This is the first session in a three-part 10-week series.
Prerequisite - completion of an introductory meditation class series (or equivalent) or teacher approval.
Essential Dharma is a three-part 10 week course offering an in-depth understanding of core Buddhist teachings and meditation practices essential in the journey of awakening as taught within the Insight meditation tradition. This course is ideal for those relatively new to Buddhism who wish to gain both an overview of the Buddha's teaching and to develop experience in Buddhist practices and meditation. It is also beneficial for those students with some meditation experience who wish to refresh their knowledge of key Buddhist teachings. The primary emphasis will be on how we apply and live these teachings in our everyday lives while cultivating a present moment embodied awareness. In Part 1, we will explore the Buddha's teachings on the Four Noble Truths, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness and Metta (Lovingkindness) Practice.
In each class, there will be a dharma talk on the evening's theme, a time for discussion and a period for meditation with time to ask questions about your practice. Instructions will be given for Vipassana, or insight meditation. On some evenings, there will be a guided meditation to enhance the evening's theme. Occasionally, there will also be times for interactive inquiry in pairs or small groups in order to facilitate the integration of speaking and listening.
Ideally, people commit for all three sessions. People enjoy the support they receive from their ongoing commitment to their practice and many people feel a sense of community that builds over time. We use a 'buddy system,' whereby each student has someone in the course with whom they discuss the homework assignments and practices. People can join the course at the start of any of the three sessions and take the other sessions in following years.