Dharma Book Study Group
Sundays Starting Sept. 11, 2016
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Drop In’s Welcome. Suggested Donation: $10
In the translations of Buddhist literature the word dharma is left untranslated and spelled with both an initial upper case “Dharma” and a lower case “dharma.” The term “Dharma” refers to the teachings of the Buddha or any spiritual teaching. The term “dharma” can be translated as phenomena, or all the elements that constitute what we think of as reality. This relationship between the two dharmas can be taken to mean that a spiritual practice, Dharma, is about how to make our everyday life a spiritual endeavor, indeed, how to understand the nature of phenomena, the dharma.
So our Dharma Book Study Group will read and examine literature that presents the Dharma in a way that relates to our lived lives. We use the phrase “read and examine” because we are not reading books for truth as much for insight about the nature of our lives in particular and human experience in general. So we read and question the texts to gain knowledge and understanding of things that can bring about a greater flourishing of our lives.
When we gather for a book discussion we always begin with a brief period of meditation. This helps to calm the mind and prepare us to engage the text with mindfulness. Mindfulness is at the core of making one’s life a spiritual practice. Mindful living brings into awareness a closer understanding of how one is living their life. Small details and larger patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior come into sharper focus. We truly begin to know ourselves. Meditation practice prepares the mind in calmness and attention. These two are core practices for a more flourishing life.
Studying texts written by experienced and advanced practitioners is a powerful way to develop and understanding of the purposes of of life as a spiritual practice. These authors are deeply committed to their practice and compassionately take the time to write and prepare these texts for our benefit. We accept that compassionate effort with gratitude as we engage a variety of books from which we can learn to become more compassionate and ethical people in a time of great need for these qualities.