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An Introduction to a Thoroughly Relational Dharma

Online Program
Dates: Nov 10, 2024 - Nov 24, 2024

Instructor(s): Gregory Kramer

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Program Description:

Gregory Kramer will be offering a three-session series of talk and practice sessions on relational Dharma. This series will introduce what he means by relational Dharma and why it is critical to our present efforts to address personal, relational, and global suffering. Humans are sensitive beings and we have a particular sensitivity to other humans. In the feedback loop set up by human contact, this sensitivity creates a relational multiplier effect that accelerates, amplifies and sustains mind states and actions.

This power can go towards ill and towards good. Relational contact amplifies suffering and meditative qualities, delusion and insight. It can turn aversion to war, lust to abuse, delusion to injustice. Ignorance of our relational nature and its power is at the root of this suffering and harm. This ignorance manifests individually, in relationships, and in society. We need to increase relational wisdom any way we can.

The Dharma can aim relational power towards the good. Because human beings are intrinsically relational, and the Buddha’s teachings emerge from the totality of human experience, then the Dharma must also be intrinsically relational. Why would the Buddha state that good friendship is "the whole of the holy life"? Why is sangha one of the Triple Gems, up there with Buddha and Dhamma? Why are relational meditation practices like Insight Dialogue so powerful?

Perhaps the answers to these questions can help us unify our aspirations for freedom from personal suffering and societal pain. Perhaps we can realize the nearness of wisdom and love.

We seek to revive the profound relationality of the Buddha’s transmission and evolve it to directly meet the hard problem of modern selfing and social fracture. This path needs the zeal, compassion, and intelligence of co-meditation, spiritual friendship and community. A fully relational Dharma helps us realize that a life of wisdom ripens into a life of love, and that a life of love is a path of wisdom.

We will begin an exploration of relational Dharma. This is practical and accessible to anyone willing to look closely at experience. Our investigation will speak directly to our lives in the here and now. Can we live a whole-life Dharma path without understanding how mutually sensitive and how interwoven we are?

Session 1: Overview of relational Dharma. What is relational Dharma? Why is it important? What is relational ignorance, suffering, and freedom?

Session 2: Overview of relatedness inherent in the foundational Dharma teachings.

Session 3: Overview of interpersonal practices of insight, love, and release.

*Sessions will include small-group practice in breakout rooms*

This program is co-sponsored with Gaia House.

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Any amount of previous experience with meditation.

Online Schedule:
This program is hosted on Zoom and closed captions are available. You can check the time of the group sessions in your timezone here: https://www.worldtimebuddy.com. The schedule of Zoom meetings for this program (shown in US Eastern Time) is as follows:

Meeting Time: Sundays, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET

Meeting Dates: November 10, 17, 24

Please note that sessions will be recorded and made available to participants within 48 hours of each session. Recordings remain available for two weeks from the program end date with the exception of one-time events, available indefinitely on our website.

Cancellation Policy:
Registration fees for all online programs are nonrefundable after the program start date. Cancellations prior to the program start date incur a $25 cancellation fee. Application-based and online Path programs incur a $100 cancellation fee.

As we work to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming. Please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.