Dharma Study Program
Gain a grounding in the teachings through reading, guidance, and discussion.
The 2018-2019 Dharma Study Program began September 29. This year’s program will examine specific subjects that are of central importance in our practice. Details, including complete dates, and registration below.
For those who are serious about liberation—or “the heart’s sure release” (as the Buddha called it)—the importance of a solid grounding in Dharma teachings cannot be overemphasized.
Here is some feedback on previous years’ Dharma Study Programs:
- “How wonderful to investigate the Dharma… I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate.”
- “Being able to study…with a group of like-minded friends was extremely helpful. The light, joyful, open atmosphere was very pleasant.”
- “I really feel I got a taste of the Dharma…The balance of meditation, group discussions, questions and answers, and socializing was ideal.”
If you wish to participate in the Dharma Study Program, we ask you to:
- meditate regularly
- uphold the Five Precepts and try to integrate them into your daily life
- complete the readings and attend the study group meetings
You may find the following books to be helpful preparation, especially if you are new to the Dharma Study Program:
- Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness by Bhante Gunaratana
- The Noble Eightfold Path: The Way to the End of Suffering by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Course Structure, Fall 2018–Winter 2019
Dharma Study Program meetings are held on Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Unless otherwise noted, meetings are at the Society of Friends (Quakers) House.
This year’s Dharma Study Program will examine specific subjects that are of central importance in our practice. Each session will include selections from different sources to provide us a richer breadth of perspective. We will begin with some basics and move progressively to more advanced topics.
The themes for the sessions are listed below. For two of them, we will read selections from the biography of Ajahn Chah called Stillness Flowing, which is offered for free distribution in PDF or print through Tisanara Buddhist Monastery. If you order a print copy, be sure to do so well ahead of the first session.
Themes and Readings
- September 29, 2018: “Not Seeing” (Ignorance) and Obstacles on the Path
Readings: Stillness Flowing, pages 336-360
Jim’s notes on Bhikkhu Bodhi’s talks on The Hindrances (these notes will be sent by the program coordinator)
- November 3: The Four Noble Truths, part 1
Reading: The Four Noble Truths by Ven. Ajahn Sumedho (The First and Second Noble Truths, from the beginning of the book to the end of “The Second Noble Truth”)
- December 1: The Four Noble Truths, part 2
Reading: The Four Noble Truths by Ven. Ajahn Sumedho (The Third and Fourth Noble Truths, i.e., to the end of the book)
- January 5, 2019: Non-distraction and Insight
Readings: Stillness Flowing, pages 360-379
“Jhana Not by the Numbers” by Ajahn Thanissaro
- January 26: Transcendental Dependent Origination
Reading: “Transcendental Dependent Arising” by Bhikkhu Bodhi (from beginning through “Happiness – Sukha”)
- March 2: Wisdom
Readings: “Transcendental Dependent Arising” by Bhikkhu Bodhi (from “Concentration” to the end)
“Attending to the Deathless” by Ajahn Amaro
Participants are divided into groups, which meet to discuss the readings. Some suggested topics for discussion are:
- What did you find most helpful in the readings?
- How did these readings impact your practice and life?
At each session, volunteers are chosen to offer a presentation of the assigned reading for the next session.
11:00–12:00 Taking of Precepts and sitting meditation
12:00–12:30 Presentation of the readings
12:30–1:00 Tea break
1:00–1:50 Group discussions
2:00–3:00 Opportunity for groups to briefly ask questions on topics that they would like to have clarified; teachers’ comments; and then close with sitting
Payment prior to the beginning of the program ensures placement. Please note that payment is non-refundable. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org