The Heart of the Buddha: A new course in Mahayana study and practice

New programs posted for August 2019! 

There is a vast pool of ancient teachings on the Buddhist path of loving-kindness/compassion and emptiness from the Mahayana tradition. This is the tender heart of the Buddhist path – where we work to exchange ourselves for others. This skillful practice makes the discipline of our meditation practice come to life, and makes the possibility of actually manifesting brilliance and enlightenment seem possible.

The Heart of the Buddha course features three elements:

Weekend/week-long programs. These programs, spaced throughout the year, offer a deep dive into Mahayana teachings including the six paramitas, tonglen, and the lojong mind training slogans. We’re happy to announce The Six Paramitas with Kim Kelso, August 17-18 with three follow-up sessions on September 1, 8, and 15. This class will focus on the six transcendent actions: Generosity, Discipline, Patience, Exertion, Meditation, and Prajna (wisdom). Please visit the event listing for more information and to register. (Generosity Policy applies: see the event listing for details.)

A Year of Deepening in Compassion, a course from Shambhala Online offered in four seasonal collections that correlate to the Shambhala dignities (tiger, lion, garuda, dragon). We will gather approximately every 2 weeks at the Phoenix Center, where we will watch video teachings from Shambhala Acharyas and have a facilitated discussion together. Season 2 begins with a catch-up session to view the first 4 videos of the lion collection, on Saturday, June 22. We will then meet for the live video broadcasts on June 30 (group discussion led by the Acharyas) and July 14 (a teaching by Acharya John Rockwell on the Meditation paramita). You may attend any or all of these events without prerequisites. To register for all three, sign up for the June 22 catch-up session and choose the Patron Price.

Kindness Circles, where people gather once a month in small groups to get to know each other and focus on their practices of the Mahayana. We have created three Kindness Circles, which had their first meetings in April. While the Circles are based around a core group of sangha members, new participants are always welcome.

  • Tuesday Kindness Circle, focusing on books by Pema Chödrön and other readings related to the Year of Deepening in Compassion series. They will meet the third Tuesday of the month except for the July meeting, which will be moved to Monday, July 15 at 6 pm.
  • Friendship Kindness Circle, focusing on Mahayana study and practice with a variety of activities, and friendly support of each other on the path of exchanging self for other. They will meet one Monday per month and their next meeting is August 5 at 7 pm.
  • Lojong Kindness Circle, focusing on the lojong mind training slogans. They will meet one Sunday a month and their next meeting is August 4 at 11:30 am.


Additional activities may be scheduled including book study and Sadhana of Kindness practice. Also, Way of Shambhala courses will continue to take place. Please watch our website for event listings.

There are no prerequisites to participate in these activities, although a personal mediation practice is recommended. Kindness Circles are free of charge; please visit the program links for more information about costs and Generosity Policy for the weekend events and Deepening in Compassion courses.

We are excited to begin this new course of study and practice in the Mahayana, and we hope you will join us!

Read more about the Mahayana in this article by Judy Lief from Lion’s Roar:

Mahayana: The Bodhisattva Path of Wisdom and Compassion

The Mahayana is a natural outgrowth of the yana of individual liberation. It is the simplifying and paring down of the path of individual liberation that makes the expansiveness of Mahayana possible. Doing the hard work of investigating your own nature and your preconceptions about the world changes you in significant ways. You become more self-accepting, gentler, more real and genuine. When you have become a better friend to yourself, you are ready to be a better friend to others.

In the Mahayana you see yourself as inextricably connected with all other beings, and because of that your individual path expands and broadens. Your training in the yana of individual liberation has brought you to the point where you sense the underlying inclination of all beings to awaken, and you gain more confidence in your own potential. At the same time, you recognize that focusing on your own development is not enough. You cannot be free from suffering if you know that others around you are still suffering. So the awareness you have cultivated through sitting practice makes it hard to ignore the suffering of others, and it gives birth to greater empathy and compassion.

Note: This program was previously advertised as the Way of the Moon. It will engage similar content under a new name.