Balancing and Maturing on the Spiritual Path
7 Weeks Online Meditation Course

It’s fine to join this course even after it has started!

Online Course – Intermediate

Wednesdays April 29th – June 10th 2020

Learning Objectives

This is an intermediate course. To take this course it is recommended that you have at least 300 hours of meditation background, a daily meditation practice, and a willingness to meditate 45 mins a day during the course.

The primary objective of this class is spiritual cultivation and investigation. We’ll explore and cultivate ethics, unconditional love towards self and other, emptiness, tranquility, wisdom, enjoyment, letting go of concepts, and common problems to watch out for on the spiritual path. We’ll investigate how all these interpenetrate and mutually support. I hope that by the end of the seven weeks that the student will grow a bit more spiritually mature, balanced, grounded, and friendly towards self and other.

There will be lots of space for discussion and questions about practice. The daily practice recommendation will be 45 minutes of formal practice.

Cost: Free.

The class will be recorded and will be available after the course is done. We’ll meet using the online video-call software Zoom.

We’ll meet online once a week for the seven weeks, and each session will last for 90 mins.

Time

The class will be taught twice to reach people in different time zones. The content is the same.

1) USA Wednesday Morning & Europe Wednesday Evening Class:
  • In the US:
    • 12:00pm Eastern Time Zone
    • 11:00am Central
    • 10:00am Mountain
    • 9:00 am Pacific
  • In Europe:
    • 18:00 (Central European Time (CET) which is UTC/GMT+2)
    • 17:00 (Western European Time (WET) which is UTC/GMT+1.)
2) USA Wednesday Evening Class
  • 7:00pm Eastern
  • 6:00pm Central
  • 5:00pm Mountain
  • 4:00pm Pacific.

Course Overview

Week 1: Tong Len (a compassion practice), Bodhichitta, Importance of Daily Life Practice, and the Five Precepts (Apr 29 2020)
  • Tong Len, opening the heart towards the hurt/broken aspects of the world and yourself.
  • Bodhichitta: how to quicken spiritual maturation while assuring balance and integration
  • The Five Precepts and compassion as an intuitive basis for ethics
    • a non-dogmatic, and practice based discussion
    • How to make yourself a more trustworthy and harmless person
    • The precepts as aspirations we strive for
    • They aren’t justification for harsh judgment of self or other
    • Proper practice of the precepts increases the cognitive function of judgement (calm discerning wisdom) and decreases the emotionally afflictive aspect of judgment (aversion and condescension)
  • Practice Homework
    • 45 minutes daily sitting: Tong Len
Week 2: Devotion Without Belief and the Four Nobles Tasks and the Noble Eight Fold Path (May 6)
  • Discussion of the core aspects of the Four Nobles Tasks
  • How to feel devotional love without any pressure to believe this or that doctrine.
  • Instruction of “Admiration of the Buddha” meditation
  • Practice Homework
    • 45 minutes daily sitting
Week 3: The Ten Paramitas and the cultivation of Joy (May 14 – shifted from Wed to Thur)
  • Direct guide to spiritual cultivation
  • contemplation of the Paramitas
  • Mudita on “the paramitas of others” as a form Paramita contemplation
  • Practice Homework
    • 45 minutes daily sitting: ten paramitas (Mudita Version)
Week 4: What is Rest? The interpenetration of stillness and void (May 20)
  • What is Inquiry and how to use it on the Path
  • Practice instructions for “What is Rest?”
  • Problems with Emptiness – Corruptions of insight
  • Practice Homework
    • 45 minutes practice: What is Rest?
Week 5: How Awareness and Friendliness (Love) interpenetrate and Discussion of Spiritual Bypassing (May 27)
  • Discussion of how both Awareness and Friendliness are at their core Unconditional Receptivity
  • How ego and the defense mechanisms highjack the practice and what to do about it
    • Self-Honesty
    • Service to others
    • Self-Compassion
    • Connecting with others and getting help
  • Practice Homework
    • 45 minutes of whatever practice speaks to you this week
Week 6: “Don’t Know” Mind (June 3)
  • What is means to open up to don’t know
  • Deep equanimity with thought (non-reactivity) and ending the compulsive Samsaric loop of “Thought > Emotion > Body Tension” reactivity
  • Practice instructions on the inquiry “Is it true?”
  • What to watch out for: Common traps
  • Practice Homework
    • 45 min Sit with thoughts and either “open up to don’t know” or ask “Is it true?”
Week 7: Contemplation of Death Meditation – How this supports a full and engaged life and Wrap Up (June 10)
  • What is contemplation of Death Meditation?
  • Why? The importance and benefits of contemplating death
  • Theravadin, Tibetan, Zen, and Advaita Perspectives
  • Practice instructions on Contemplation of Death Meditation
  • Practice Homework
    • 45 minutes Laying Down Contemplation of Death

 

To sign up:

Please fill out this google form with you email. I will email you the day before the class starts with the Zoom links for the two time slot options. You’ll be able to choose which ever one is most convenient.. Sign-up for Balancing and Maturing on the Spiritual Path It’s recommended to come to all classes. But, it’s no big deal if you miss one and then pick up the next class. Feel free to forward this to friends who might find this class beneficial.


Photo by Zoltan Tasi

Hourly Schedule

Schedule Common to each 90 minute class:

-
5 mins of meditation
-
5 mins brief review of the prior class (first class will be introductions instead)
-
20 mins practice questions relating to last weeks material (first class would be lecture instead)
-
15 mins lecture of new practice
-
5 mins brief clarifications as to the technique
-
20 mins guided meditation for technique just discussed
-
20 mins follow up questions and homework assignment.


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