Includes The Adornment of the Middle Way by Shantarakshita, Year 4, with Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche & Shedra Primer with Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel
Imagine a diagram of confusion. One that shows in precise detail how we get confused, and simply by making this clear, starts us on the path of awakening from ignorance. The Middle Way, or Madhyamika philosophy, provides us with such a "diagram." Known for its powerful logical arguments, precise dissection of consciousness, and unique terminology, Madhyamika directly supports our path of practice. With this knowledge in hand, we can choose either to wake up, or to remain ignorant. Rinpoche touched on the transformative power of these teachings when he said at last year's Shedra, "We make ourselves so small, while we could be as expansive as enlightened nature itself. Wisdom is so available to us, yet we cling to our ordinary mind."
The first weekend of MSB Shedra begins with a "Shedra Primer" led by Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, Kongtrul Rinpoche's wife and most senior student. In the Shedra Primer Elizabeth's theme will be "Overcoming Spiritual Vagueness," a perfect match for the precision with which Madhyamika examines experience. Suitable for new and seasoned students, the Primer will provide a basic understanding of core shedra concepts, making the weekends that follow digestible even for beginners. At the same time Elizabeth shows how Madhyamika points out what keeps our spiritual path "vague" and what keeps it on track.
In the second and third weekends of MSB Shedra, Kongtrul Rinpoche guides us through our continued close study of the classical Buddhist text The Adornment of the Middle Way by Shantarakshita. MSB begain working with this text in 2010, though each year is accessible to new participants. This text is considered to be the seminal work of Yogacharian Madhyamika philosophy, one that unifies the two major traditions of Mahayana thought -- Nagarjuna and Asanga -- into a practical presentation of relative and absolute truths. Along with Guru Padmasambhava, Shantarakshita is one the founders of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, so this text represents that school's view. Join us for this remarkably penetrating discovery into how we can awaken from the foundation of our delusion.
In his presentation of classical Buddhist texts, Rinpoche is known for combining a deep scholarly knowledge with his skill in connecting what may at first seem obscure to the day-to-day life and practice of his audience.
A shedra is a traditional monastic college of higher learning, with a course of study lasting from ten to thirteen years. Unlike most general dharma programs, MSB's Shedra program presents the teachings in much greater depth, using traditional textual structure, terminology and logic. Debate practice, along with Q&A with Rinpoche and Elizabeth, are employed to sharpen students' knowledge.