Explore Buddhism through the reading and discussion of essays taken from a variety of sources. This class continues the previous offerings of Blaine Snow and Bob Harris. Each class will discuss one essay that reveals or introduces something interesting about Buddhism in a broad global context. For February 11th, please download and read the Urs App essay so we're ready to discuss on that first day.
This preface from App's book presents the context of his historical presentation of the West's discovery and creation of Orientalism in the Age of Enlightenment, the 18th century. Buddhism plays and important role in the formation of the earliest conceptions of Asian thought in the West. This short preface is packed with fascinating insights into the first encounters between Asian and Western thought.
Cook is a scholar of the Avatamsaka Sutra, the massive compendium of Mahayana Buddhist writing that is really a collection of older sutras composed in India but brought together in a Chinese cultural context. In this essay, Cook examines the idea of "ultimate reality" from the standpoint of various strains of thought contained mostly in East Asian Mahayana Buddhism. This will prepare us for the next week's essay.
Jay Garfield is a leading scholar of Buddhism East and West. In this essay Garfield teams up with British logician-philosopher Graham Priest to explore the limits of (philosophical) thought in four ways - what can be expressed, what can be described, what can be conceived, and what can be counted or iterated (i.e. "infinity"). Referencing paradox and contradiction in both Buddhist and Western philosophy, they offer a formal scheme for characterizing human conceptions of ultimates: infinity, being, space, truth, etc.
We return to McMahan's book on Buddhist Modernism to reread chapter 1 and add chapter 2. McMahan's work reveals the many layers of inter-weaving that have occurred in the past 200 years of history between Asian and Western culture to create what we study and practice today, Buddhist Modernism, or the evolving shape of Western Buddhism.
, Week 5 - TBA
The last essay will be announced later.
Bob Harris - Fourth Saturday Talk
The Eight Great Bodhisattvas
Our local scholar Bob Harris will introduce these eight exemplary Bodhisattvas in the retinue of Buddha Shakyamuni. Perhaps you're familiar with some of them such as Manjushri and Avelokiteshvara, and this year Geshe Jamyang is teaching on Samantabhadra. Come and meet the rest of them!
Help at the Community Kitchen
Every Third Tuesday of the Month 2:30 - 4:45 pm and 5 - 6:30 pm
Feeding Those in Need
Join Nalanda members and others in cooking and serving dinner at Olympia's Community Kitchen on the Third Tuesday each month (Jan 22, Feb 18, etc.). Training is provided.
Gerry C is leading Nalanda's effort to support this enormous act of kindness. Please text or email if you want to sign up, schedule training, or to learn more 541-913-0631 or email to learn more.
2nd & 4th Mondays of the Month
THIS MONDAY PRACTICE WILL SWITCH TO THURSDAYS IN MARCH
Guru Yoga of Sapan Manjushri
Loppon Jamyang leads this Vajrayana practice on the second and fourth Mondays. If you attended the Guru Yoga 'combined blessing' given by HH the Sakya Trizin, bring your Guru Yoga sadhana and join us! If you did not receive the initiation, you are welcome to attend as a blessing and an introduction to Vajrayana.
To learn more about Vajrayana practice, here are two books we have recently studied at Nalanda:
Turning Confusion into Clarity by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (Snow Lion, about $25).
Tantra by Geshe Tashi Tsering (Wisdom Publications; volume 6 in The Foundations of Buddhist Thought, about $17). You might even want to read volumes 1-5 of this series before you jump directly into Tantra!
Beginning Guru Yoga is moving to Thursday Evenings after regular Thursay evening meditation & discussion.
New Format for Thursday Evening
starting March 5
Chanting, Meditation, and Discussion
Impermanence strikes again starting March 5. We are reconfiguring the regular Thursday evening practice to provide and encourage more contact with Geshe Jamyang. Note the earlier start time! You are welcome to come for any or all portions of this hybrid program. No obligation to say for the entire time. The earlier parts of the evening are appropriate for any level of student.
6:15 PM: greeting and socializing
6:30 - 7:30 PM: a senior meditator will introduce and lead a 1-hour session of refuge and aspiration, meditation (2x20 min), and dedication
7:30 - 8 PM: Geshe Jamyang joins us for discussion, Q&A, etc.
8:10 - 8:45 PM: Geshe Jamyang leads Guru Yoga of Sapan-Manjushri. Initiation required for full participation, but observers welcome. [Note the current Monday evening Guru Yoga will discontinue in March.]
Until March, we will continue the current group chanting, meditation, and discussion. So join us on Jan 30, Feb 13,20,27. Loppon Jamyang teaches or leads on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month. Other weeks are led by senior meditators.
1:30 - 3 pm
BOOK DISCUSSION on "Tantra"
This group tends to read classical texts or their commentaries, and is probably more accessible to those already familiar with traditional Buddhist thought. Sonam Dorje is guiding a reading Creation and Completion: Essential Points of Tantric Meditation by Jamgon Kongtrul, with a Commentary by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (Wisdom Publications). The book is available from Nalanda at $4-6 below the cover price. Contact Grace O, Jan V, or Bob S.
Every Saturday 10 - 11:30 am
Chenrezig and Green Tara Practices at Nalanda
Lama Lungrik leads a practice to transform our body, speech, and mind into the Dharma, the union of compassion and emptiness. Once a month closest to the full moon we do Green Tara practice, drawing closer to the action aspect of compassion. (This Green Tara practice is not the same as the Tara Circle that meets on 2nd Sundays.)
The Nalanda Study Group
1st & 3rd Saturday of the Month
1 - 3 pm
Come and try out this friendly ongoing book group, guided by Sonam Dorje. Each book will be discussed at alternate sessions. You may read either or both (and attend either 1st or 3rd Saturdays, or both as you choose). Typically the group reads aloud, then discusses, so it's low pressure. Books are not available through Nalanda.
1st Saturdays: The Sun of Wisdom by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, a commentary on Nagarjuna’s Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way.
3rd Saturdays: Being Nobody Going Nowhere by Ayya Khema, contemporary clear, practical instruction on meditation and techniques for overcoming counterproductive mental habits and beliefs in our daily lives.
Green Tara Group
2nd Sunday of each month
12:15 - 1:45 pm
Meditation, Music, Mantras, and Movement
The Tara Circle meets monthly on the second Sunday. The Tara Circle is a wonderful way to engage body, voice, and mind. Moving to recorded music, our Tara Circle learns hand mudras and movements to bring bliss and joy. We move then we 'sit' for 20 minutes.
This practice follows the second Sunday 'Long Sits'.
For information, contact Kim Abbey at 206-387-6134 (phone or text).
2nd Sunday of the Month
Are you curious to try out longer meditation sessions? Come to the monthly long sit, where the conditions are highly conducive to practice: you will be with other meditators and surrounded by a beautiful dharma center! Mark your calendar for the second Sunday each month.
Selected Teachings from Nalanda
Some of Geshe Jamyang Tsultrim's teachings on the first Thursday of each month as well as teachings from Nalanda's Retreats are now available online at Talks.
Mark Your Calendar
all day Celebration at Nalanda. Last year this was 9 am - 4 pm and a very lively program led by Geshe Jamyang. Take a day off from work -- you'll recall this event years from now when that workday is long forgotten!
A weekend in June, 2020: Nalanda Retreat The date will be determined by the travel schedule of our guest teacher, noted scholar Lama Jay Goldberg. Loppon Jamyang will assist, providing individual practice consultations. Plans so far are for a focus on Green Tara, including initiation by Lama Jay. Stay tuned.