Early Buddhism Study Group
- Sun Mar 21st 2021
- 4:00 pm
- 5:30 pm
- Booking not required
- Suggested donation £10
The Buddha lived all of two and a half thousand years ago. However, the writings of the Pali Canon offer us a window onto his words and his personality. Join us for study of these earliest Buddhist scriptures, exploring what message they might have for us in these unprecedented and uncertain times. We will start each session with a brief period of Pali chanting and meditation before we read and reflect on a sutta. Join us for an exploration of the very roots of the Buddhist tradition.
Next session: Sunday 12 December
In our next session we will pursue the theme of conditioned arising, probably the most important doctrine in the whole of Buddhism. I plan to provide some input on two relevant suttas before we have discussion, perhaps at a more experiential level, because this profound teaching is only to be fully realised in one’s experience. The links for the two suttas are as follows:
If you can look at these beforehand – great, but don’t worry if you don’t get the chance. You would be most welcome to join us.
Session 1 – 21 March
We’ll begin the series with the Kalama Sutta which can be accessed here: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.than.html
Session 2 – April 11
This coming session we will continue studying the Kalama sutta (available at https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.than.html) and, depending on time, possibly progress to the Bhaddakaratta sutta (available at https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ati/tipitaka/mn/mn.131.than.html)
Session 3 – May 16
After some chanting and a short period of meditation, we plan to study the Bhaddekaratta sutta, available at: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ati/tipitaka/mn/mn.131.than.html. As with the last session, the idea is for us to have read the sutta before the session so that we can have more time to discuss questions or topics that the sutta raises.’
Session 4 – June 27 (moved from 13 June as previously listed)
This coming session we will be studying the Anatta-lakkhana sutta (available here via Access to Insight). This is said to be the second of the Buddha’s discourses, suggestive of how central the teaching of non-self is in the Buddha’s teaching.
Session 5 – July 25
This week we will be studying the Angulimala sutta (available at Access to Insight). This sutta recounts the amazing story of Angulimala, a mass murderer who encounters the Buddha and changes his ways. He becomes a disciple and finally ‘experienced the bliss of release’. There is hope for us all! Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!
Session 6 – September 19
On our first session after the August break, we will be looking at the Karaniya Metta Sutta. This is a relatively short but beautiful evocation of loving-kindness, a central pillar of the Dharma life. The sutta suggests how universal the practice of loving-kindness can be – one that can take us all the way to awakening. Let’s see how far it takes us on Sunday.
You can access an English translation using this LINK. Please do give the text a good read beforehand and bring along any questions or points of interest you have on the day. Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday
Session 7 – October 24
Many of you will have experienced how, instead of seeing things objectively, a profusion of ideas may arise in the mind which obscures our ability to see things calmly and clearly. At its worst the mind can run riot with ill-founded, repetitive ideas which impact harmfully on our feelings and behaviour. The Pāli word for this mental proliferation is papañca.
The role of craving in producing suffering or dissatisfaction is a Buddhist axiom. Kaccāna, however, in the Madhupiṇḍika Sutta, provides an eloquent exposition of the dependent arising of cognition, and of the role of mental proliferation (papañca) in causing suffering and conflict. In our next session we will examine this sutta and how in meditation we can prevent papañca.
Session 8 – 14 November
This month we will look at teachings on the central Buddhist concept of emptiness and non-self, as presented in the Pali Canon. The later Mahayana literature places the theme of emptiness front and centre, as typified by the Heart Sutra. But what form does the theme take in the earlier teachings of the Buddha? We will explore this question through looking at early Buddhist texts such as the Suñña Sutta (SN 35.85) https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.085.than.html and the Kaccayanagotta Sutta (SN 12.15) https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.015.than.html.
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Meeting ID: 852 5775 9277
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Ratnadeva and Mitrananda