As the process of aging brings us closer to our last breath, we may feel left in the dark with doubt and a lack of confidence in our minds and hearts: in the resolution of our quest for truth, happiness and freedom from suffering. This course will be guided by the logic, wisdom and compassion of the Buddha shining through the Kalama Sutta – which begins with the Buddha addressing confusion and doubt. He states that, “it is proper to doubt, to be uncertain, to question when uncertainty has arisen about that which is doubtful”. With this encouragement for free inquiry we will share the spirit of individual and group inquiry while considering ways we look for authority and truth outside of our own direct experience. We will engage in contemplations on our over-reliance upon beliefs, associations, attitudes, and habits that reinforce confusion and doubt. As well, we will shine the light of awareness on what the Buddha meant when he taught – “to know (to verify) for ourselves what is true” – specifically, in accordance with the distinction between that which is wholesome (leading to peace and freedom from suffering) and that which is unwholesome (leading away from peace and freedom from suffering). The schedule will include talks, large and small group discussions, and structured meditation periods practicing the sublime abodes as is indicated in the Kalama Sutta. Throughout the course the Buddha’s teachings on old age and death will be integrated into working with the Kalama Sutta.
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The Dharma of Aging: Carrying a Lamp into the Darkness
Days: Thu - Sun (3 Nights)
Instructor(s): DaeJa Napier
DaeJa Napier has been teaching vipassanā meditation in combination with the cultivation of the four brahma-vihāras for the last thirty years. She has trained in the Zen and vipassanā traditions with both Asian and Western teachers. Her emphasis has been on the cultivation of formal and informal practice in everyday life while she raised five children over the last forty years.