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Buddhism Beyond Lists: Classical Teachings in Contemporary Lives

Online Program
Dates: Feb 28, 2024 - May 22, 2024

Instructor(s): Brian Lesage, Diana Clark

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Program Description:

This is a study and practice program exploring the teachings of Theravada traditions and making them relevant to our contemporary lives. This program is a three-month commitment to practice, study, and community. 

The topics that will be explored are:

Class 1 [Feb 28] – Introduction to the program

Class 2 [Mar 13] – Embodying sangha and understanding its importance 

Class 3 [Mar 27] – Historical and social contexts of contemporary Buddhism 

Class 4 [Apr 10] – What do you hold to be authoritative? – Uncovering assumptions about what we trust on the path of the dharma 

Class 5 [Apr 24] – Understanding the depth and dimensionality of devotion and ritual as contemporary practitioners 

Class 6 [May 8] – Self: Understanding the importance of a healthy sense of self and how it is embedded in classical Theravada teachings 

Class 7 [May 22] – Not-self: Understanding a commonly misunderstood teaching for our contemporary lives 

Components included (materials will be shared on the Canvas Online Learning platform):

  • Video presentations 
  • Self-reflection practices that include sharing written reflections with one’s small group 
  • Additional study material that will include readings and/or podcasts 
  • Live online gatherings with the teachers to deepen and explore the topics of each month 

Time commitment and participation expectation: 8 hours a month plus regular meditation (at least 30 minutes of Daily Meditation Practice – 5 days a week), two group meetings per month (2 hours each)


Two weeks of residential, teacher-led, silent insight meditation retreats and familiarity with foundational Buddhist teachings including:

  • Four Noble Truths
  • Eightfold Path
  • Brahmaviharas
  • Five Precepts
  • Four Foundations of Mindfulness

If you do not meet these prerequisites but are interested in joining the program, please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org describing what you plan to do to prepare for the program before registering.

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: Every other Wednesday 7:00-9:00 PM ET

Meeting Dates: February 28, March 13, 27, April 10, 24, May 8, 22

Please note that sessions will not be recorded.

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 $50 cancellation fee in 2023 and a $100 cancellation fee beginning 2024.

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.
    About the Instructor(s):
  • Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1988 and has taught meditation since 2000. He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. He was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996. His training in Vipassana Meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S. He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide.

  • Diana Clark teaches with an emphasis on both the beautiful and the practical. She has trained in the Theravada tradition, studies and teaches about the early Buddhist teachings found in the Pali Canon, and is the president of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies and on the Executive Committee of the Insight Retreat Center in California. Diana’s education includes a Ph.D. in biochemistry and a MA in Buddhist Studies. Link to full teacher bio.