Introduction to Buddhism

Buddhist Classes : Thought and Philosophy

These Buddhist classes will provide you with a solid understanding of the core teachings of Buddhism, such as impermanence, rebirth, karma and the philosophical understanding of the true nature of reality.

Each Buddhist class is self-contained so you are welcome to drop in when you can.

An Introduction to Buddhism

The teachings of Buddhism are very different from other systems of thought, Western and Eastern.  This class will give you an understanding of some of the essential aspects of Buddhism:

  • The history and lineage – where the Buddhist teachings come from and how they are transmitted
  • Buddhism and religion – what makes someone a Buddhist and is it, or is it not, a religious system
  • Buddha nature – the basis of the spiritual path

Classes will reference the book, Discovering the Causes of Happiness by Lama Jampa Thaye available as an eBook through Amazon and iTunes.

The Foundations of Buddhist Meditation and Practice

There are a series of ‘Four Thoughts’ or contemplations that provide the foundation for all Buddhist practice and meditation.  Over two classes we will explain, discuss and meditate on these:

  1. The preciousness of human birth
  2. Impermanence and death
  3. Karma – action and result
  4. The pervasive nature of suffering

Classes will reference the book, Tasting Birth and Death by Lama Jampa Thaye available as an eBook through Amazon and iTunes.

The Mind of Enlightenment – Loving Kindness and Compassion Meditation

Sometimes it is thought that the Buddhist path is concerned with finding inner peace and that the motivation is therefore essentially selfish.  In fact, most Buddhist traditions see the motivation for practice is to free all beings from suffering.  Over two classes we will explain and practice:

  • Loving kindness and compassion – a meditation that directly challenges the habits of ego
  • The Mind of Enlightenment – how to develop and action the altruistic wish to benefit all beings, the most important of all Buddhist teachings

Classes will draw on the Sakya teachings of the Triple Vision.


Buddhist Philosophy – Rebirth and the Four Seals

The idea of reincarnation is something we have all heard of.  However, the Buddhist understanding of reincarnation or ‘rebirth’ is very different from what is commonly thought. Over two classes we will explain and discuss:

  • The doctrine of rebirth – the cycle of birth, sickness, old age and death
  • The Four Seals – the four considerations that define a teaching as Buddhist or not

Classes will reference the book, Essentials of Tibetan Buddhism by Lama Jampa Thaye.


Buddhist Philosophy – The Middle Way View

How we understand and interpret our experience and the nature of reality is the key to both our own happiness and to releasing our innate ability to benefit others.  Over two classes we will explore and discuss:

  • The limitations of eternalist and nihilist views of reality, such as theism and materialism, and how they lock us into suffering
  • How to arrive at the Middle Way View, a correct understanding of the  true nature of reality

Classes will reference the book, Rain of Clarity by Lama Jampa Thaye.

Vajrayana and the Buddhist Tantras

The most powerful meditation practices taught by the buddha are found in the Buddhist tantras and collectively known as the vajrayana.  This class will explore:

  • What is the vajrayana
  • Why it is superior
  • How to enter and practice vajrayana

Classes will reference the book, Rain of Clarity by Lama Jampa Thaye.