|The seven paramis developed in this course|
|Mindfulness||In this first parami, mindfulness, we're simply bringing more awareness to how we are in the dynamic of relationships.|
|Effort / Courage||It takes courage to look at our patterns and conditioning. We can also understand this as a quality of soft effort, of persistence, of interest in what's happening. We keep looking, we keep showing up with curiosity.|
|Generosity||In the parami of generosity, we're bringing in a different attitude: an attitude of open-mindedness and open-heartedness towards our patterning, towards our habits of relating. And this attitude supports us opening in the moment to where we are. It works in tandem with the first parami, mindfulness.|
|Ethics||Ethics involves exploring our foundational principles in relationship. Whatever our guiding principles may be, we act congruently with them.|
|Wisdom||Wisdom means bringing more discernment to where we take ourselves to be in relationship; more curiosity about self: who we take the self to be, who we take the other to be. It means questioning the tendency to put ourselves in boxes or freeze our ideas about ourselves and others. We bring attention to the emotional affect of these views. We build resilience amidst the challenging feelings that relationships can evoke and also appreciate the positive feelings relationships can evoke. Wisdom also includes the capacity to feel our way more fully into consciousness.|
|Patience||To inquire in this way, and to relax deeper into consciousness, we need patience. Patience is the parami that supports us to abide with our experience—a fuller connection with experience. We receive experience more fully into consciousness and listen beyond what we already know. With patience, perhaps we will find a response to a situation that's more closely aligned with what we deeply wish for in our relationships.|
|Skillful means||For the final parami, we will explore skillful means: how do we develop all of these paramis in our lives? What creative, appropriate methods will we discover for bringing them into our lives and the lives of others?|
Unit 1: Mindfulness & Effort
The various relationships in our lives are the stimulus for so many feelings, ripples of reactions, wants, and desires: the ways we are affected, the ways we feel we affect others. And mindfulness is like shining a light on the preoccupations of the mind. We see how the mind has certain automatic ways of responding to these stimuli. And that in itself immediately shifts the equation. Automatic ways of operating can only continue as long as they're below the threshold of consciousness. This is a soft kind of effort, which is already there as soon as we become interested in our experience, in how we're relating.
Unit 2: Generosity
In our second unit, we'll look at how the parami of generosity can really bring something to our relationships. We want to see generosity in relationships as giving time and space, cultivating open-minded awareness, bringing curiosity to relationships, exploring impermanence, and how really knowing impermanence can foster a generous outlook.
Unit 3: Ethics
The focus of this unit is ethics in relationships. We're attuning to our principles. This can be done with simple questions like, "What is true for me here? What feels right in this moment, for this situation, with this person?" And often that's a heart-centered knowing, not just an intellectual knowing—"wrong, good, bad"—but a sense knowing of what's appropriate, what's needed. This felt sense of attunement—an alignment to where we are, where the other is—becomes more accessible to us.
Unit 4: Wisdom
The parami of wisdom can clarify our relationships. We hear a lot about non-attachment but what does it mean for a practitioner of the dharma to have, to experience, to cultivate creative, wise love in all of our relationships? We will look at how understanding arises in relationships, how wisdom informs how we interact in daily life, how we might be stuck in certain roles, and how we become unstuck.
Unit 5: Patience
Laura will explore patience and reactivity in relationship. She will discuss the dilemmas we are confronted with in relationships, and how it feels to be impatient or not. We'll explore the potential to experience patience as a powerful, deep presence. Martine will examine the relationship between patience and effort. Patience is not resignation. It involves creatively engaging in a certain way: giving time and space to people and to oneself. An essential component of this is wise speech, something that the Buddha really emphasized to help us cultivate healthy, friendly, connected, respectful, responsible relationships.
Unit 6: Skillful Means
The final parami we want to explore is what's called "skillful means." Martine's teacher, Kusan Sunim, thought the paramis were an easier model model to use in daily life and so he suggested to the lay people that they cultivate a parami every day. In his tradition, there are six paramis, and so he would add a seventh: skillful means. Skillful means is about adapting and adjusting in our relationships with others; letting go of preconceptions and trying to meet the person in that moment, in direct experience. To respond skillfully we bring in and combine the other paramis of mindfulness, effort, generostiy, ethics, wisdom, and patience.
Praise for Embracing Impermanence and Imperfection with Martine Batchelor, Laura Bridgman, and Gavin Milne.
This course presents profound and complex insights in a way that is easy to absorb and practice. The teachers wisdom is thoughtfully and humbly presented, providing a workable model for my own practice.
This is a beautifully taught, well structured course that gives you new perspectives and practices (off and on the cushion). It breathes new life into your relationship with impermanence, imperfection and conditionality, even if you’re a long-term practitioner..
Amazing introduction to the often challenging subject of impermanence and change. Beautifully facilitated!