Compassion stands unrivaled as the most potent force for good. How can we integrate compassion as a foundational element of our daily lives? And how can we channel the immense force of compassion, building upon our knowledge of the practice of "exchanging self & others" and tonglen? During this course we will learn to deepen and strengthen our practice of compassion. We'll embark on a transformative journey, redirecting our lifelong habit of self-cherishing towards a greater appreciation and cherishing of others. Even though our lives until now have been spent cherishing ourselves at the expense of others, we can change. Using some meditations that will be new to many of us, and using the breath, we will boost the power of our exchanging self & others practice and our tonglen practice. Combining and adding to these practices will move our personal transformations forward. It will soften and open our hearts. It will allow us to begin to live in a heart-centered way, led by our new and improved hearts rather than the whims of our selfishness and egos.
We have reached two of the most cherished meditation practices of our tradition, designed to help us develop a deep experience of compassion and love: exchanging self and others, and tonglen. Geshe Michael Roach will take us on a journey through this deep practice of Exchanging Self and Others. We will be learning from Pabongka Rinpoche’s “Gift of Liberation Thrust into the Palm of Your Hand” and exploring this meditation in all its detail. It is designed to quickly open your heart and help you find the edge of your limitations and break through to become a kinder, more compassionate, and also effective person in the world. This course is the 40th retreat and a continuation of our study of the Gift of Liberation Thrust into the Palm of Your Hand by Pabongka Rinpoche.
This second course of the ACI In-Depth Course Series presents the entire chapter on “the art of not getting angry,” or the chapter on patience (Chapter Six) from The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhisattvacaryvatra), by Master Shantideva (c. 700 AD). This course is meant to give much more detail on this subject than the related original ACI course, Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, Part Two (ACI Course XI), which covered somewhat less than half of this important chapter.
This third course of the ACI In-Depth Course Series presents the entire section on the practice of exchanging ourselves and others, which is a large part of the chapter on meditation (Chapter Eight) from The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life.
This last chapter of the great Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life teaches us, in the form of a beautiful prayer of dedication, what to do with our good mental seeds. We have to avoid violence to others, we have to try to burn the old bad seeds in our minds, but from time to time we have to celebrate all the good seeds we have.
This Course is the first in a three part series based upon A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life (Bodhisattvacharya Avatara) by Master Shantideva (700 AD), and the commentary Entry Point for Children of the Victorious Buddhas (Gyalse Juk-ngok) by Gyaltsab Je (1364-1432). Master Shantideva’s work is considered the best book ever written to learn how to live as a bodhisattva, and this is one of the most famous commentaries ever written; it has been translated into English for the first time for this course.
Topics include: an explanation of the perfection of patience, the perfection of joyful effort, and the perfection of meditative concentration; the results of anger; how to make a habit of not getting angry; how joyous effort supports the other five perfections; obstacles to joyous effort; obstacles to meditation; how selfishness produces pain; reasons to treat others as well as yourself; the source of all the world's pain; compassion as a prerequisite for successful meditative concentration; meditation as a prerequisite for wisdom; where you, your world, and all of your experiences come from; and Buddha nature. It is recommended that you study Part I prior to studying Part II.
Topics include: An explanation of the perfection of wisdom; the purpose and benefit of realizing emptiness; how to perceive emptiness directly; proofs of emptiness; the two types of emptiness; the emptiness of the body; the emptiness of the mind; the emptiness of feelings; the emptiness of functioning things; the emptiness of the three elements; wrong ideas about emptiness; the meaning of illusion; dependent origination; the two truths; the nature of ultimate reality; wrong ideas we have about existence; kinds of mental afflictions; the six steps which produce all the pain in the world; the five heaps; the three types of compassion; the importance of requesting blessings; the importance of dedicating good deeds; and how to reach nirvana and enlightenment. It is recommended that you study Parts I & II prior to studying Part III.
We thought it would be very helpful to create a collection of all the teachings and translations that Geshe Michael has done on Master Shantideva’s The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. So what you’ll fiind here are all the links to all the courses Geshe Michael has taught on this text. In addition, we’ve also made two PDF collections by combining all of the course materials and transcripts. The links to download those are at the bottom of the page. Geshe Michael Began teaching The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life in 1997 with the following three ACI courses: