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Liberation Park Study Course (2006)

1. The Four Noble Truths as the Structure of Buddha-Dhamma
2. Idappaccayata: Causality as the Heart of Buddha-Dhamma
3. Sunyata: Emptiness as the Essence of Buddha-Dhamma
4. Majjhima Patipada: The Middle Way of Life Without Dukkha
5. Atthangika Magga: The Noble Eightfold Path to Dukkha's End
6. Satipatthana: Holding Life in Mindfulness
7. Tisarana: Refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha


1. The Four Noble Truths as the Structure of Buddha-Dhamma

The Four Noble Truths provide a consistent organizing structure of the Buddha-Dhamma. Understanding how each teaching fits in with the Four Noble Truths will enable one to see how it fits with other teachings.

Further, the Four Noble Truths provide a simple tool for thinking in Buddhist terms. Anything can be investigated in terms of what? From where? Why? And How?

We will familiarize ourselves with various presentations of the ariyasacca and the meaning of the key terms. We will look into ways of applying it to different aspects and questions of our lives.

Santikaro's talk (MP3, 9.9 mb).

Sutta Readings

Sammaditthi Sutta (MN 9, MDB )

Nyanamoli-Bodhi | Thanissaro

Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (SN 56:11, CDB 1843ff) many translations, including ...

Nyanamoli | Piyadassi | Thanissaro

Mahasalayatanika Sutta (MN 149)

Thanissaro

Audio from Ajahn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (January 1989)

  1. Introduction to Understanding the Ariya-Sacca (part 1 | part 2)
  2. Meaning of "Ariya-Sacca" (part 1 | part 2)
  3. Noble Truth of Dukkha (part 1 | part 2)
  4. Noble Truth of Dukkha's Origin (part 1 | part 2)
  5. Noble Truth of Dukkha's Quenching (part 1 | part 2)
  6. The Path Leading to Dukkha's Quenching (part 1 | part 2)
  7. Concluding Facts About the Four Ariya-Sacca (part 1 | part 2)

The First Discourse of the Buddha by Dr. Rewata Dhamma

A translation of and commentary on the "Turning of the Dhamma Wheel Sutta" in which the Buddha firsts maps out the Middle Way, Noble Eightfold Path, and Four Noble Truths. Ven Rewata Dhamma, a Burmese teacher who lived in England for many years, follows the understanding of the Visuddhimagga and interprets these core teachings in the light of Burmese vipassana meditation. Wisdom Pulications, 1997, p. 128.

The Four Noble Truths by Ven Ajahn Sumedho

This booklet was compiled and edited from talks given by Venerable Ajahn Sumedho on the teaching of the Buddha: that the unhappiness of humanity can be overcome through spiritual means. The teaching is conveyed through the Buddha's Four Noble Truths, first expounded in 528 BC in the Deer Park at Sarnath near Varanasi, India and kept alive in the Buddhist world ever since. Available in PDF from BuddhaNet and from Amaravati (temporarily unavailable).

Extra credit: The Wings of Awakening (Part III, Chapter H on Right View)

This is a useful anthology with thought provoking commentary and some nontraditional translations. Well worth having in your library. Available at Access to Insight and from Dhamma Dana Publications.

Study Questions for this week


2. Idappaccayata: Causality as the Heart of Buddha-Dhamma

Suttas

SN 12.20 "Conditions" 1 (CDB 550ff ) AtoI version| SN 12.27 "Conditions" 2 (CDB 563f )

MN 56 Upali Sutta (MDB p. 485, section 18)

Audio from Ajahn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

1. The Particular Characteristics of Buddhism (July 1987)

2. The Particular Characteristics of Buddhism cont'd (July 1987)

3. The Dhammic Life that is Still a Secret (August 1991) [part 1 | part 2]

4. Bird's Eye View of Buddhism (April 1990) [part 1 | part 2]

5. Anapanasati is the Practice that Controls Dependent Origination (January 1991) [part 1 | part 2]

Mutual Causality in Buddhism & General Systems Theory by Joanna Macy

SUNY Press, 1991, p. 236.

The Wings of Awakening (Part III, Chapter H [Right View], Section iii)

Pages 300-301 and Sutta passages there referred are most useful.

This is a useful anthology with thought provoking commentary and some nontraditional translations. Well worth having in your library. Available at Access to Insight and from Dhamma Dana Publications.

Study Questions for this week


3. Sunyata: Emptiness as the Essence of Buddha-Dhamma

Suttas

Culasuññata Sutta: Shorter Discourse on Voidness (MN 121; MDB 965)

Mahasuññata Sutta: Greater Discourse on Voidness (MN 122; MDB 971)

Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (Wisdom)

The preeminent Theravada exposition of voidness by the Theravada teacher who has most consistently taught this "heart of Buddhism." Copies available at Liberation Park, online, and through bookstores.

Audio from Ajahn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

1. Everything is Anatta (August 1990)

2. Elements, Senses, & Aggregates (August 1990)

3. The Nine Vipassana Eyes (October 1990)

The Heart Sutra & Early Buddhism, Santikaro

A recent article showing parallels between one of the most beloved Mahayana Sutra and the Pali suttas of Early Buddhism (pdf file).

The Heart Sutra itself (pdf file).

Study Questions for this week

extra credit:

The Heart of Understanding, Thich Naht Hanh (Parallax)


4. Majjhima Patipada: The Middle Way of Life Without Dukkha

Mutual Causality in Buddhism & General Systems Theory by Joanna Macy, SUNY Press, 1991, p. 236.

Although we discussed this book during the second session, there is more to consider here. Please review Part 3 (Chapters 6-12) and consider the middle way within mutual causality (idappaccayata).

Suttas

Kaccayanagotta Sutta (on Right View) (SN XII.15; CDB i 544)

Ariyapariyesana Sutta, The Noble Search (MN 26; MDB 253)

Maha-Saccaka Sutta, The Longer Discourse to Saccaka (MN 36; MDB 332)

Lokayatika Sutta, The Cosmologist (SN XII.48; CDB i 584)

optional: Alagaddupama Sutta, The Water-Snake Simile (MN 22; MDB 224)


Audio from Ajahn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (September 1988)

1. Something You Don't Like Now, But Will Like Later

2. The Benefits of Atammayata


Study Questions for this week

extra credit:

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Shunryu Suzuki (Weatherhill)


5. Atthangika Magga: The Noble Eightfold Path to Dukkha's End

Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness, Bhante Gunaratana (Wisdom)

Straightforward explanation of the Noble Eightfold Path

Access to Insight: Follow This Link and navigate the site before, during, and after your reading of Bhante Gunaratana, to familiarize yourself with concepts and sutta references.

Audio: Ajahn Brahmali on The Noble Eightfold Path


Study Questions for this week


6. Satipatthana: Holding Life in Mindfulness

Satipatthana, Analayo (Windhorse)

Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante Gunaratana (Wisdom)


Suttas:

Mahasatipatthana Sutta: Greater Discourse on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (DN 22)

(note the text is identical to that of the Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10), except that the Majjhima version omits the exposition of the Four Noble Truths)

Sakunagghi Sutta: The Hawk (SN47:6)

Anapanasati Sutta: Mindfulness with Breathing (MN 118)


Study Questions for this week



7. Tisarana: Refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha

November 26: The Three Refuges

"Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent, Master Gotama! The Dhamma has been made clear in many ways by Master Gotama, as though he were turning upright what had been overthrown, revealing the hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, holding up a lamp in the darkness for those with eyes to see forms. We go to Master Gotama for refuge, and to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha of bhikkhus. From today let Master Gotama accept us as followers who have gone to him for refuge for life."

Transcription of talk by Venerable Sister Sundara

Suttas:

"Insight Surpasses All" (AN 9:20, abridged; PDF scanned, apologies for large size)

Anguttara Nikaya 8:39

Anguttara Nikaya 11:12

Audio by Ajahn Buddhadasa - to be posted after November 5th - please check back



Wisdom = Wisdom Publications = www.wisdompubs.org