This course is a comprehensive and experiential investigation of the Buddhist teaching of dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda). By exploring contact, attention, feeling-tone, perception, and intention, we will examine how consciousness relates to the experience of the self, the body, and the world. Martine Batchelor will lead a progressive investigation into how to refine attention to recognize more clearly how we perceive objects in our interior and exterior worlds, create meaning, take action as a result of our perceptions, and with discernment, reduce suffering (dukkha) for ourselves and others.
Judson Brewer will build upon this investigation by exploring the parallels between dependent origination and modern-day theories underlying reinforcement learning with a particular emphasis on how unskillful behaviors arises, the sense of self is experienced, and how knowledge and wisdom can be developed through direct experience of feeling tone, craving and clinging.
Building on Martine and Judson’s framework, Anurag Gupta will lead an experiential process to investigate how feeling tone relates to concepts of identity – particularly race and ethnicity – by way of experiential meditations on how racial biases are formed, journaling exercises to discern how these biases touch different aspects of one’s experience, and small group discussions to recognize and deepen shared insights.
To recognize how the teachings of dependent origination can be investigated in one’s meditative practice; to more clearly discern how our perceptions inform our behavior and sense of self; to understand the parallels between dependent origination and modern day theories of reinforcement learning; and to understand how feeling tone relates to identity formation and the arising of bias.
Noble Silence and Mindful Speech:
Noble silence will be observed for the first two days of the program. The last two days of the course will include a combination of noble silence and mindful speech with some periods devoted to intentional discussion and other times for informal speech.
Suitable for both beginning and experienced practitioners.