The Foundation

#1 The Life of the Buddha - First, we need to get a feel for who
the Buddha was, his life, his teaching and their relevance to us today.

To read:
    Becoming Buddha - Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche - read
    Is Buddhism a Religion? - Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche - read
    Getting to Know The Buddha - Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche - read

To listen to:

#2 The Four Noble Truths - In the first teaching after the Buddha’s awakening, he taught the sweeping overview of the spiritual journey as The Four Noble Truths.  These truths describe: The truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering and the path.

To listen to:

#3 Turning Towards the Truth - The proper understanding of our life and the nature of reality opens up the spiritual life and inspires to tread that path.  This understanding has been taught as the ‘Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind to the Dharma’

To listen to:

#4 Taking Refuge - Inspired by the possibility of experiencing freedom in this life, we chose to enter the path fully.  Entering the path means placing our trust in the example of the Buddha and those who have gone before, their guidance, and in the community of fellow travelers.  In the Buddhist tradition, we enter by ‘Taking refuge in the Three Jewels’.

To read: “Taking Refuge” - by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche - read

To listen to:

#5 Meditation - The Buddha taught that when we tame our minds through the practice of Meditation, minds natural qualities of Wisdom, compassion and ability shine forth. Meditation carries us along the path.

To read: "The Four Foundations of Mindfulness Meditation" - by Chogyam Trungpa - read

To listen to:
    ‘Open Awareness’ meditation with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche - 15 min. - here

#6 Creating Our World - In order to liberate ourselves from the prison of confused existence, we need to understand how we create our world, how reality comes into being.  This illusory self is created through five stages (heaps, or skandhas).  Understanding how this confusion comes into being allows us to discover the keys to its cessation.

#7 Guidelines for living – Having entered the path fully, we engage in the activity of gathering the ‘two accumulations’ of merit and wisdom.  For 45 years after his enlightenment, the Buddha offered clear guidelines for creating a outer and inner life that will bring forth our innate wisdom nature.  These guidelines outline the practice of the ‘ten virtues of body, speech and mind’.

To listen to: (the accompanying handout - )

#8 Seeing Clearly -  The Buddha said that all things that we encounter are ‘sealed’ with four attributes or characteristics.  Relating to our world with the clarity offered by these truths dispels confusion and, consequently, brings peace.

To read: What Makes You a Buddhist? ~  Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche - read

To listen to: