Sati Center: Sutta Study, The Discourse on the Buddha’s Last Days with Gil Fronsdal

Friday, January 21, 2011, 9:30am – 3:30pm

The Discourse on the Buddha’s Last Days: One of the most important of the early Buddhist discourses is the one that narrates the last days of the Buddha’s life. Knowing his death is approaching the Buddha gives some of his most significant and direct teachings.

Sati Center: Learning from the Ancient Buddhist Nuns – Buddhist Teachings in the Therigatha with Nona Olivia

Saturday, January 15, 2011, 9am to 4:30pm

The Therigatha, or the Verses of the Nuns, is the oldest collection of teachings from Buddhist women teachers. The verses give important insight into the lives of the nuns who lived at the time of the Buddha. In this daylong class we will examine how the verses reveal the close relationships among these early nuns. We will focus closely on the verses which reveal how the nuns taught the Buddha’s teachings to each other. As part of the day we will examine the relevance of these teachings today.

Nona Olivia has been practicing meditation for some 40 years, during which time she raised her children and became a grandmother. Deeply involved in the Insight Meditation tradition of Theravada Buddhism, Nona graduated from Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s first Dedicated Practitioner Program and is a Lay Buddhist Minister, ordained by Gil Fronsdal. Nona practices with and is very inspired by the monastics in the tradition of Ajahn Chah. She holds a PhD from Brown University and teaches at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Sati Center: Dependent Origination with Leigh Brasington

Saturday, March 19, 2011, 9am to 5pm

“He who sees dependent origination sees the Dhamma; he who sees the Dhamma sees dependent origination.” Majjhima Nikaya 28. The teachings on the interdependence of phenomena are the heart of the Buddha’s wisdom teachings. Dependent origination is often described as a chain of 12 links – which we will look at in detail. But it also has many other important implications which we will also discuss.

Leigh Brasington has been practicing meditation since 1985 and is the senior American student of the late Ven. Ayya Khema. She confirmed his practice and requested that he begin teaching. Leigh assisted Ven. Ayya Khema starting in 1994, and has been leading retreats on his own since 1997. He retired from software engineering in late 2008 and has been practicing at the Forest Refuge long term retreat center when not on the road teaching in North America and Europe. Visit Leigh’s web site at http://leighb.com

Sati Center: The Dhammapada – with Tony Bernhard

Investigating the Best Known Collection of the Buddha’s Teachings

Saturday, December 4, 2010, 9am to 4pm

The Dhammapada may well be the most widely read and most beloved collection of Buddhist scriptures presenting wisdom through vivid, poetic imagery and often blunt contrast. Its lesson goes to the heart of the Buddha’s teachings. During this daylong contemplation and investigation of the Dhammapada verses, we will examine both their scope and structure and explore some of the most challenging of the Buddha’s instructions. The primary translation used will be Gil Fronsdal’s. As one of Spirit Rock’s community dharma leaders, Tony hosts sitting groups in Davis and periodically teaches around the bay area and central valley. Tony’s practice is guided by study of the Pali scriptures (in translation!) and by contemporary scholarship of these texts.

Sati Center: Compassionate Vision, Conscientious Action, with Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

A Benefit for Buddhist Global Relief

Saturday, October 30, 9am to 5pm

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi will lead a daylong program exploring traditional and contemporary approaches to Socially Applied Buddhism. Caring for oneself while caring for others is at the heart of the Buddha’s teachings. How we can best do this in our present-day world is a deeply challenging question with profound ramifications. Bhante will explore the canonical roots of Socially Applied Buddhism, with texts and discussion. He will develop a model aimed at articulating a postmodern integral understanding of Buddhism and explore corresponding approaches to Buddhist practice and sacred activism. He will also highlight the work of Buddhist Global Relief, a non-profit organization he founded in 2008, which has launched over fifteen projects in South, Southeast, and Central Asia; in Africa; and here in the U.S. Born and raised in New York City, Bhikkhu Bodhi lived as a monk in Sri Lanka for almost twenty-four years, eighteen of them as the editor for the Buddhist Publication Society in Kandy. He now lives at Chuang Yen Monastery near Carmel, New York. Ven. Bodhi has many important publications to his credit, either as author, translator, or editor, including The Middle Length

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Sati Center: Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program, Taught by Jennifer Block, Gil Fronsdal, Paul Haller and guest teachers

One Friday a month starting September 17.

A year-long training in Buddhist chaplaincy and spiritual care-giving oriented to Buddhist practitioners with at least four years of committed practice. Its aim is to provide a strong foundation in Buddhist chaplaincy for volunteer chaplains, those working toward being professional chaplaincy, and those serving the pastoral needs of their local sanghas. Information at www.sati.org, or karuna@sati.org.

Class dates: September 17, October 16, November 19, December 10, January 14, February 11, March 11, April 9, May 20, June 17, July 15, 2011

Sati Center: The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching with Richard Shankman

A Day of Sutta Study on the Buddha’s First Three Discourses

Friday, August 6, 9am to 5pm

The entirety of the Buddha’s teaching is encapsulated in the first three discourses he delivered after his enlightenment. In this day of study we will cover all three suttas in detail, exploring how they weave together to inform each other and create a complete description of Dharma teaching and practice.

Richard Shankman has been a meditator since 1970 and teaches at dharma centers and groups throughout the Bay Area. He is a co-founder of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies and the Community Partnership for Mindfulness in Education, and the author of The Experience of Samadhi: An In-Depth Investigation of Buddhist Meditation.

Sati Center: Deconstructing Buddhism with Stephen Batchelor

Saturday, March 20, 9am to 5pm

Based on an examination of early discourses found in the Buddhist Pali Canon, we will explore the question: “What did the Buddha teach that was distinctively and originally his own?” By differentiating the Buddha’s Dhamma from the ideas of Indian religion and metaphysics that prevailed at his time we will seek to uncover a clearer sense of the Buddha’s message and then consider what relevance it still has for people living in the modern world. The day will be divided between talks, sitting meditation and discussion.

Stephen Batchelor was a Buddhist monk in the Tibetan and Korean Zen traditions. Known for his secular and agnostic approach, he teaches Buddhist meditation and philosophy worldwide. Author of the bestselling Buddhism without Beliefs, his most recent publication is Confession of a Buddhist Atheist.

Sati Center: Sutta Study – The Supreme Net Taught by Andrea Fella

Friday, April 30, 9:30am to 1pm

During this class we will study the Brahmajala Sutta, the first discourse from the Digha Nikaya. In this profound discourse, the Buddha describes sixty-two speculative views about the nature of the self and the world. All these speculative views are shown to lead away from freedom; the Buddha points to the craving and agitation that underlie them. Finally, the Buddha teaches the way out of the net of speculative views through the development of wisdom. A translation of this sutta can be found online at: http://www.knowbuddhism.info/2009/01/what-teaching-is-not-brahmajala-sutta.html

Sati Center: Union of Mindfulness & Concentration Daylong with Thanissaro Bikkhu

Saturday, April 17, 9am to 5pm

Right mindfulness and right concentration, together with right effort, form the concentration-aggregate of the noble eightfold path. Although these factors are often discussed separately, the Pali discourses show that the Buddha meant for them to form a unified practice. This course—through talks, readings, discussions, and meditation—will explore what these factors means and how they can be brought together in a mutually supportive and nourishing way.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff) is an American monk of the Thai forest tradition. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1971 with a degree in European Intellectual History, he studied meditation under Ajaan Fuang Jotiko in Thailand, himself a student of the late Ajaan Lee, and ordained in 1976. In 1991 he traveled to the hills of San Diego County, USA, where he helped establish Metta Forest Monastery, where he is the abbot. He is a prolific writer and translator. Many of his works can be found online at www.accesstoinsight.org.

Bringing the Dharma to Prison: An introduction to offering meditation, chaplaincy and Buddhist practice in prisons and jail with Paul Haller and Jacques Verduin

Friday, January 29, 2010 9:30am to 4:30pm

What does it mean to ‘leave prison before you get out’? What are the greater implications of teaching the experience of freedom not just as the other side of the gate but rather as a state of mind? This day-long training features two dedicated professionals that aim to share many years of service in the trenches of our prison system. The teaching will address both specific questions related to Buddhist practice as well as how the dharma can be languaged and applied in practical ways to honor everyone’s religious understanding. There will be sharing of what language is conducive to teach meditation in prison, examples of exercises and discussion of prison related hindrances to practice. There will be opportunity to assemble a toolkit of useful applications of how the dharma informs violence prevention, skillful communication and conflict resolution.

Paul Haller is a Zen Priest Co-Abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center. He was the head of Zen Center’s outreach program and has spent many years teaching meditation in prisons. He is on faculty at the Zen Hospice Project and at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies.

Jacques Verduin is the founder and director

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Sati Center Sutta Study: Fruits of the Contemplative Life Taught by Gil Fronsdal

Friday, January 15, 9:30am to 1pm

This morning class will offer an in-depth study of an important discourse by the Buddha. In a dramatic narrative context, a king asks the Buddha about what benefits come from the religious life. The Buddha responds by describing the stages of Buddhist practice. The sutta is the second discourse in Long Discourses. A translation can be found online at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.02.0.than.html.