Triratna Resources

Dharma Teaching - Beginners Buddhism: Basic Core Teachings (A Six-Week Course By Achala)

On Sat, 16 July, 2016 - 19:28
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Centre Team

Here you can download the handouts for a six-week course, provided by Achala from New Zealand.

Please note that according to Achala further improvement of some of these handouts is needed! Please share your improvements in the comments.

NOTE: This is what Achala said about his intentions when designing this course:

I tried to construct a course such that it:

  • covers what an average human being needs to effectively practice Buddhism
  • doesn’t not have a scholastic bent (so a few Pali/Sanskrit terms seemed reasonable but not so many as to give the impression that the courses are oriented towards bookish types)
  • appeals to people’s imagination, as well as being intellectually clear
  • includes all of Bhante’s fundamental insights such as his stress on right understanding and the importance of Going for Refuge – although I accept that not all Order members will agree what those fundamental are
  • appeals especially to younger people – in their late teens and early twenties
  • does not involve a great deal of reading (typically max three pages of notes per week)
  • excludes material that has neither inspirational value nor practical use.

The notes for the course are almost complete. A few have yet to be written, and some could do with a bit of an edit to correct errors, and perhaps occasionally rephrase things. The material that has been prepared has been in use for about three years, and has worked really well.

Course structure 

  1. Conditionality (pratitya samutpada) [[needs polishing]]: Parable of the poisonous arrow; example of conditionality in the Buddhist scriptures; five niyamas; cyclic nidanas and spiral path
  2. General introduction to ethics [[needs polishing]]: A context for ethical practice; criteria (skilful-unskilful); karma; guilt; ethical guidelines; playfulness
  3. The five precepts [needs polishing]
  4. The three laksanas (1): Introduction; the three marks and how they are interrelated
  5. The three laksanas (2): Exploring impermanence and unsatisfactoriness; some poems
  6. The three laksanas (3): Insubstantiality; the 6-element practice; selected poem
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