The hinayana path is the foundation of the Buddhist teachings. To enter the path of Buddhist practice, one must start here. Based on training in mindfulness and awareness and in cultivating a deeper understanding of one’s own mind, the hinayana is what allows us to take delight in our everyday life just as it is. Through study and practice of these teachings, we develop the discipline to live with greater clarity and compassion.
Join Judy Lief, Buddhist teacher and editor of The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, for an online course that explores the first volume of this monumental work: The Path of Individual Liberation. Through video recorded during a nine-day retreat she led on the subject, Lief will guide us through the traditional hinayana teachings as taught by Chögyam Trungpa, the Tibetan Buddhist master who was largely responsible for making these teachings accessible and relevant for a Western audience.
In this course, you will:
- Learn shamatha (peaceful abiding) and vipashyana (insight) meditation techniques
- Explore what it means to be a dharmic person
- Study the three yanas (bodies of teachings) that comprise the Tibetan Buddhist path
- Explore essential Buddhist concepts such as the four noble truths
- Identify common obstacles to taming the mind as well as their antidotes
- Discover what it means to take refuge in the three jewels
- Learn about the four foundations of mindfulness
- Explore the meaning of “sacred world” from the Buddhist point of view
- Discover how settling the mind and sharpening awareness can lead toward an open heart
This course includes:
Nine video talks by Judith Lief—ranging from an hour to an hour-and-a-half in length—including Q&A, with transcripts and audio-only versions available
Two archival video talks by Chögyam Trungpa, with transcripts
Basic meditation instruction in both mindfulness and awareness practices
Contemplations to help you integrate the material into your daily life
A 50% discount on The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma by Chögyam Trungpa
A list of recommended readings from the book, The Path of Individual Liberation: The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma, Volume 1
Self-assessment quizzes at the end of each lesson to test your own understanding of the material
Unlimited access to the course
A version of this course will be made available this spring for dharma centers and study groups to explore these teachings in a group setting. If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
An Overview of What You’ll Learn:
Beginning at the Beginning
In this first lesson, Judy Lief presents basic meditation instruction and offers advice for relating to meditation practice through the duration of the course. She also offers context for the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa and introduces the qualities of hinayana discipline necessary to undertake meditation practice in earnest. In this lesson, we’ll also receive an overview of the three yanas, or vehicles, that make up the entire Buddhist path as outlined in The Profound Treasury.
This lesson provides an exploration of why we practice meditation and its implications on our life off the cushion. What makes it valuable? As part of this investigation, we’ll study the traits of a “dharmic person” as taught by Trungpa Rinpoche.
Discovering the Four Noble Truths
In this lesson, we’ll learn about the four noble truths, which are the foundation of the Buddhist teachings. We’ll investigate the causes of suffering and the many ways that suffering manifests in ourselves and the world around us. How does an understanding of suffering relate to the possibility of freedom from suffering? Finally, we’ll receive an overview of the five paths to liberation.
Working with Obstacles
What habitual patterns arise to interfere with our quest of becoming a more dharmic person? As it turns out, there are Buddhist teachings to address nearly all of them, which help turn our obstacles into fodder for the path. In this lesson, we’ll identify the most common obstacles to taming the mind, as well as their antidotes. You’ll have a chance to get in touch with the difficulties of your own practice and explore ways of working with them.
Making a Commitment
This week we’ll explore the notion of taking refuge in the three jewels of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the sangha—the formal entry point of becoming a Buddhist. We’ll also discuss the difference between theism and nontheism as they pertain to being a Buddhist.
Deepening Your Practice
In this lesson, we’ll become more subtle and refined in our meditation practice by contemplating the four foundations of mindfulness and connecting with the concept of “touch and go.” We will look at the different ways we watch ourselves in meditation and will discuss how we can apply effort in our practice without getting caught in a battle mentality.
What happens when the mind is settled in shamatha practice? In this lesson, we’ll experiment with extending our awareness into the practice of vipashyana, or clear seeing. We’ll go through the three stages of vipashyana and explore the notion of “sacred world.”
Cutting Through with Prajna
Prajna—what we define as “best insight” or “superior knowing”—comes into play as we sharpen our intelligence along the path. In this lesson we’ll discuss ego, egolessness, and how to distinguish between the two.
A Hint of Mahayana
In this final module of the course, we’ll get a glimpse of how the hinayana transitions into a broader path—the mahayana, or the path of the bodhisattva.
Judith L. Lief is a Buddhist teacher, writer, and editor. She was a close student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who empowered her as a teacher, and she has edited many of his books including The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma volumes and Milarepa. She was given the title of Acharya, or senior teacher, by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. Lief is also active in the field of death and dying, and is the author of Making Friends with Death.
Important Note on Browser Requirements
We are partnering with Instructure.com’s online learning platform Canvas to offer this course. Canvas supports the last two versions of every browser release.
Canvas supports the following versions of Flash and popular web browsers:
- Internet Explorer 11 and Edge
- Chrome 56 and 57
- Safari 9 and 10 (Macintosh only)
- Firefox 51 and 52 (Extended Releases are not supported)
- Flash 23 and 24 (used for recording or viewing audio/video and uploading files)
We highly recommend updating to the newest version of whatever browser you are using as well as the most up-to-date Flash plugin. If you cannot update your browser to one of the above versions, you will not be able to access this course. Some supported browsers may still produce a banner stating Your browser does not meet the minimum requirements for Canvas. If you have upgraded your browser but still see the warning banner, try logging out of Canvas and deleting your browser cookies.