Contemplative Studies Program Blog
Live Classes Resume September 15 Sep 09, 2021

Life is exceedingly precious and fleeting, we must use every moment meaningfully to awaken for the benefit of others. In the second semester of our year-long course with Dr. Miles Neale and special guests, we will continue to extract the essence of the gradual path (lam rim) of Tibetan...

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Review of Steps 1-30 of Awakening in 30 Steps Aug 16, 2021

Part 1 of our Review Session reminds us of our methodology, combining study and reflection, with meditation and application to everyday life.

We refresh steps 1-14, ending in the first milestone of Renunciation.

Hopefully this review is helpful for those who have completed all the posts in our...

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The Perfection of Wisdom | Step 29 of Awakening in 30 Steps Aug 14, 2021

Definition of emptiness - The lack of inherent existence of the subject, object, and interaction.

The “lack” implies something we thought was there is not. Self-existence or independent existence is not there. And yet...things still arise, appear, and feel good or bad.

There is a...

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The Perfection of Concentration | Step 28 of Awakening in 30 Steps Aug 13, 2021

The ability to hold ones attention on an object, sustaining it indefinitely, at will, leading to an intense experience of bliss.

They say that concentration taken to its extreme can produce psychic abilities (siddhis) we would call extra sensory perceptions like clairvoyance.

There are also the...

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The Perfection of Perseverance | Step 27 of Awakening in 30 Steps Aug 12, 2021

We got this!

The journey of awakening is long, the suffering of living begins is vast to endure, without developing the virtue of perseverance what chance do we have? What has helped sustain you during the global pandemic? What well of good energy do you draw upon to start and sustain yourself...

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The Perfection of Patience | Step 26 of Awakening in 30 Steps Aug 11, 2021

1) The Patience of Not Reacting

See that people hurt us as a result of their karma - compassion See how we feel when others hurt us as our karma - renunciation Resist retaliation, which perpetuates cycles of violence. Find more karmically constructive ways to work with others who create harm =...

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The Perfection of Generosity | Step 24 of Awakening in 30 Steps Aug 09, 2021

Having established the altruistic intention, we move to the altruistic actions. These six modes of training build our capacity for optimal social engagement while at the same time cultivate the inner qualities leading to Buddhahood.

The Mahayana is the path of awakening through our social...

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Bodhichitta - the Altruistic Intention to Awaken for the Benefit of Others | Step 23 Aug 08, 2021

Congratulations!

You’ve made it to the second milestone of the journey!

How is your memorization going?

Based on strong love and compassion for others, and the view of our interdependence, we want to help, but recognize our own limitations. How can we ultimately help others awaken from...

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Exchanging Self & Other | Step 22 of Awakening in 30 Steps Aug 07, 2021

Get ready for an expresso shot!

I articulate Asanga’s ‘Seven Step Cause and Effect’ method for generating Bodhichitta and follow this up with Shantideva’s Four-points of Exchanging Self and Other” to show how Tsongkhapa stitched both methods together into his 11...

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Contemplate the Benefits of Altruism | Step 21 of Awakening in 30 Steps Aug 06, 2021

Overcome the negativity bias and conduct an inventory of all the success stories and expressions of human triumph.

Just as all social suffering has its origin in self-grasping in each of us, so too all examples of social flourishing have their roots in love and compassion.

Here’s the good...

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The Detriments of Self-grasping and Self Preoccupation | Step 20 of Awakening in 30 Steps Aug 05, 2021

Our compassion training combines both a wise mind and an open heart, analysis and emotion.

Here we take a deep dive to expose the root cause (mula klesha) of the myriad forms of suffering, ecological, social and personal.

Try to trace the chain link of events for the most extreme atrocities...

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Equalize Self and Other | Step 19 of Awakening in 30 Steps Aug 04, 2021

Reflect on the spectrum of superiority and inferiority.

Where do you put yourself, consciously and unconsciously, and how does this impact your relations with others?

What are the reinforcements in evolution, family systems, culture, and media that determine an imbalance between self and other?

...
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