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H. H. Dalai Lama’s “Force for Good” Continuation – Unit 4 – Dr. Tom Yarnall | 7-9PM


7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

H. H. Dalai Lama’s “Force for Good” Continuation: Buddhist Scientific, Ethical, and Psychological Education

Prof. Robert Thurman and THUS Faculty and guests
(Also to be live-streamed for subscribers)

A continuation of our long-term, usually wednesday evening program to further H. H. the Dalai Lama’s contemporary world initiatives, from His Holiness’ American Institute of Buddhist Studies and Mind and Life science dialogues (Mind Science and Universe in a Single Atom) and His creation of Abhidharma 2.0 through the “Science for Monks” programs, his “secular ethics” (Ethics for the New Millennium and Beyond Religion), His nonviolent approach to conflict resolution, including His Nobel Peace Laureate activities to seek dialogue and a win-win reconciliation with China in the face of the ongoing ethnicidal policies in Tibet (Freedom in Exile and Man of Peace: The Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet), along with his emphasis on positive activism (A New Reality: Charter of Universal Responsibility), and finally,  His opening up the study of the esoteric Tantras through his 34 Kalachakra Grand Initiations (The Kalachakra Initiation, Tantra in Tibet, and other such works). The “root texts” for this spring will be passages from works of His Holiness and selections from various Buddhist works in English translation. Some readings will be available for purchase, others provided online to enrollees. Though the course can be considered as a whole, it is usually taken in units, or even single events, one by one.

Faculty: Dr. David Kittay, Krishna Das, Robert Thurman, Dr. Mark Epstein, Dr. Isa Gucciardi, Dr. Tom Yarnall, and occasional guest teachers.

Event schedule: February 1, 13, 27, March 6, March 20, 27: March 22-23: April 9, 16, 19-20, 23; May 23-28, 28-29; June all at Menla.

Unit 4

Buddhist Liberative Arts and Sciences (Philosophy, Contemplative Practices, and Ethics)
Dr. Tom Yarnall 

In these three sessions Dr. Yarnall will introduce the full range of topics pertaining to the theory and practice of Buddhist “higher education” (adhshiksha), traditionally organized into the three interrelated disciplines of ethics (shila), meditation (samadhi), and wisdom (prajña), comprised of the eight branches of the fourth noble truth’s eightfold path. These three disciplines formed the basis for the expanded liberative arts and sciences curriculum of Nalanda University and other first-millennium Indian Buddhist universities, and for the Tibetan Buddhist systems of education that further developed and refined this curriculum throughout the second millennium. Clearly understanding the nature and content of this liberative curriculum is key to understanding how and why the present Dalai Lama identifies himself first and foremost with “the Nalanda tradition of wisdom.”

Buddhist Science and Philosophy (Wisdom) – Dr. Tom Yarnall
Tuesday, April 9; 7-9PM

In this session we will explore the foundational Buddhist insights into emptiness (shunyata) and relativity (pratityasamutpada). We will see how these interrelated insights—developed through an unwavering commitment to rigorous philosophical analysis and scientific/empirical investigation—form the basis for all Buddhist theory and practice, including the two other higher educations (contemplative practices and ethics) and all related “spiritual” topics including the four noble truths, liberation, the bodhisattva path, and the full awakening and flourishing of buddhahood.

Select relevant books by the Dalai Lama: Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics (2017); Approaching the Buddhist Path (The Library of Wisdom and Compassion) (2017); The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality (2006).

– To attend in-person: General:$25/Members:$22.50 – CLICK HERE to register

Buddhist Contemplative Practices (Meditation) – Dr. Tom Yarnall
Tuesday, April 16; 7-9PM

In this second session we will explore the diverse array of Buddhist contemplative practices (bhavana) used to realize—i.e., literally to “make real” or to “experientially cultivate”—the ramifications of the insights into emptiness and relativity discussed in the first session. Such practices include stabilizing meditation (shamatha); analytic insight meditation (vipashyana); cultivation of the four immeasurables (love, compassion, sympathetic joy, and impartiality); form and formless realm trances; mind training/purification (lo jong); mindfulness meditation; great perfection (dzog chen); and the subtle body-mind states activated and transformed through advanced tantric yoga techniques.

Select relevant books by the Dalai Lama: The Heart of Meditation: Discovering Innermost Awareness (2017); Stages of Meditation (2001); Tantra in Tibet (1972); Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection (2000).

To attend in-person: General:$25/Members:$22.50 – CLICK HERE to register

– To join via webcast: $7 (no member discount) – CLICK HERE to register    

Buddhist Ethics – Dr. Tom Yarnall
Tuesday, April 23; 7-9PM

In this third session we will explore how Buddhist ethical perspectives and practices both derive from the insight into emptiness/relativity as well as support the full development and manifestation of this insight. Topics will include the ethical practices and commitments of each of the three Buddhist vehicles (individual, universal, and tantric), and will involve discussions aimed at engendering a deeper, more nuanced and practical understanding of exoteric Buddhist ethics—including the cultivation of “renunciation,” love and compassion, and the spirit of awakening (bodhicitta)—as well as esoteric, tantric Buddhist ethics—including the radically transformative cultivation of “pure perception” and a fully awakened and engaged “buddha-identity.”

Select relevant books by the Dalai Lama: Ethics for the New Millennium (2001); Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World (2012); The Union of Bliss and Emptiness: Teachings on the Practice of Guru Yoga (2009).

To attend in-person: General:$25/Members:$22.50 – CLICK HERE to register

– To join via webcast: $7 (no member discount) – CLICK HERE to register    

Dr. Tom Yarnall has been an engaged student of all-things-Buddhist since 1978. He earned his Ph.D. in Religion (Buddhist Studies) at Columbia University in New York, where he has remained for the last 25 years, and where he currently is an Associate Research Scholar and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion. He specializes in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, teaching courses in Buddhist history, philosophy, ethics, and contemplative sciences. He is also the executive editor for the Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences series of translations of works from the Tibetan Tengyur (and associated literature), being co-published by the American Institute of Buddhist Studies and Wisdom Publications, in association with the Columbia Center for Buddhist Studies and Tibet House.


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