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

January events posted!

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 programs. These programs, spaced throughout the year, offer a deep dive into Mahayana teachings including the six paramitas, tonglen, and lojong. We are working on our next deep dive weekend program; in the meantime, please see below for our next Deepening in Compassion session.

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). Please join us January 18-19 for Fearless Garuda: Emptiness and Absolute Bodhichitta. We will view and discuss the season 3 video talks by the Shambhala Acharyas, including David Schneider on the Heart Sutra and Judith Simmer-Brown on Prajna & Compassion. Visit our calendar listing for more information and to register.

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. While the Circles are based around a core group of sangha members, new participants are always welcome.

  • Tuesday Kindness Circle, reading and discussing books by Pema Chödrön on the paramitas and other Mahayana topics. They will meet the third Tuesday of the month.
  • Lojong Kindness Circle, studying the lojong mind training slogans. They will meet one Sunday per month.

Please check our calendar for exact dates when the Kindness Circles will meet.

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.