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Entering the World of the Pali Canon

Online Program
Dates: Aug 03, 2023 - Aug 24, 2023

Instructor(s): Diana Clark, Kim Allen, Ying Chen, David Lorey

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Course Description:

Sometimes in Dharma talks we hear teachers refer to a sutta passage, or to “what the Buddha said,” or to “the Pali Canon.” What are they referring to? How can we find these passages ourselves and how do we know the Buddha even said these things? In this program, we’ll explore the three “baskets" of the Pali Canon with particular attention to the books containing the suttas. We’ll spend some time reviewing how to navigate the suttas themselves as well as placing the Pali Canon into a broad timeline of social and textual history that includes the later commentaries and other Buddhist schools. 

This program includes reading and discussing several texts, along with suggestions for ways to practice with texts as part of one’s spiritual path. Each session also includes meditation and small-group interactions. This program is suitable for people new to the Pali Canon as well as those more familiar with it.

The program is taught by four good friends and teachers who wish to share with others their love of studying the suttas and practicing together. They regularly teach study-and-practice programs together at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies as well as teaching individually at the Insight Meditation Center and the Insight Retreat Center in California.

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 Times: Thursdays 7:00-8:30 PM

Meeting Dates: August 3, 10, 17, 24

Please note that sessions will be recorded and will be available within 48 hours of each session for courses and 48 hours of the final session for retreats and events. These recordings are not downloadable. Retreat recordings will be available for 2 weeks and event recordings will be available indefinitely.

Cancellation Policy:
Registration fees for online programs are nonrefundable after the program start date. Cancellations prior to the program start date will incur a $25 cancellation fee. For intensive, application-based programs, the cancellation fee is $50.

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):
  • 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.

  • Kim Allen began meditating in 2003, seeking both a path out of suffering and the deeper truths of life. She has practiced in the US and Sri Lanka and was trained by Gil Fronsdal at the Insight Meditation Center. Engagement with the Pāli Canon and texts from other Buddhist traditions inform her practice and life, and she enjoys encouraging students to discover a life of Dharma. Her website is http://www.uncontrived.org. Link to full bio here.

  • Ying Chen took refuge to become a Buddhist with Venerable Ji Ru in graduate school. After graduating, Ying began her exploration of the Chinese Agamas and suttas in a Chinese Buddhist sangha. Since 2005 she has been practicing primarily at the Insight Meditation Center (IMC) under the guidance of Gil Fronsdal, is on the board of Sati Center, and teaches at Dharma Ground. The Pali Canon has been a source of inspiration for Ying’s practice and teachings. Link to full teacher bio.

  • David Lorey began meditating as a teenager in the 1970s, did intensive training in transcendental meditation, and then came to practice in the container of the Buddhadharma in the early 2000s. He explores the early teachings embedded in the textual tradition of the Pali canon for insights into practicing and living in accord with the Dharma. A student of Gil Fronsdal’s, David currently serves as president of the board of IMC.  He holds a Ph.D. in history. Link to full teacher bio.