with Don Isaacson
starting on January 25, 2024
In this class we will study the seventh of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s series of books intended for Western and contemporary Asian students.
The Library of Wisdom and Compassion is a special multivolume series in which His Holiness the Dalai Lama shares the Buddha's teachings on the complete path to full awakening that he himself has practiced his entire life. The topics are arranged especially for people seeking practical spiritual advice and are peppered with the Dalai Lama's own unique outlook.
Assisted by his long-term disciple, the American nun Thubten Chodron, the Dalai Lama sets the context for practicing the Buddha's teachings in modern times and then unveils the path of wisdom and compassion that leads to a meaningful life and sense of personal fulfillment.
This series is an important bridge from introductory to profound topics for those seeking an in-depth explanation from a contemporary perspective.
In Searching for the Self the Dalai Lama leads us to delve deeply into the topic of the emptiness of inherent existence, presenting it from a variety of approaches while focusing on identifying our erroneous views and directing us to the actual mode of existence of all persons and phenomena.
Placing our study of reality within the auspicious context of a compassionate motivation to benefit all sentient beings, the Dalai Lama explains why realizing emptiness is important and what qualities are needed to do that, and he evaluates various tenet systems’ perspectives on this vast topic. He then helps us understand our perceptions and the mental states involved in both our ignorant and accurate cognitions. He examines inherent existence and other fantasized ways of existence that we seek to disprove through reasoned analysis and presents the Middle Way view that abandons all extremes. The closing chapters by Thubten Chodron discuss the three characteristics of impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not-self as explained in the Pali tradition and show how meditation on these can lead to the meditative breakthrough to realize nirvana.
Engaging in this investigation with His Holiness will challenge our deepest-held beliefs and uproot false ways of viewing ourselves and the world that are so habitual we don’t even notice them. Get ready to be challenged and intrigued, for realizing the nature of reality has the power to cut our defilements at the root and free us from cyclic existence forever!