Triratna Resources

Dharma Teaching - Beginners Buddhism: Buddhist Wisdom, A Six-Week Course On Symbolic Dharma (Vajrapriya)

On Sun, 17 July, 2016 - 11:29
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Centre Team

Download this overview of the course

The resources include:

  • Notes for the course leader (including learning objectives, guide lines for input and exercises, background information, suggestions for home practice)
  • Exercises, and handouts
  • Overview of the course
  • An overview of the whole of life’s dynamics in symbolic form.
  • The wheel of life – knowing our realm
  • The wheel of life – karma and rebirth
  • The wheel of life – the chain of conditioning, “staying in the gap”
  • The spiral path – to Insight and beyond
  • The mandala of the five Buddhas – Akshobya and Amitabha
  • The mandala of the five Buddhas – Ratnasambhava, Amoghasiddhi and Vairocana

Week 1: Karma & Rebirth

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

  • Why symbols?
  • Overview of the Wheel of Life
  • Sources of suffering (the hub) and their opposites
  • Skilfulness/unskilfulness (the ring of karma)
  • Rebirth (in every moment)

b) Handout summarizing the main points as mentioned above.

Week 2: Knowing your realm
a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

  • Review of previous class and home practice (dharmavijaya)
  • The six realms as karma vipaka
  • The realms as objective vs. subjective
  • Exercise: Imagining a realm from within

b) Materials/handouts:

  • Exercise on the six realms
  • Handout on the various realms

Week 3: Cyclic conditionality

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

  • Review of previous class and home practice (experience of the six realms)
  • Nidana chain exercise (in unfolding and reverse order) – three-lives interpretation
  • Feeling (vedana) and craving (tanha)

b) Materials/handouts:

  • Exercise on the Nidana chain
  • Handout on cyclic conditionality and vedana
  • Reading material: Extract from Foundation Year of the old Mitra Course

Week 4: Progressive conditionality

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

  • Vedana exercise
  • Review of previous class (cyclic conditionality) and home practice (exploring vedana)
  • Exercise to work out the order of progressive conditionality
  • The crucial link; “In dependence of unsatisfactoriness arises faith.”
  • Concentration, insight, and the transcendental path

b) Materials/handouts:

  • Exercise to work out the order of progressive conditionality
  • Exercise to review cyclic conditionality
  • Handout on progressive conditionality

Week 5: Akshobhya and Amitabha

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

  • Review of previous class (progressive nidanas and point of intersection with wheel) and home practice
  • Imagination and the archetypal dimension
  • Exercise around archetypes and superheroes
  • Introducing Akshobhya and Amitabha
  • Principles of correlations/correspondences

b) Materials/handouts:

  • Exercise on progressive nidanas
  • Exercise on correspondences between Akshobhya and Amitabha
  • Handout on Akshobhya and Amitabha

Week 6: Ratnasambhava, Amoghasiddhi, and Vairocana

a) Notes for the teacher, including suggestions for:

  • Review of previous class (correspondences Akshobhya and Amitabha) and home practice (visualizing colour in meditation)
  • Mudras
  • Qualities of Ratnasambhava, Amoghasiddhi, Vairocana
  • The Buddha families and our personal affinities
  • Symbolism of the Mandala
  • Personal mandalas

b) Materials/handouts:

  • Exercise on correspondences between Ratnasambhava and Amoghasiddhi
  • Handout on the Five Buddha Mandala

See Vajrapriya’s course on doctrinal Dharma 

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