Unit 1: Understanding the Seven Factors
Christina and Jaya begin by outlining the seven factors and explaining how they fit into the Buddha's teachings. We'll learn that this course is designed around the natural momentum of this sequence of seven wholesome mental factors. As we strengthen one factor, we may find that next in the series arises naturally.
Unit 2: Mindfulness
It's mindfulness that sets the sequence of awakening factors in motion. Additionally, the other awakening factors can all be seen as dimensions of mindfulness. So mindfulness is pivotal. We turn towards our experience and begin to deepen in acceptance and understanding. We stop rushing outside of ourselves with craving and reactivity and allow body, heart, and mind into awareness more fully. When this happens the awakening factors can come forward as natural, wise responses.
Unit 3: Investigation
When mindfulness is present we feel settled in the midst of experience. We become naturally curious. We notice what mind states are present and their results, we see the outcomes of our actions and habits. This is the awakening factor of investigation arising and it leads us to greater wisdom, freedom, and energy.
Unit 4: Energy
Through an interest in the mind and phenomena we start to feel energized. This can show up as a feeling of lightness in the body or mind. It can be persistence and effort, dedication. It can also refer to an increased willingness to be with our experience mindfully. Meditation can put us in touch with some beautiful and some very challenging experiences. This quality of persistence keeps us going even when the level of energy in the body and mind feels low.
Unit 5: Joy
It is through willingness to be with experience that we become appreciative, and so more sensitive to joy. We become grateful for moments in which there is no particular difficulty present. We find a deep-seated wonder that does not depend on outward conditions. We taste life wholeheartedly, and through this the mind, heart, and body feel refreshed and resourced.
Unit 6: Tranquility
The experience of joy has a settling effect on the mind and heart. We experience deep stillness even in the midst of a busy day. We relax the tendency to lean forward into the future or backwards into the past. We rest in the moment. Aware. At ease. This sense of quiet appreciation allows the heart to settle even more.
Unit 7: Unification
Calmed and soothed through abiding in tranquility, the mind begins to unify. Those parts of us that have been scattered by the sensory world, by busyness and distress, come back into coalescence. We begin to feel whole again, and to heal. Our intentionality and steadiness of mind returns. The mind becomes pliant and wieldy: well-suited to inquiry. We feel gathered and collected. A mind that's unified in this way is a gateway to liberating insight, to wisdom.
Unit 8: Equanimity
It's said that peace is the highest happiness. The fruit of wisdom, of liberating insight, is equanimity. And this is often understood to be the goal of the Buddhist path – nibbana itself. Life, by its nature, is uncertain and unreliable. But as our practice of the awakening factors gathers momentum we develop a deep understanding of ourselves and of change, and out of this understanding flowers equanimity. We cease clinging. The fires within cool. There is peace at last.
Praise for The Seven Factors of Awakening
This is the best course on Buddhism I have done. Excellent content but above all Christina and Jaya were inspirational. The way they explained ideas and related them to everyday life was wonderful. I am going through the course again. Thank you to you both.
I felt in very safe hands - the depth of knowledge and personal experience shared by both teachers shone through, illuminating the teachings and inspiring confidence.
This course exceeded my expectations. Christina and Jaya are stellar educators! I was so impressed with the organization, content, and pedagogy. While I was introduced to Buddhism years ago in college, this is my first formal course. It really was life-changing for me and I plan to continue taking more courses through Tricycle.
The course explained most of my questions about the Buddha and his philosophy. I loved the in-depth exploration of the seven factors of awakening and how to apply them to your daily life. I relished the meditations and keep using them to keep the teachings fresh and alive for me.
The material was presented in a very practical, easily comprehensible and friendly way highlighting the most important points. The guided meditations, discussion questions, inquiries and Q&A supported the content and made it come alive on a personal level.
I really appreciated the complementary approaches of the two teachers as well as the mix of presentation, meditation, reflection, etc. I took the course—my first—because of its focus on positive qualities, and it did not disappoint in that regard.
The presenters Jaya and Christina were fabulous in presenting the concepts in a clear and concise fashion, and the meditations and discussions were a perfect complement to the material.
This is my first time hearing Jaya and I was so happy to have signed up for this once I heard her and Christina. Both are fabulous, kind hearted, easily understood teachers.
Wonderful course, crafted with great care and offering so much depth and wisdom. I know I will return to the lessons again and again.
This course has clarified for me many things that have passed by quickly in the rest of my practice. I have a better understanding of how these seven skills can be applied to my life.