You can participate in person or via Zoom (see below). Registration not required.
Geshe Tenley will lead us in an exploration of Tenets which 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. He will teach this topic for sixteen weeks, four weeks for each of the schools, although not covering the text word by word.
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.
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)
Tonight’s class will follow a debate format where students will defend their position on a homework assignment given last week. Although not a formal debate session, this will be a great opportunity to learn more about how Tibetan Buddhist schools develop critical thinking skills which deepen understanding and mastery of complex topics.
To access the Virtual Classroom join the Zoom Meeting on your cell phone (iPhone and Android devices) or computer:
Zoom URL: https://zoom.us/j/117525300?pwd=dkQ5MTk0Y1pKVmI1T2V4UkZsMFVNdz09
Or, dial in on any phone:
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
Enter the Meeting ID when prompted: 117 525 300
Enter the Meeting Passcode when prompted: 328509
If you’re asked for a Participant ID, just press #