NOTE: In response to COVID-19 we will be holding virtual classroom teachings until further notice.
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Tenets explains the philosophical systems of the four main schools of Buddhist thought. These schools represent an increasingly subtle understanding of the Buddhist view of emptiness. We might ask, why do we need to study emptiness? Isn’t it enough to simply focus on developing love and compassion? According to Buddhism, this is a good beginning, but it is not enough. We cannot completely remove mental afflictions and all the problems they bring unless we uproot their source which is ignorance about the true nature of the mind and the world around us.
How do we recognize this ignorance and how do we remove it? We begin this process by learning basic explanations of the nature of reality as presented in Tenets. We start with the lowest school of thought as it is easiest to understand. Then step by step, we study increasingly accurate and subtle descriptions of how things really exist. Moving through the four schools of Buddhist tenets, each one more profound than the previous one, we come closer to a correct perception of the nature of things. And we may see that our view of reality can be biased and incorrect, keeping us stuck in a cycle of dissatisfaction and suffering.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama advises that Buddhists should engage in three levels of practice – study, contemplation, and meditation. The study of tenets provides a strong foundation in study so that we can progress to a more direct understanding of emptiness gained through contemplation and meditation. This direct experience is what leads to profound changes in our life, especially when concern for others is kept close to our hearts.
Resident teacher Geshe Tenley will teach Tenets for eight weeks - two weeks for each school. The schools in order of complexity are:
1. Great Exposition School (Vaibashika)
2. Sutra School (Sautrantika)
3. Mind –Only School (Cittamatra)
4. Middle Way School (Madhyamika)
The root text is PRESENTATION of TENETS by Venerable Manjushri Chokyi Gyaltsen. Translated from the Tibetan by Ven. Sangye Khadro (Kathleen McDonald)
Geshe-la will spend two weeks on each tenet although not covering the text word by word. He has advised us that “any student who is interested in taking the class should read through the relevant section two or three times ahead of class and bring questions to class. This way they will get the most out of class.”
The Vaibashika School section is on pages 1-5.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in receiving commentaries on the root text.
We hope you can join us.
Geshe Tenley is the Resident Teacher at Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies. He was ordained by the late Gyume Khensur Geshe Urgyen Tseten Rinpoche in 1990 and began the program of studies to become a geshe at Sera Jey Monastic University. During the course of his studies, he has received many teachings from His Holiness the Dalai Lama as well as many other highly qualified masters. In 1998, he received his full ordination (gelong) vows from His Holiness and received his geshe degree in 2008. He began teaching at Kurukulla Center in 2005 and upon the advice of Lama Zopa Rinpoche was appointed Resident Teacher by the Kurukulla Center Board of Directors in 2010. Geshe Tenley is well-known for his approachability and kindheartedness. His extensive activities in the US and around the world bring great joy and benefit to everyone he meets.