December 3, 2013
Last Sunday we finished talking about the human condition and, for about the last ten minutes, began the topic of the Life of the Buddha. You may click HERE for the outline and readings on the new topic, and for the first audio file.
There will be no class this coming Sunday, December 8, because we’ve been displaced by the annual rohatsu sesshin, a major Zen retreat. We will meet the following week,on December 15, and hopefully maintain more continuity after that. Of course you are each invited to come out to the monastery to talk Dharma or about your individual practice almost any time. Just let me know by email: bhikkhu.cintita @ gmail.com.
November 23, 2013
Now that the “Robe Offering” season is over, I will foreseeably able to teach each Sunday right through the holidays. Although I expect physical attendance to suffer, I know you will be there in spirit, and that you be able to follow the audios on line. We will meet tomorrow, the next Sunday (in spite of Thanksgiving) and beyond. I expect to finish “The Human Condition” and begin “The Bringer of Light,” on the life of the Buddha, next week.
Kim points out that we will not be able to meet Sunday, December 8; the Zen Center has a one-week retreat including that day. We will meet December 1, 15, 22 and 29, foreseeably.
November 11, 2013
This Sunday’s class will be preempted by an robe offering (Katthina) ceremony at the Sitago Buddha Vihara. Please come to participate in a festive event and see where Bhante Cintita lives. The event is called a robe-offering ceremony. The schedule is:
- 11:00 Lunch offering to monks
- 11:30 Lunch for lay people
- 1:00 Katthina Ceremony in Dhamma Hall
- 2:00 Entertainment (Burmese music and dance)
Bhante will offer tours of the monastery, which is in many ways like a Buddhist theme park if you arrive well before 11. Ask around for “the American monk” if you have trouble locating him. There will be delicious food, mostly Burmese, great company, mostly Burmese, exotic entertainment and, oh, a traditional offering of robes to about 11 monks.
Location: 9001 Honeycomb Drive, SW Austin, off of 290. Find directions HERE.
October 25, 2013
Here are some photos from last Saturday’s event (to which you were all invited and a few came) at the Sitagu Buddha Vihara:
October 16, 2013
We will be unable to meet Sunday October 27, the week after next, because the Zen Center will hold a one-day retreat that day. The following week, including Sunday November 3, I will be in Florida for a Sangha ceremony at the Sitagu center in West Palm Beach. We will resume class on November 10.
On another topic, this is a well-researched site that will be of interest to all:
Fake Buddha Quotes
October 7, 2013
Participants in Words of the Buddha, friends and family are warmly invited to:
Texas Samgha Pavarana Ceremony
Saturday, Oct 19, 2013, 10am – 2pm
Sitagu Buddha Vihara, Austin, TX
For those who have not been out to the monastery, this will be a good opportunity to see our pagoda and have a look around in a festive atmosphere (generally it is pretty quiet out here). There will be wonderful food and company and a taste of Burmese cultural life. We are in SW Austin, off of Highway 290, about 4 miles west of the “Y.” Directions can be found HERE.
You may download a PDF of the official invitation HERE.
October 6, 2013
A number of people who have joined Words of the Buddha are just beginning their exploration of Dharma. In Words of the Buddha we undertake this exploration slowly, layer by layer, topic by topic. After about a year one should have a broad, deep and integrated understanding of the Dhamma. However most people would like at least a broad, superficial and sketchy understanding before that. I would recommend one of the following books, which in your initial flash of enthusiasm you should be able to knock off in about a week.
Ven. Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught. Written in the 50′s by a Sinhalese monk, this is a remarkably popular book to this day. You can probably even find it at Half-Price Books.
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness. Also by a Sinhalese monk, but turned American, this focuses on the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of practice.
Rupert Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism. By a British scholar of early Buddhism, this provides a well-rounded survey.
We meditate for 15 minutes at the beginning of each class. For those who would like some instruction I suggest coming to the Saturday morning beginners instruction at the Austin Zen Center or visiting me at the Sitagu monastery. The book on meditation is:
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English.
Bhante G., as he is called, is perhaps the most influential monk in America alongside Bhikkhu Bodhi.
September 28, 2013
Sunday, September 29. Please click HERE for the current reading assignment and a study guide. Also you will find audio files there as our discussion progresses. In general I anticipate that each topic will last about two weeks.
Next week will will move on to Topic 2: the Human Condition, pp. 19-40 in the book.
September 20, 2013
In the next weeks, September 22 and September29, we will begin anew the one-year course we have just completed based on the text In the Buddha’s Words by Bhikkhu Bodhi. We will start from the beginning of the book. If you follow this course diligently you will know a LOT about Buddhism this time next year.
This a good time for new people to join or for old to recommit themselves. This course will provide a deep and comprehensive introduction to the Buddha’s Dharma as found in the most ancient sources. It is intended to provide a foundational conceptual understanding to complement and guide one’s Buddhist life and practice, no matter what particular school of Buddhism one might already belong to. It is also appropriate for beginners or for the curious who are ready to plunge headlong into the wisdom of the Buddha.
This class meets on Sundays, 2:00 – 3:30pm at the Austin Zen Center. After a short meditation the facilitator introduces that week’s readings then invites questions and open discussion.
We ask that the student procure a copy of In the Buddha’s Words, keep up with the readings, and listen to the on-line audios of any missed classes. These requirements are a bit more rigorous than in the first round. I will use this blog for announcements and will post handouts.
I invite those who are unable to physically attend classes in Austin (perhaps you live in Borneo, for instance) to follow the course by accessing the materials and audios on-line (most people prefer videos these days, but I move around so little it doesn’t really matter in my case).
Also please let others know about this opportunity.
The updated syllabus can be found here. Follow the links on the right for more information.