Buddha Dharma Program Description
The Buddha Dharma Program is a four-year course of study designed to rigorously introduce serious students to the main points of Buddhism. The course is similar to the approach many in the monastic community follow. Original texts, translated into English, are used throughout the program. Projects and debate are included in the third and fourth years.
The course is presented as a tutorial. Lectures are held twice a month. Students are expected to meet with Lama Yeshe Jinpa monthly for darshan for further instruction. In addition, students are highly encouraged to form study groups to be able to learn together to meet the high demand of both the material and the pace of the course.
The Buddha Dharma Program is open only to Refuge students at Lion’s Roar Dharma Center. The four-year course began on July 1, 2019. Currently, the next start date is scheduled for January 2020.
First Year: View
The View is focused on the truth of our experience and topics of the nature of phenomenon, self, and mind. The first year will introduce students to dharma through original texts, classical discourse and reasoning, as well as an introduction to Buddhist logic. A new way of thinking will develop throughout the year, enhancing the student’s dharma practice and daily life. During the first year it is expected that students complete a text each month, as well as an essay and several short answer questions regarding that text.
Second Year: Meditation
Various types of meditation modalities such as shamatha, vipashyana, lojong, and mahamudra, will be introduced, as well as how to teach some meditation techniques to others, and further deepening the student’s own meditation practice. During the second year is it expected that students will complete more than one text each month, as well as an essay, short answer questions, and a log of meditations.
Third Year: Action—Precepts, Discipline, and Administration
This is a very important aspect of dharma study which is often overlooked – dharma in action. Students will participate in administrative projects, study vinaya – texts on precepts and community discipline, and conflict resolution. Projects will focus on how to run a temple and programs, where students will learn how to work within an organizational mandala. During the third year it is expected that students will complete a major project for the year and a long paper, as well as complete up to 10 texts with an essay and short answer questions for each.
Fourth Year: Conduct—Debate, Examination of Schools
Fourth year students will be expected to be able to have a clear understanding of nuances of different schools of Buddhist practice as approached from an unbiased point of view, or “rime” position. Debates are conducted based on memorized texts, so students will be expected to be able to thoroughly memorize a text to be able to complete the course. During the fourth year it is expected that students will completely memorize 1-2 texts, learn and participate in preliminary debates, complete up to 10 texts with an essay and short answer questions for each.