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Mahayana Sutras: Webinar Series

April 25, 2016 - May 23, 2016

Online Teachings on the Mahayana Suttas

Online Teachings on the Mahayana Suttas

Join Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat for this second of four enlightening webinar series on fundamental teachings of buddhadharma and awakening throughout 2016.  This series is on the Mahayana Sutras and is streamed in four classes over four weeks.  These webinars are open to all.  For participants of the 2016 Year of Awakening program, these webinars are also part of of the program’s curriculum.

6-02 red Chinese man statue closeup2
© Catherine Pawasarat

In the second quarter of 2016 (25 Apr – 22 May) we will examine some Mahayana sutras, teachings that, it’s said, were received as termas centuries after the Buddha’s death.

Mahayana teachings build on the Theravadin “teachings of the elders,” from a foundation of an individual’s awakening experience towards using that awakening to benefit all beings. Generally speaking Mahayana sutras are considerably longer and more complex than Hinyana suttas. Over these four webinars we’ll study two major, classic sutras, in order to get a feeling for  this later development of Buddhist philosophy and its salient features. Please see the details on specific sutras in the schedule below.

6-02 bucolic temple & grounds
© Catherine Pawasarat

Some sources say that Mahayana sutras are teachings by the Buddha that were too advanced to be understood contemporaneously. Consequently they were hidden during his lifetime and revealed centuries later as termas.

Mahayana Buddhism exists primarily in China, Korea and Japan. Since Doug Duncan lived in Japan for more than 10 years, and Catherine for more than 20, our teachings have been deeply influenced by Japanese culture, and by extension, Japan’s Mahayana Buddhism.

Later in the year we’ll study the four levels of Vajrayana tantra and spiritual teachings from Western traditions.

We are pleased to share these teachings with all who are interested, particularly in the context of this methodical approach to the different Buddhist vehicles and Western teachings that comprise our Path.

Please note that one of the benefits of the Year of Awakening program is priority for webinar participation.

Webinar Details:

  • Schedule: Mondays 7:30pm, Mountain Standard Time (MST) – Apr 25, May 2, 9, and 16 (see below for details).  Pre-reading begins Apr 18. There will be reading between each subsequent class.
  • The webinar teachings are recorded, and available for one week after the live session. These classes are open and recordings are also available to all registrants.
  • Click on the “Register Now” buttons below to attend the webinars. By registering for the first webinar, you will also receive registration links for the subsequent three webinars.
  • Homework for anyone attending teachings: read the sutta before the class, and look up any terminology unfamiliar to you.
  • Please note that Office Hours (Saturdays 3-4pm MST) noted below are for the Year of Awakening program participants only.
  • If you’re not a Year of Awakening program participant, we encourage you to join us for PlanetDharma’s regular semi-monthly Office Hours, with questions about the suttas and/or your daily practice. It’s also an opportunity to connect with the teachers, the community of practice (sangha), and the awakening mindstream. The Office Hours are truly a precious opportunity to solidify and deepen our understanding and practice.

Dāna

Dana Bowl, a Dharma practice of generosityThese webinars are offered by Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat on the basis of dāna, or generosity practice.  There will be an opportunity for you to give dāna when you register, below. Learn more about dāna.

 

 

Translation Details:

In these four webinars we will study the Diamond Sūtra, and the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra.

For the Diamond Sutra, we highly recommend Namgyal Rinpoche’s book Suchness – The Diamond State Of Realization available from Bodhi Publishing.  The same translation of the Sutra is also available in the book The Diamond Sutra and The Sutra of Hui-Neng, translated by A.F. Price and Wong Mou-lam, published by Shambhala Classics. Both books contain the version of the Diamond Sutra that Doug Sensei studied with Namgyal Rinpoche, and is available as a Kindle e-book, paperback or hardcover.

For the Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra we recommend either or both these books: The Holy Teaching of Vimlakirti by Robert Thurman and/or the Vimlakirti Sutra by Burton Watson.

Please procure your copies well in advance, as shipping may take some time.

Other versions are available, and please note that the translations vary widely.

 

Schedule: April 25 – May 16

Mon., Apr. 25: Mahayana Sutras Part One: The Diamond Sutra

This is the first webinar in this series on the Mahayana sutras, mystical texts that were revealed in the Common Era. Join Doug and Catherine Sensei for a study of the Diamond Sutra, a small book, and also the very essence or core of the Maha-Prajnaparamita (Greater Perfection of Wisdom) of which it’s a part. The latter’s many volumes form the largest part of the scriptural canon of the Mahayana school of Buddhism.

The Diamond Sutra is written in the form of a dialogue about the bodhisattva path and enlightenment between the Buddha to Subhuti, one of his senior students. It heavily influenced Chinese Chan and Japanese Zen schools of Buddhism.

Its theme is the diamond state of realization. The diamond or thunderbolt cuts through delusional states of mind to reveal wisdom and ultimate truth. The sutra sheds light on major themes such as non-attachment, non-self and emptiness.

“Whosoever can receive and retain this teaching, study it, recite it and spread it abroad will be clearly perceived and recognized by the Tathagata and will achieve a perfection of merit beyond measurement

Image: Vimalakirti, by Hakuin Ekaku, ink on paper, 127 x 69.3 cm. Minneapolis Museum of Art
Image: Vimalakirti, by Hakuin Ekaku, ink on paper, 127 x 69.3 cm. Minneapolis Museum of Art

or calculation – a perfection of merit unlimited and inconceivable.” – The Buddha (The Diamond Sutra, Section XV, The Incomparable Value of This Teaching)
How is that for motivation?

Streamed live at 7:30pm MST. Pre-registration for each webinar is required, please use the “Register Now” button below:

Pre-Reading assignment: Mon., Apr. 17 – Sun., Apr. 24: Read the first half of The Diamond Sutra. There will be reading between each subsequent class.

[Office Hours for Year of Awakening Participants will take place on Sat., Apr. 30. This is a time for questions on the Diamond Sutra and related teachings.]

Mon, May 2: Mahayana Sutras Part Two: The Diamond Sutra

We continue our study of the illusory nature of self, the pursuit of non-attachment and emptiness as ultimate reality with the Diamond Sutra.

Streamed live at 7:30pm MST. Pre-registration for each webinar is required, please use the button below:

[Office Hours for Year of Awakening Participants will take place on Sat., May 7, and for other participants on Sun., May 8. This is a time for questions the Diamond Sutra and related teachings.]

Register for Online discussion with Meditation Teacher

Mon, May 9: Mahayana Sutras Part Three: Vimlakirti-Nirdesa Sutra

Next we’ll study the Vimalakirti-Nirdesa sutra. Dating to the 1st century AD, the Vimalakirti Sutra presented radical notions that must have rocked the Buddhist world, such as the possibility of awakening for all beings, including the non-elite and women. It was written in the vernacular (vs. academic) language, and so directed towards the average person, another startling concept for the time. With the wealthy layman Vimalakirti, miraculous feats illustrated profound Buddhist teachings, all directed towards teaching about the ultimate nature of emptiness.

Streamed live at 7:30pm MST. Pre-registration for each webinar is required, please use the “Register Now” button below:

[Office Hours for Year of Awakening Participants will take place on Sat., May 13, This is a time for questions on the relevant sutra and related teachings.]

Mon, May 16: Mahayana Sutras Part Four: Vimlakirti-Nirdesa

What qualities and teachings in the the Vimalakirti-Nirdesa sutra put it in a different category from the Theravadin suttas? Why did Vimalakirti value the bodhisattva path above that of arahatship? What’s non-duality and why do we care? We continue our learning, streamed live at 7:30pm MST. Pre-registration for each webinar is required.
[Office Hours for Year of Awakening Participants will take place on Sat., May 21, and for other participants on Sun., May 22, both at 3-4pm Mountain Time. (click for time zone converter) This is a time for questions on the relevant sutra and related teachings.]

Register for Online discussion with Meditation Teacher 

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Dharma Teacher CoupleThe other segments being taught by Doug & Catherine in 2016 are:

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Details

Start:
April 25, 2016
End:
May 23, 2016
Event Category: