Sutta study, every Thursday on Zoom, 7pm EST
Click here for source material. We’ll read this together, so no worries if it seems difficult!
We all know about the importance of having compassion for all living beings, but can we ever truly be fully compassionate if we don’t know what the other experiences? We can read books and visualize ‘walking a mile’ in another person’s shoes. These are worthy pursuits. But the Buddha took this to a whole new level, by going through multiple lifetimes living as other beings. Sound out of this world?? Welcome to the Jataka Tales!
The Jataka Tales contain a collection of hundreds of ‘whimsical’ suttas that describe the Buddha in his past lives as various animals. During these many lifetimes, he is able to communicate with these animals and illustrate the importance of embodying his spiritual teachings, no matter what form his body takes.
Note: Please download and print the readings here. We will read the material together, but you are welcome to review it on your own ahead of time. Either way, we’ll make sense of it together.
The only way to stop anger is to nip it in the bud, right where it begins: our very minds. If you, like so many, wish to live in a world without anger, the work must be an inside job. Click here, and begin the revolution to a more peaceful, harmonious world.
We live in a world that is evermore separate by race, sex, culture, class and political and religious affiliation, even by beliefs within those separate groups. We can keep creating ways to ‘other’ ourselves and others, but in the end, where does this leave us?
Some of the most liberating teachings of the Buddha are contained in the Five Aggregate. Understanding who we are, we we’re like, and how we got that way can help us realize that we are conditioned beings. By seeing this, we can change how we experience the world.
You might be surprised to learn that that the Buddha offered all kinds of advice to lay people as well as monastics, including how to save money, have a happier marriage, even on how to lose weight! Join us as we explore the wisdom found in the Kosala Samyutta.
Noble friends are all of the holy life. This is what the Buddha said. The theris, or elder sisters, underwent great suffering in the lives, but being part of the maha-sangha, following the Buddha’s monastic rules, provided the support for them to attain liberation.
All living beings have things they want and desire. We all have a weakness for good food, attractive clothing and comfortable surroundings. Get too attached, however, and we, too, can become ensnared. How do we maintain our freedom from wanting?
What is it that causes some people to get along and some to live in almost constant discord with others? “Can’t we all just get along?!” Apparently not, as we see in this sutta. We’ll also see that by giving up what it is we think we want, we end up getting more in return.
We’re social creatures, tending to live with and among others. Don’t you sometimes find that your happiest, or saddest moments, often involve others? Since this is the case, what can we do to effectively maximize those times we’re happy? And what would that entail?
“Life is short.” We’ve all heard it before. But do we really, truly digest what this means for us? One day, we know not when, our time will come, and we will die. But do we spend our lives as if it is the only one we have? If not, how can we live our best life, right here, right now?
We all have been told since we were children that we need to ‘plan for the future!’ Of course it’s important to have plans, but so often we spent our time rehashing the past or projecting into the future. How, then, do we live in the now, and why is this so hard?
“Some of the worst things in my life never even happened,” so Mark Twain famously said. The mind can transport us to future fears and past regrets. It can torture us with thoughts of self-recrimination, sadness, and worry. Can we create a happier mindscape?
We live in a time where many people are demanding that they be seen by their true nature. Race, gender, class, religion, and many other identifiers have historically been used to define an individual’s being. But what is it, really, that creates who we are?
What type of strength is it we’re really looking for? The strength that comes from faith, from following the Noble Eightfold Path, from seeking security through one’s actions, not one’s outside environment–that’s a safe space in which to abide.
Tasty, exotic foods from all over the world can easily be found in our local food store. Just about anything we desire, we can acquire. But what does this really, ultimately, do for us? Are we satisfied with what we have, or do we want more?
Have you ever seen anyone who is perfect? Probably not–none of us is. Having acknowledged that, do you more often look at your own faults, or the faults of others? It’s much easier, and let’s face it, more comforting, to see where others fall short.
There is so much great suffering in the world, and the life of Patachara serves as an extreme example of what many poor, suffering, marginalized people have borne through the ages. Patachara experienced extreme pain, until she found the dharma.
The Buddha enjoins us to care for others. It is said that when one lives in a state of ‘loving-kindness,’ that they are dwelling in a ‘divine abode.’ But we must incline our minds to love to feel love. So, how do we do it? The MettaBhavana sutta points the way.
Fascination with outer beauty can lead to neglect of the inner self, which can lead to competition, pettiness and superficiality. If one thinks all they are is encompassed by their outer expression, can he or she ever really experience true self-worth?
Imagine if the Buddha decided not to share his liberating teachings! It may be hard to imagine, but this actually came close to happening. Read more to see how the Buddhadharma came to be available to all who would avail themselves of it.
Who doesn’t like to believe they see things clearly, without prejudice clouding their vision? But unless we really understand our mind and what goes on in it, it’s nearly impossible to see things are they really are. Seeing clearly means looking at the mind!
The Buddha said that, “the mind, unguarded, leads to great harm.” But how do we stop some of these thoughts that hound us? They seem to have a life of their own! Part of the secret is to first be aware of them, and then, knowing what to do.
One of the more famous suttas from the Middle Length Discourses, this sutta conquers Cancel Culture, Prejudicial Views, Clinging, Craving, Self, Non-Self and more, including a deep dive into how we feel about our bodies, our feelings, even our thoughts.
The Buddha spoke often on the importance of developing and maintaining ‘Right View.’ But what is Right View, anyway? Right View actually means a whole lot of things, and its primary goal is to support our happiness. Learn More!
In our society, acquisition is often valued above all else. Because we’re conditioned to look for fulfillment outside of ourselves, we often go to great lengths to get that next best thing, but at what cost? We may find that it’s by giving up that we gain the most.
How do we protect ourselves from the schoolyard bullies, and how do we make sure we don’t become bullies ourselves? It’s not always easy to discern. The Buddha helps clear up the confusion many of us have about this in this sutta to his son, Rahula.
Anger. It’s a normal human emotion, and sometimes, it can be helpful. But when, in what circumstance? And how should it be expressed? Many of us have lost a friend or loved one over anger. One thing’s for sure, anger is never tamed by being denied.
‘Mindfulness’ is not just a buzzword. In fact, mindful practice has been around for thousands of years. But what does it mean to be mindful, and what can it do for us anyway? To answer these questions, we look no further than the Buddha himself.