One of the most common and important questions we as students of the dharma ask is, “How do we incorporate our practice into our high pressure, high tech, high risk lives?” In point of fact, our lives provide the perfect conditions for developing a deep and powerful practice. And with the Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, composed 1,300 years ago by the Indian poet-monk Master Shantideva, we have surprisingly up-to-date instructions on how to live sanely and openheartedly as spiritual warriors in 21st century America.
Formal Studies Course 11 is the second in a three part series based on Master Shantideva’s book. In it, we continue to explore the development of the bodhisattva ideal of all-inclusive compassion and unbiased wisdom through the contemplation of the third, fourth and fifth of what Buddhists refer to as the Six Perfections – the perfections of Patience, Joyous Effort and Meditative Concentration. We will learn to use the very conditions we consider obstacles to our practice to develop a life that is our practice. And we will set the stage for the contemplation of the last of the Perfections – that of Wisdom, the realizations that will eventually free us from all obstacles to the awakened mind.