Unit 1: What is Dependent Arising?
We begin with an overview of the teaching and its central place in Buddhist philosophy.
Unit 2: Ignorance and Formations
After exploring some of the alternative versions of dependent arising, we examine the first two links in a 12-link chain of conditionality: ignorance and formations. According to the Buddha it is through fundamental ignorance of the way things really are that our mental habits come into existence.
Unit 3: From Consciousness to the Six Senses
Now we see how formations, having arisen, become known to us: through a conscious mind that perceives and identifies objects and mental phenomena, and our sense organs that detect their attributes. If we can get clear about this it allows us to have a certain objectivity around what happens to us.
Unit 4: From Contact to Becoming
This middle section is arguably the main piece. It's where much of the practice happens. With mindfulness we can notice sensory contact, its feeling tone, and the tendency to crave, grasp, and cling, resulting in the urge to bring something into being. We see the desirable stimulus, it feels good, we crave it or want to preserve it, and suddenly we've acted upon that craving. Or perhaps we observed this process with wisdom and mindfulness, and a wholesome state begins taking shape within the mind.
Unit 5: Birth and Unsatisfactoriness
Now we experience the consequences—good and bad—of this process: the fruits of karma. Even if we haven't managed to engage mindfulness and wisdom until this stage in the cycle there is much to be learned from the arising and passing of phenomena. We can also witness the unsatisfactoriness that ultimately accompanies all conditioned phenomena, and so incline towards a peaceful way of being.
In this section, Stephen and John will also look at how the genius of Nagarjuna and Tsongkhapa later developed this teaching and expanded on the concept of emptiness.
Unit 6: The Experience of Freedom
Finally, we look at the teaching of transcendent dependent arising and effective strategies for unbinding ourselves from difficulty and struggle. The teachers will bring the practical and contemplative focus of this course right into the heart of our lives.
Reviews from Students of the Course
This was a profound learning experience. The teachers shared their own return over and over to Dependent Arising, as a mark of this teachings great core importance. This made the course come alive, their process of learning gave me hope that this truly is a teaching I can engage deeply. There was so much support through the teacher's depth of knowledge, and openness. The course was structured with the talks being excellent and focused; the modules unfolded with written summaries of each talk available for review. The greatest gift from this course is feeling I can work with this teaching and begin an ongoing exploration of Dependent Arising; the gentle confidence is there. This is a remarkable gift, deep bows to the teachers. My heart is full of appreciation.
Brilliant and knowledgeable teachers make a complex teaching accessible and relevant to our lives today. I am so grateful to Christina, Akincano, John and Stephen for taking the time and care to share their deep understanding of this valuable and continuously relevant foundational Buddhist teaching.
This is a fantastic course, taught by four deep thinkers of the dharma. The way they explored this profound teaching is priceless. I've learned a great deal and deeply moved to put the teaching into practice.
The course, Dependent Arising, is at the onset overwhelming. Each unit is underpinned with the wisdom of the sutras and the down to earth applications in daily life. I will be returning to this course many times as I work with opening my heart to letting go of habitual tendencies and letting in more ease, peace and freedom. May it be so…
The clarity, warmth, and energy these teachers bring and encourage on this course is so often a joy to experience- and it certainly helped to untangle my trepidations and continuing efforts on the path of living.
This course on a pithy topic with teachers well reversed in the dharma and their respective fields was well worth my investment of time and money. The teachers are clear and engaging, the discussions thought-provoking and the supplemental resources allow easily for continued study.