This program is a series of three workshops:
- Sunday, May 5 – Developing the Mind: Samādhi
- Saturday, June 8 – Deepening Wisdom: Paññā
- Saturday, June 29 – Living with Integrity: Sīla
Join Buddhist scholar-practitioner Andrew Olendzki, and a group of committed practitioners, for an in-depth exploration of the Buddha’s path of awakening, the Noble Eight-Fold Path. Over the course of three day-long workshops, the “Integrated Practice Series” will focus on all three aspects of a balanced path of transformation – sīla, samādhi and paññā – and foster a thorough understanding of their relationship to each other.
In classical Buddhist tradition, the practice of meditation (samādhi) is inextricably linked to the practices of moral integrity (sīla) and wisdom (paññā). Meditation is meant to be supported by healthy ethical behavior and is intended to guide the practitioner to profound insights into the nature of experience.
Appropriate for both new and experienced meditators, each workshop will involve a close reading of key passages from the primary early Buddhists texts and will help ground one's meditation practice in its appropriate traditional context. There will be plenty of time for explanation, discussion and experiential investigation using both guided and unguided meditation. Everyone is welcome.
Developing the Mind: Samādhi (Sunday, May 5th)
This workshop focuses on samādhi—the various practices of meditation. When the mind can get free of its habitual restlessness and settle down upon a chosen object of attention, with some stability and tranquility, one can begin to see more clearly what is actually going on in the mind and body from moment to moment. This is a set of skills that can be learned, and the tradition teaches how to cultivate different practices for different circumstances. Topics we will investigate include:
- a detailed look at the classical instructions for establishing and maintaining mindfulness;
- a close investigation of the gradual stages of concentration and the development of equanimity;
- a review of some of the less-well-known descriptions of loving-kindness and related “limitless” practices; and
- an examination of the role of skillful effort in meditation.
Deepening Wisdom: Paññā (Saturday, June 8th)
Learning how to meditate, and how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy habits, is of great inherent value. But in classical Buddhist tradition, these practices are the precursors to the most important aspect of the path—the development of paññā or wisdom. This involves the cultivation of a series of specific insights, emerging from the close investigation of experience, that are ultimately transformative and provide access to deep and sustainable levels of well-being. Topics we will investigate include:
- understanding wisdom as a gradual and natural process;
- reviewing the obstacles to wisdom that need to be cleared away;
- accessing the core Buddhist insights of impermanence, suffering and non-self through meditative engagement with the stream of consciousness;
- a close examination of both the theory and the experience of non-self;
- an examination of interdependent origination; and
- a practical, accessible model of awakening.
Living with Integrity: Sīla (Saturday, June 29)
Sīla—ethical living and integrity—is the cornerstone upon which the entire Noble Eightfold Path is built. We look at how to live skillfully, understand and purify habitual patterns of behavior, and build a stable foundation of ethical action upon which progress in developing the mind and deepening wisdom can be supported and sustained. Topics we will investigate include:
- the importance of the practice of generosity, not as a form of financial remuneration but as a “gift of harmlessness” one gives to others;
- the basic principles of careful speech;
- understanding the distinction between healthy and unhealthy mental states and how to encourage one and abandon the other;
- harnessing the power of intention; and
- cultivating the quality of contentment.
Andrew Olendzki, PhD, is a Buddhist scholar, teacher, and writer living in Amherst, MA. Trained at Lancaster University (UK), the University of Sri Lanka (Perediniya), and Harvard, he spent 25 years in Barre, MA in leadership roles, first at IMS and then at BCBS. He has taught at numerous New England colleges, was a senior scholar at the Mind & Life Institute working on the Mapping the Mind project and has been a longtime member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. Andrew has contributed chapters to many books on Buddhist psychology writes regularly for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and is the author of Unlimiting Mind: The Radically Experiential Psychology of Buddhism (Wisdom, 2010) and Untangling Self: A Buddhist Investigation of Who We Really Are (Wisdom, 2016). He is currently visiting Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies at Hampshire College, and has created a number of online courses as the senior scholar of the Integrated Dharma Institute (integrateddharmainstitute.org).