Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 Sept 20 - Ch. 1, Abhisamayalamkara - Class 2

Introduction to Fall 2010 Advanced Buddhist Course (paraphrase of Ven. Kelsang Wangmo's opening remarks to this class):
The actual text we are studying this Fall 2010 is the First Chapter of the Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara) by Maitreya.  Even if you haven’t attended the Advanced Buddhist Philosophy classes at IBD before, the Ornament  covers different subjects and each subject is a unit in itself.  Naturally, having knowledge of what we studied in April through June is helpful (and hopefully more of those classes will be posted here soon).  Nevertheless, there’s still a lot you can get out of each of the topics.

The first Topic we’ll discuss is Bodhicitta, and then we’ll study the Two Truths (Ultimate and Conventional), the Four Noble Truths (and the remaining Ten Topics of Chapter 1).

Class Structure:  At the beginning of each class, [Gen Kelsang Wangmo] will read some lines from texts by important Indian or Tibetan scholars-saints (on topics such as precious human rebirth, karma, death and impermanence) and share some commentary.  The purpose of beginning class with such homilies is to 'set our motivation, to get us into a dharmic mode' before we turn to the subjects of the Ornament.

You can download MP3's from the second class of the Fall semester course on Chapter One of the Abhisamayalamkara  (the 40th class of 2010), held on Monday, September 20, by right clicking the links below.

Track 1 - Introduction to Fall 2010 Advanced Buddhist Philosophy Course at IBD (see above).
  • Verses from the Jewel Ornaments of Liberation by the great Kagyu master Gampopa:
Just like an arrow shot by a skillful archer, as soon as the string is released, it does not stay but quickly reaches its target.  So also is the life of all humans.  
Causes of death are numerous.  Causes of life are few.  Even they may become causes of death.
  • Impermanence/Remembering Death. 
  • Three Types of Buddhist Practitioners. 
  • Suffering of Change (Contaminated Pleasure)
  • Purpose of this Buddhist study:
"The purpose of study in this course: To investigate causes, to determine why things occur, to understand how our own minds work and the situations we find ourselves in now. ... The Buddha said everything is in the nature of suffering — it’s to be investigated whether that’s true. [O]n a certain level is there always a sense of suffering (discomfort, dissatisfaction, dukkha)?

"The happiness we experience right now is just the temporary stopping of an un-pleasurable situation. That’s why we can’t sit for a long time. We may be really comfortable now, but that will last for just a short time. We will need to move after awhile because it gets uncomfortable. We have to be constantly moving; we can never stay still because we have to change the external situations. At some point we need to sleep, eat, walk, sit down again … we're constantly moving.

"We can’t just stay in one place physically. And mentally, my gosh! Just try, it is impossible. Our minds are racing form one pleasure to the next, which then get boring, and then to the next and next. Because all of these phenomena are in the nature of suffering. This isn't something to be terribly depressed about it, but that’s just the way it is. Check it out, you’ll come to see that this is the case.

"And there is a cause ... Otherwise, if there wasn’t a cause, better not to mention it; it’s so negative. The reason we talk about it, is that there is a cause that can be removed. We don’t have to suffer in such ways. ..."
  • Analytical Meditation and this course:
"When we study Buddha’s teachings, the point is to go through a guided analytical mediation. It is not supposed to be some sort of academic brain game. What I would ask you to do in class is to listen with a very critical mind, a very active analytical mind. Buddhist study is supposed to be analytical mediation. Who are the meditators? You are the meditators. So you listen, and then contemplate, investigate; and in this way, meditate. ... That which you’ve learned, i... you can actually change you behavior. Through familiarization you change your way of thinking and acting. That is mediation. ..."
  • Logical Valid Reasoning - Essential to stop suffering.
  • Format of Tibetan Monastic Studies & this Course.
  • Analytical Meditation Training

Track 2 - Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations - Abhisamayalamkara

The Ornament was composed around the 4th century, around 900 years after the Buddha’s passing away.  All of the Lam Rim texts, all of the Mahayana texts (not not solely devoted to explicitly teaching Emptiness) are based on this text.  If you read the scriptures, you will see they always contain references to the Ornament.

In the classes held from April through June, 2010, we covered topics from the Preface to the Ornament:  topics raised in the verses of Praise (Maitreya's homage to the three types of wisdom), Promise to Compose &:Purpose, summary of the Eight Clear Realizations and the Seventy Topics covered in the eight chapters of the Ornament.
  • Omniscient Mind is the Subject of the  Chapter 1 of the Ornament
    • Role of Faith in Buddhism.  
    • Subtle Clear Light Mind - basis for developing Omniscient mind.  
    • Imprints of Karma (actions of Body, Seech & Mind)
Track 3 - Ten Dharmas (Ten Topics) in Chapter 2 explain the Omniscient Mind
  • Topic 1 - Bodhicitta
    • Buddhism & Modern Science
  • Meaning of Path in Buddhism
    • Method Path & Wisdom Path
      • Definition of Love in context of Puddhist Path
      • What is a Wisdom?
        • Coarse & Subtle Impermanence
        • Impermanence - proof that Attachment is Delusion
Track 4 - Benefits of Generating Bodhicitta
  • Wish to 'Benefit All Sentient Beings'
  • Having Generated Bodhicitta
Track 5 - Q & A - Subtle Clear Light Mind

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