The Buddha taught a path that leads to a powerful psychological transformation. Yet many people feel stuck in their spiritual practice. Why? Often it is a result of not understanding the gradual nature of the Buddhist path and then applying oneself in the wrong way.
In this course we will discuss the gradual training as presented by the Buddha in “The Shorter Sutta on the Elephant’s Footprint” (MN 27). We will carefully consider the gradual nature of the path and the implications of this, with special emphasis on getting the foundations right. The critical aspects are kindness and a clear vision of the nature of the world.
We will then consider in detail what is meant by right effort. Right effort is a deepening of the earlier stages of the path, being especially concerned with the skillful use of the mind. We will look at the power of wisdom in changing our mental habits and the downside of using will-power. The main guide for this part of the course will be “The Sutta on the Two Kinds of Thought” (MN 19).
Once the proper foundations are in place, meditation is engaged naturally and with ease. The path unfolds by itself because the mind is already leaning in the right direction. All you need to do is enjoy the extraordinary bliss and peace that are an integral part of the path, culminating in awakening itself.