Today in America, the practice meditation has gained a level of popularity unthinkable forty years ago. Meditation is being prescribed by psychologists, health professionals, athletic trainers, business consultants, and educators for to create mental calm and focus, peak performance, physical and mental health, and competitive success. There are a hundreds of books, teachers, and centers for meditative practice, and scientific studies are confirming the beneficial effects of meditation.
The roots of meditation come from within the world’s spiritual traditions and virtually every religion has some form of meditational practice. Buddhist-inspired meditations have names like Mindfulness, Samatha, Vipasyana, Tonglen, Metta, walking meditation, Lucid Dreaming, breathing meditation, and mantra meditation. Each of these meditations is based on the original teachings of the Buddha. Therefore, in order to for them to achieve their intended result, it is important for meditators to have a good understanding of essential principles and purposes upon which they are founded.
In this eight-week course, Ed Bastian will teach the foundational principles, theories, and practices of Buddhism. We will begin with the life story of the Buddha, his analysis of the nature of human existence, his path to enlightenment, and the central role of the meditation for removing the causes – not just the symptoms – of unhappiness and ill health. The course will be structured around the Buddha’s most fundamental teachings called The Four Noble Truths: • the Truth of Suffering, • the Truth of the Cause of Suffering, • the Truth of Cessation, and • the Truth of the Path leading to Nirvana and Enlightenment.
Each class will include teaching, group dialog, journaling, and meditation. In preparation for each class, we will read brief selections of ancient scriptures and practice one of the earliest recorded forms of meditation taught by the Buddha that is the foundation for many modern Buddhist meditations.
Students are asked to purchase this little book for the course: “What the Buddha Taught,” by Wapola Rahula. A special class website will provide additional brief readings as well as a forum for discussions on the topics of each class.
The course will be taught be Dr. Ed Bastian, President of the Spiritual Paths Institute. For the past ten years, Ed has brought together teachers of meditation from many religions to share and teach the purposes, techniques, experiences, and benefits of meditation from their respective traditions. Ed’s holds a P.h.D. in Buddhist studies and over the past forty years has studied, practiced, and collaborated with teachers representing many lineages of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. Click here to learn more about Ed.