Ignorance is the cause of suffering

The goal of the Rime Shedra is to make accessible the vast treasures of Buddhist wisdom to those who wish to progress further in their understanding of the profound principles presented in these advanced Buddhist texts. The understanding of the ultimate nature of reality is the key to liberation. For practitioners this program provides an opportunity to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the nature of reality.  For scholars it provides an opportunity to expand their understanding of Buddhism by cultivating an experiential understanding. The program is based upon the traditional Shedra, or monastic college, curriculum which is the cornerstone of Buddhist education in all of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

From Fright to Flight

In this course we will trace the development of Buddhist insight meditation from the earliest source texts through the manifestations in the Theravadin tradition and touch briefly on its transformation in the core Indiana Mahayana meditation tradition.

We will start with the most important Buddhist meditation text of all time, the Satipathanasutta and its presentation of the four foundations of mindfulness, the root practice for both Shamatha-vipashyana meditation and absorption or Dhyana meditation. Next will be the presentation of insight in the famous fifth century manual of Theravadin Buddhism, The Path of Purification or Visudhimagga, which expands upon the stages of insight within the scheme of the seven stages of purification. Then we will see how that tradition is transformed by the famous Burmese Buddhist renaissance master Mahasi Sayasaw in his classic The Progress of Insight. We will explore the tension between the two traditions of absorption meditation and insight meditation.

Finally we will touch briefly on the Mahayana presentation by Kamalashila'a in his famous meditation manual, Bhavanakrama or Stages of Meditation, which was written for the introduction of Buddhism it into Tibet in the eighth century.


Core Materials

  1. Source Book
  2. Handouts

Supplemental Materials

  1. "How to Do Analytical Meditation" from Center of the Sunlit Sky
  2. "Origins of Insight Meditation" by Lance Cousins
  3. Key Meditation Terms
  4. Three Approaches or Stages of the Meditation Technique
  5. Yogacara Samatha
  6. The Three Essential Points of Mahamudra Shamatha Without Support
  7. "Objects of Observation" by Leah Zahler
  8. "Jhanas as Buddha's Discovery from Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond" by Ajahn Brahm
  9. Kosha on Mindfulness of Breathing
  10. "Mental Factors" from Abhidhammattha Sangaha
  11. Excerpts from Practicing the Jhanas
  12. "Four Realms of Cittas" from Abhidhammattha Sangaha
  13. "Jhana Thought Process" from Serenity and Insight
  14. Excerpt from Practical Insight Meditation by Mahasi Sayadaw
  15. "The Buddha's Discovery" by Ajahn Brahm
  16. Excerpt from Controversies Surrounding Samadhi by Shankman
  17. "Interviews with Contemporary Meditation Teachers" from Experience of Samadhi by Shankman
  18. "The Path of Spiritual Progress" from Sarvastivada Abhidharma
  19. "Seven Stages of Purification" by Venerable Matara Sri Nanarama
  20. "Multiple Buddhist Modernisms" by Natalie Quli
  21. Readings on the Six Stages of Breath Meditation

Class Recordings

  1. April 13, 2010
  2. April 20, 2010
  3. April 27, 2010
  4. May 4, 2010
  5. May 11, 2010
  6. May 18, 2010
  7. May 25, 2010
  8. June 1, 2010
  9. June 8, 2010
  10. June 15, 2010