A Year of Deepening in Compassion

April 7th—July 14th

Date details +
    Room: Meditation Room

    The path of the Bodhisattva Warrior begins with developing affection for ourselves and expands this to others, dissolving the barriers that divide us. To support this practice, the Shambhala Acharyas have offered to lead the community in a year long series of talks, contemplative and meditation practices from the Buddhist Mahayana teachings of our lineage.

    Through Shambhala Online, these talks will occur two Sundays per month, beginning on February 17th and concluding in January 2020. Throughout the year, the main practice is tonglen, which will be taught by Ani Pema Chodron with both a guided meditation and an audio talk that will be posted on the home page for the course. Additionally, live online talks by acharyas will introduce and support other practices of the Mahayana. 

    The year’s teachings are divided into four seasonal themes. Every three months a new course will begin but the program will be continuous. Within each season, acharyas will be offering talks that relate to that topic with their own personal approach.

    The schedule shall begin with the talk at 10 am, followed by sitting practice at 11 am

    The themes for the four seasons echo the virtues of the Four Dignities of the Shambhala Path:

    February 17 - April 21: Tiger, friendly to self and merciful to others: The Four Immeasurables

    May 5 - July 14: Lion, joy of discipline: The Six Paramitas

    July 28 - October 6: Garuda, space beyond hope and fear: Heart Sutra and Sunyata

    October 20 - January 19: Dragon, compassionate engagement: Lojong, mind training

    Part I

    The Four Limitless Ones, is the first course of the four-part series exploring the Shambhala Mahayana teachings. This course includes Tonglen instruction and an audio talk by Acharya Pema Chodron and an introduction to The Four Limitless Ones. It also includes:

    • Five classes with an Acharya with an opportunity for Q&A.
    • The classes will be recorded, and each will be led by a different Acharya.
    • Readings and book suggestions to deepen our understanding of these teachings
    • Contemplations to help us integrate these fundamental teachings into our daily lives
    • A discussion forum.


    Books forming the suggested readings for Part I (details for each talk given father below):

    The Places that Scare You by Pema Chödrön

    Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Volume 2 The Bodhisattva Path of Wisdom and Compassion by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

    Ruling Your World by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

    Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

    Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche


    Practice Guidelines for this Year of Mahayana Studies:

    Please take advantage of any group meditation sessions offered by your local center. At the same time, to support the training we’re doing this year, it’s important that you develop the habit of meditating at home. To do this, here are some tips that many people have found helpful:

    Choose a place in your home has a good environment for meditation.
    If you don’t have a meditation cushion, sit upright on a chair.
    Work with your schedule and find a regular time to make an appointment with yourself for practice and study.
    Make a weekly commitment to do a certain number of sessions and do your best to keep that promise.
    Use your practice booklet (from Shambhala Day) to mark the days you meditated.
    Turn off your phone, but set the timer so that you can remain undistracted during your sitting meditation.
    Join with a sangha friend and set up a buddy system to sit together or at least check in with each other. Some people even practice together by ‘zoom’ or ‘skype’.
    Here is a proposed schedule (which you can download here if you wish) that will enable you to benefit from this year of Mahayana training. Ideally you would try for 3-5 sessions per week, approximately one hour per session. For instance, the ideal session would include:

    10 minutes of reading and contemplation of the teachings (this could include an opening chant)
    20 – 30 minutes of sitting meditation.
    10 minutes of Tonglen (Tonglen instruction is provided in Module 3 of this course)
    5 more minutes of sitting.
    10 minutes of the seasonal practice ( e.g. The four limitless ones)
    1 minute: dedication of merit
    It might be helpful to keep a journal or diary to reflect in the evening on your post-meditation insights and observations.

    Course Schedule

    March 10 - Loving Kindness

    The Places that Scare You by Pema Chödrön: Chapter 12: “Thinking Bigger” and Chapter 13: “Meeting the Enemy”
    Ruling Your World by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche: Chapter 17, “The Confidence of Equanimity”
    Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Volume 2 The Bodhisattva Path of Wisdom and Compassion by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche: p. 75,  Sections on Equanimity and the Aims of the Four Limitless Ones

    What is it like to be been seen without judgment?
    When you have you been accepted as you are, felt included?
    How does it feel to be the object of prejudice, to be judged, excluded?
    How can one have equanimity without being overwhelmed?

    March 24 - Compassion

    Introduction from Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

    Bodhichitta-The Excellence of Awakened Heart- by Pema Chödrön

    Using the Power of Thought by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

    Teachings on Loving Kindness Meditation by Sharon Salzberg & Jack Kornfield


    Where, when and how am I most unkind and unforgiving with myself?

    Given that we are all ordinary human beings doing our best to serve and evolve with life’s considerable challenges, how does it make sense to be hard on ourselves?

    What would it mean to really be our own best friend and ally?

    The personal survival mechanism we call ego is driven by fear.  How can we create an environment of non-fear, in which our psychological survival system might be able to relax and let go?

    In your experience, what is the relationship between the quality of our relationship with ourselves and our relationships with others?

    April 7 - Discussion

    In this module, we will have an opportunity to participate in an online discussion group hosted by one of the Acharyas.

    Here is the proposed format for the meeting:

    Guided practice (5-10 minutes)
    Very short talk (5-10 minutes)
    Open discussions

    April 21 - Sympathetic Joy and Course Conclusion

    The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Vol. II: The Bodhisattva Path of Wisdom and Compassion by Chögam Trungpa, Chapter 40 – “Point Five: Evaluation of Mind Training”  Point 21 – Always maintain only a joyful mind. (p.351)
    Start Where You Are by Pema Chödrön, Chapter 15: Lighten Up
    Shambhala the Path of the Warrior by Chögyam Trungpa,  Chapter 10: Letting Go
    The Shambhala Principle by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Chapter 11:  Cheer Yourself Up

     If joy does not come from getting what you want or being safe, what is it?
     What is joy if there is no-one solid being feeling joyful?
     Is it hypocritical to feel joy in the face of so much suffering and disappointment?


    Part II

    May 5  Generosity - Acharya Janowitz
    May 19  Discipline - Acharya Chapman
    June 2  Patience - Acharya Duquette
    June 16  Ethics - Acharya Moh Hardin
    June 30  Discussion
    July 14  Samadhi & Summary - Acharya Rockwell

    $10 suggested donation per talk to cover the cost of the progam 
    Generosity policy applies