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Here you can download Achala’s notes for a six-week course on exemplary practitioners and teachers of the Dharma-selected teachers from the Triratna Refuge Tree.
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.”
- The Arya Sangha: Spiritual hierarchy; irreversibility; the three fetters; Arya Sangha; 10 signs of a superior man.
- Kukai: Fact and legend; early life; visit to China; Kukai and Saicho; Mount Kukai and To-ji; later years and entry into Samadhi.
- Shantideva: Reasons for his fame; his life; legends; example of a legendary text; his supposed indolence.
- Hsuan-Tsang (Xuanzang): Introduction; his travels; back in China; epilogue. With a map of Hsuan-Tsang’s journey.
- Padmasambhava: Introduction; a legend/myth; historical account of his life; the ‘second Buddha’; Padmasambhava’s teachings.
- Hakuin: Quote from his ‘Song of Meditation’; background; his life; Hakuin’s teachings and methods; ‘his’ baby child – “is that so?”