precepts together which is traditionally done just before the sun has risen. Also note that the precepts include taking vows for 24 hours to not kill, lie, steal, engage and sexual activity, and so forth. They also include eating only one meal on that day which includes no meat, fish, eggs, onions or garlic. So, at Guhyasamaja Center we will have a pot luck lunch on each retreat day. If you can, please bring some item to share that does not have any of those items.
As human beings, we possess one common desire: the need for happiness and a meaningful life. According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the ability to find true fulfillment lies within each of us. Through studying How to Practice we will be guided by His Holiness toward opening our hearts, refraining from doing harm, maintaining mental tranquility, and more. Divided into a series of distinct steps that will lead spiritual seekers of all faiths toward enlightenment, this accessible book is a constant and daily companion in the quest to practice morality, meditation, and wisdom. We will learn more about how to overcome our everyday obstacles, from feelings of anger and mistrust to jealousy, insecurity, and counterproductive thinking. We will engage in discussions and meditations on this material over the course of six weeks. This class is open to and appropriate for everyone. If possible please try to obtain a copy of this book and read the first 24 pages prior to the first class. Please feel free to attend even if you're unable to do that.
Buddhism in a Nutshell presents basic Buddhist philosophy and principles, as well as simple meditation instruction. In this series, we will look at the history of Buddhism and the life of Shakyamuni Buddha, including his observation of the human condition known as the four noble truths. Participants will also learn what is meant by enlightenment and how it can be systematically achieved. And we will discuss the primary feature of the Mahayana Tradition, Bodhichitta motivation — the wish to achieve our own enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings.
This is an intermediate level course most suitable for practicing Buddhists and non-Buddhists already familiar with foundational Buddhist concepts; registration is recommended to participate fully but walk-ins and those joining mid-course are also welcome. From a Buddhist perspective, there is nothing more valuable in the universe than these amazing moments of your precious human life. The Buddha describes 18 unique qualities of a special, human life which particularly grant us freedom and opportunity to practice the spiritual path. It's up to us: we can use our lives to create more suffering for ourselves and others or we can use them to practice the spiritual path in order to gain good future rebirths, achieve liberation from samsaric suffering, or progress along the path of compassion towards full enlightenment for the welfare of all sentient beings. During this series of classes on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, we'll study, contemplate, and meditate together on many different meditation techniques which are taught in a gradual sequence to help us progress from where we currently are forward along the spiritual path towards full enlightenment. The spiritual path is an inner path which entails transforming our own minds and hearts. Texts in the Stages of the Path (Lamrim in Tibetan) tradition provide clear, accessible guidance along this inner path. Our study for these classes will mainly be based on Lama Tsongkhpa's classic text, the "Middle Length Lamrim", supplemented by materials from "The Easy Path" by Panchen Lama Lobsang Chokyi Gyaltsen. Our plan is for this series of classes to go on for some time as we very slowly work together to go deeply into these meditations. Each class session will include preliminary prayers done (in English) according to the Stages of the Path Tradition, guided meditations, and study of specific lines of the text. Lines that we study in a given session will be the subject of our meditation in the next session. The center can provide digital copies of the text and materials at no charge so that you may print them yourself, as needed. Please e-mail our Spiritual Program Coordinator, Dondrub, at [masked] to request digital materials; please also specify if you're registering to participate fully or if you simply plan on sitting in from time to time. .