Introduction to Buddhism
with Tracy Mclaughlin
Modern people who become interested in Buddhism can find concepts such as rebirth and karma challenging at first.
Such concepts may initially appear to be strange, outdated and of little relevance to modern society.
However, if we keep an open mind, listen to, discuss, contemplate on Venerable Geshe-la’s clear explanations, then we can gradually understand that these teachings of Buddha all arose from his deep understanding and experience Buddha’s teachings and the natures of ourselves, our minds and our worlds.
Through meditation, contemplation and putting these teachings into practice in our daily life, we can come to appreciate the value of these teachings and see that they are as relevant and beneficial to us today as they were 2,500 years ago when Buddha first taught them.
During this six week course we will explore some of the basic concepts of Kadampa Buddhist philosophy and practice as presented by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche in his books Introduction to Buddhism and How to Transform Your Life.
Week 1: Everybody has the potential to become a Buddha
- Who is Buddha?
- Who was Buddha Shakyamuni?
- What can modern people learn from him?
Week 2: Our mind does not come from our body
- What is our mind and where does it come from?
- What is the power of our mind?
- How can we increase our own mental peace?
Week 3: Training in clear and joyful meditation
- What is meditation and why is it beneficial?
- How do we learn to meditate?
- What does it mean to “train in the meditation break”?
Week 4: Our lives are the experience of an unenlightened mind
- What is meant by rebirth?
- What are samsara and nirvana?
- How can we control the process of rebirth?
Week 5: We are the sole creators of our own happiness and suffering
- What is meant by karma?
- What are the virtues, non-virtues and neutral actions?
- How can we create the causes for our future happiness?
Week 6: There is no guarantee that we will not die today
- Why is it beneficial to maintain an awareness of our own mortality?
- How is it possible to meditate on death with a joyful mind?
- How can we approach death without fear?
The general programme covers weekly classes, suitable for everyone, that are an ideal opportunity to take some time out, relax, refresh and improve our sense of inner peace and well-being.
The programme is aimed at helping us experience the benefits of meditation, and learn practical ways of maintaining a peaceful and positive mind in the midst of the challenges and busyness of everyday life.
The talks are drawn from Buddhist teachings but are relevant to all of us (Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike).
Classes start with a brief introduction, and a guided breathing meditation to help us relax and clear our minds. This is followed by a talk and time for questions. Then we do a second guided meditation, which is related to the teaching, and helps us take what we have learnt into our daily life.
Optional supplementary material:
If you would like to read the books this course is based on, they are available to read in the Amitabha Buddhist Centre library. Alternatively, they can be purchased from the Amitabha bookshop, or ordered online from Tharpa Australia. How to Transform your Life is also available to download as a free e-book.