Bodhicitta: The Buddhist Synthesis of Wisdom and Compassion
Facilitator – Philip Osgood
Dates & Times – Mondays, Oct 15 – Nov 5, 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Location – Blue Hill Public Library, Howard Room (Nov 5 session is in the Bass Room)
The concept of bodhicitta (a Sanskrit term often translated as “awakening mind”) is an essential aspect of Buddhist teachings and meditation practices that focus on the cultivation of the qualities of wisdom and compassion. We will examine the principles of bodhicitta by reading selections from a variety of Buddhist authors and discuss the relevance of this ancient tradition to everyday life and contemporary social issues. Suggested reading will include books and/or excerpts from authors such as: The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, John Makransky and Shantideva.
Philip Osgood lives in Brooksville. He is a freelance writer and writing teacher and has been a Buddhist practitioner for 3 decades with experience in the Vipassana, Zen and Tibetan traditions. Philip leads workshops and retreats in meditation practices with the Foundation for Active Compassion.
Recommended Reading Material:
I will be bringing in various quotes and excerpts during the course of the Colloquy but I also suggest that participants obtain and begin reading at least one of the following books. I’ve listed them more or less in order of relevance to the subject matter of this particular Colloquy but any of the three would be a good choice. Please feel free to use your discretion or intuition in choosing which text most appeals to you.
An Open Heart; Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by The Dalai Lama
A very accessible introduction to many of the basic Buddhist teachings. This book also emphasizes how the Buddhist context for understanding the cultivation of the qualities of compassion and wisdom transcends sectarian boundaries and holds relevance for our modern times.
Awakening Through Love; Unveiling Your Deepest Goodness by John Makransky
A wonderful and accessible introduction to Buddhist meditation practices of love, compassion, and wisdom by a Western Buddhist teacher. This book contains guided meditations and explains how the cultivation of love and compassion are so meaningful for our individual lives, society, and culture. [Note, for now, I would recommend skipping Chapter 2, which contains subject matter we will delve into closer to the end of the Colloquy.]
Start Where You Are; A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron
Pema Chodron is an American woman who is a nun in a Tibetan Buddhist order.
Excerpted from the back cover: “[This book] is an indispensable handbook for cultivating fearless and awakening heart. With insight and humor, Pema Chodron presents down-to-earth guidance on how to make friends with ourselves and develop genuine compassion toward others. . . She frames her teachings on compassion around fifty-nine traditional maxims or slogans and shows how we can all develop the courage to work with our own inner pain and discover joy, well-being, and confidence.”
This book has a contemporary, psychological orientation for approaching and understanding these ancient teachings on compassion and wisdom.