Walking the Bodhisattva Path

with Mark Seibold & Elizabeth Peterson

September 11th—October 2nd

Date details +
  • $72.00 Sustaining
Room: All Rooms

In contrast to the Hīnayāna path on which the focus is individual liberation, the bodhisattva (“heroic warrior dedicated to awakening”) of the Mahāyāna path dedicates his/her life and practice to the rousing bodhicitta (“awakened heart”) and engaging in the warrior practices of the bodhisattva path for the benefit of all sentient beings.

The course opens with a brief look at the difference between the relative aspirations of the Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna paths. In addition, we introduce the bodhisattva vow to save all sentient beings. The rationale for, and import of, the vow is underscored by contemplating the Four Reminders, aka, the Four Thoughts that Turn the Mind from Saṃsāra. The second class focuses on the practice of rousing bodhicitta. In the third meeting we look at the six perfections or pāramitās, the actual practice in which the bodhisattva engages. Finally, in our fourth class we discuss ultimate bodhicitta and briefly review the Heart Sūtra, the most famous of the prajñāpāramitā sūtras which present the emptiness of all phenomena.

This is a challenging course with significant content. Classes will begin with a brief session of meditation followed by the presentation of the week’s materials. Meetings will include discussion, dyads, and employ various exercises and contemplations in and out of class to make the materials more accessible and personal. In addition to the required readings (see note below) there may be occassional supplemental materials.

Preregistration is obligatory. Because of the volume of materials we will be covering in a short period there will be a reading assignment for the first class. Please purchase (or borrow) the required texts far enough in advance of the first class meeting on Monday, September 11 that you have time to do the reading. The required texts will be available for purchase through the Pioneer Valley Shambhala Center bookstore.

Prerequisites:
This class is open to anyone who has completed either 1) the IEL course series through Fearlessness In Everyday Life, or 2) the Basic Goodness series, or 3) The Profound Treasury class, The Path of Individual Liberation, or 4) consent of the instructors. It is required for anyone planning to request the bodhisattva vow from Ācharya Spiegel in October.

Although this course is intended primarily for those planning to request the Bodhisattva Vow in October, it is also open to others who do not plan to attend the October program or request the bodhisattva vow but are interested in learning more about the bodhisattva path. If, for whatever reason, you are planning to request the Bodhisattva Vow, but are unable to attend this class, please contact Mark Seibold at [email protected] at your earliest convenience.

Enrollment:
Enrollment is limited to 25 persons; preference will be given to those planning to request the Bodhisattva Vow.

Pricing:
Because it is required for those taking the Bodhisattva Vow and in recognition of the costs associated with taking the Vow, there is no set fee for this class but in accord with tradition we do request you make an offering to PVSC. The suggested offering for those attending the Vow Weekend program is $25; for those not attending the Vow Weekend program it is $72.

Companion Bodhisattva Vow Pre-Meeting:
There will also be a companion Bodhisattva Vow pre-meeting on Sunday October 8, 1:00-3:00 PM for anyone planning to request the Bodhisattva Vow. This will be your opportunity to ask any final questions and for us to review, in a general way, the proceedings of the vow ceremony.

Required texts: Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Taming the Mind & Walking the Bodhisatva Path, and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism.

Topics covered:
1. Transition from Hīnayāna to Mahāyāna & the bodhisattva vow.
2. The practice of rousing bodhicitta
3. Engaging bodhicitta: the six pāramitās
4. Ultimate bodhicitta & the Heart Sūtra (wisdom & compassion)