This online course offers an in-depth exploration of Mettā—the quality of loving kindness, goodwill, and friendliness towards all beings. We will study selections from the early discourses of the Buddha to consider the contexts in which, and the purposes for which, the Buddha taught mettā. Guided meditations will support the establishing and deepening of mettā meditation practice. Practical instructions introduce a wide range of approaches to mettā, including the use of phrases, imagery, traditional categories, boundless intention, systematic expansion, and spacious radiation. We will explore ways that mettā practices develop the mind, awakening factors, concentration, and insight. A variety of reflective exercises and discussion formats will help integrate our study of mettā into our daily lives.
Course Content: There will be a total of 9 topical learning modules which will include sutta and contemporary readings, recorded teachings and guided meditations, exercises, reflections, and discussion forums. Each module requires 3-4 hours to read and listen to the lesson material during the week long module period. Daily meditation practice is strongly encouraged. We will move through each module as a group, beginning and ending on the same date, although you will be working with the content at your own pace and the material will be open to you throughout the duration of the course.
Core Text: The recommended reading for this course is Wisdom Wide and Deep: A Practical Handbook for Mastering Jhana and Vipassana by Shaila Catherine (Wisdom Publications, 2011). If you do not already have a copy, you are encouraged to purchase this book in advance so that you may begin reading at your leisure prior to the beginning of the online course. It is available for purchase at the BCBS Online Bookstore. This text is recommended, but not required; pdfs of the required sections will be included in the course.
This course is co-sponsored by Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and Bodhi Courses.
Online Course: In addition to recorded course content, there will be 8 optional weekly Zoom meetings led by Shaila Catherine. These discussions will be recorded and shared within the course for the benefit of those unable to attend the live session. Therefore, meditators in any time zone may participate in this course.
The schedule of Zoom meetings for this course (shown in US Eastern Time) is as follows:
Meeting Schedule: Sundays, 1:00 - 3:00 PM EST, between February 7 and March 28. On Sundays February 21 and March 7 the calls will be at 8:00 - 10:00 PM EST instead of 1:00 PM. Calls will be between 90-120 minutes long.
Meeting Dates: February 7, 14, 21**, 28, March 7**, 14, 21, 28
Access to course material will begin on January 27, 2021. There are nine modules, each begins on a Monday and ends on a Sunday. The self-paced learning modules provide participants with busy schedules flexibility to complete assignments and explore the practices at their own pace.
Internet access is required. The audio talks and recorded guided meditations are streamed, not downloadable.
Registration fees for online courses are nonrefundable after the course start date. Cancellations prior to the start date of the course will incur a $50 admin fee. Thank you for your understanding.