Sunday, August 21, 2011

2011 Fall Class Schedule - 12 September - 11 November 2011

Geshe Kelsang Wangmo will begin the Fall semester of the Perfection of Wisdom Course on 12 September 2011. The last class of the Fall term will be 11 November 2011.


For some information about the subject matter of this course, link to blog entry, "Background for Fall 2011 Term".

The classes will continue the presentation of the Second Topic (Mahayana Practice Instructions) addressed in Chapter 1 of the Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara) by Maitreya. (Download Class AUDIO MP3s, Handouts, etc. from Blog Post entries).

Chapter 1 of the Ornament raises Ten Topics (relating to the Omniscient Mind).

The Spring 2011 semester covered the First Topic, Bodhicitta and began the Second Topic, Mayahana Practice Instructions, has Ten Subjects.  The First, the Two Truths, was also covered in the Spring 2011 classes.

ALL of the class materials for the Spring 2011 classes on Bodhicitta and the Two Truths can be downloaded from the blog post: Handouts & Charts - Spring 2011 Classes.

The Fall 2011 term will address:
  • The Four Noble Truths (the Second Practice Instruction), and 
  • Refuge (the Third Second Practice Instruction).

Classes are held from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays in the Prayer Hall at IBD which is located inside the gate to the temple complex.  (Take the first set of stairs on the right up to second floor.)

Discussion group timing will be formulated after the course starts.  Traditionally, debate plays a crucial role in fostering students' understanding; in lieu of which, students are encouraged to participate in the discussion groups.

Fees:  300 Rupees / month donation for support of IBD students.
You are welcome to attend a few classes to determine if you wish to enroll.

Teacher:  Geshe Kelsang Wangmo 

Photo by Peter Aronson 2011.

Background for Fall 2011 Term

SUGGESTED READING LIST that can provide further background support for students HERE.

The Perfection of Wisdom Course studies Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realizations (Abhisamayalamkara).  The Ornament is the first of five great Indian canonical texts that make up the core curriculum of Geshe studies at Tibetan monastic colleges such as Drepung Loseling Monastery and the Institute for Buddhist Dialectical Studies.  The Ornament expounds the hidden meaning (detailing the Method of the Path to Enlightenment) of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras (whose explicit meaning is the Wisdom of Emptiness).

Before studying the
Ornament, students take courses that introduce them to: 
  • Fundamentals of Buddhist philosophy (the Collected Topics, Due-dra); 
  • Logical argument (Ta-rig); 
  • Awareness and Knowledge (Lo-rig); and 
  • Philosophical systems of Tenets (Drub-tha). 
Geshe Kelsang Wangmo concluded teaching these subjects for English language students in 2006.  She began teaching this Perfection of Wisdom Course in 2007 (with a hiatus in 2009).  The Perfection of Wisdom course usually takes six years in Tibetan residential institutions.  Since the English course is not part of a matriculating, residential program, the course will take as long as necessary to provide understanding for most of the students who attend.  

While a few students have been attending IBD's Advanced Buddhist Philosophy program in English since before the program officially began in 2004, most students are unable to be in India for the entire Ornament course, nor have they attended the preliminary courses. Many students attend the course for less than an entire term.  

Although Geshe Kelsang Wangmo is skilled in presenting challenging material to those who do not have the usual background for tackling these subjects, most people are going to need a good foundation in Buddhist teachings to enjoy the material.

You can DOWNLOAD Audio MP3s of classes along with course handouts and some partial class transcripts from this BLOG's POSTED entries.

Prior terms of the Course have covered:
  • First Year subjects are raised by the Ornament's Introduction.
  • Second Year subject (of the Ornament's Introduction): Differentiating Interpretable from Definitive Sutras while studying the Wisdom tenets of the Mind Only (Cittamatrin) system [text:  Jeffrey Hopkins' translation of relevant section of Je Tsong-Khapa's Essence of Eloquence in Emptiness in the Mind Only School of Buddhism).
  • Third Year subjects are raised in Chapter 1 of the Ornament.
Of the Ten Topics raised in Chapter 1, so far classes have addressed:
  • Topic 1 - Bodhicitta
  • Begun Topic 2 - Ten Mahayana Practice Instructions, i.e.
    • The Two Truths - the 1st Mayahana Practice Instruction (Spring 2011).
    • Fall 2011 - will continue Topic 2 with:
      • the Four Noble Truths - the 2nd Mahayana Practice Instruction; and 
      • Refuge - the 3rd Mahayana Practice Instruction.