Join a small group of students and a facilitator as we journey together through different Buddhist books – reflecting on the teachings and applying them in our ordinary lives. Register by emailing Satya & Kaspa at firstname.lastname@example.org with the book you want to study & we’ll send you more information. You might also be interested in joining our longer modular Living the Dharma programme.
These groups offer students an opportunity to engage more deeply with the Dharma, the precious teachings of the Buddha. As we encounter various teachings from different schools of Buddhism, listen to others and put teachings into practice in our ordinary lives, we trust that we will start living with more freedom, confidence, insight and joy.
Groups are a maximum of six to eight and will be held either at the temple in Malvern or on Zoom. The next books are below.
NEW: No Bad Parts by Richard Schwartz (3 credits) facilitated by Satya on Zoom. 11 sessions. Wednesdays 12.30pm to 1.30pm UK time from 6th Sep to 29th Nov (no meeting 20th Sep or 15th Nov). Register by mid-August.
NEW: The Shamanic Bones of Zen by Zenju Earthly Manuel (2 credits) Face to face at Bright Earth Temple with Kaspa, and on Zoom with Satya. 8 Sessions. Mondays at 7pm – 8.pm UK time from 2nd October – 27th November, with a break on the 13th November. Register by 29th September
During 2024 we hope to have book groups for Ocean by Ken Tanaka (a great introduction), Nancy Mujo Baker’s Opening to Oneness, Jeff Wilson’s Living Nembutsu, Zenju Earthyln Manuel’s Way to Tenderness, Bernie Glassman’s Bearing Witness, Nobuo Haneda’s Dharma Breeze, Faith by Sharon Salzberg & more.
If you are interested in joining any of these groups please have a read of the following and then let Kaspa/Satya know at email@example.com.
Each week you will be asked to read a specified number of pages and then write a reflection of your experience of what you’ve read – a few paragraphs is fine. You can include any questions you have, anything you found helpful, anything you disagreed with and anything the chapters made you think about in your own life. Once or twice a course you will also be asked to write a ‘Dharma Glimpse’ (read about these here). You will post these writings in a private forum on our website where you will read other people’s reflections before the start of each meeting.
During the meeting (either at the temple or on Zoom) you will take turns to make comments on other people’s reflections – what did you like about what they wrote? What did they make you think about in your own life? How might you answer any questions they have? Regardless of how much experience you have in Buddhism, we are all expected to learn from each other in these groups – we are all learning how to be better students, and we are all trying to find ‘beginner’s mind’.
What is the expectation?
Completion requirements: You will write a reflection every week, write a Dharma Glimpse at least every six weeks during the course (depending on the number of participants), and come to at least three out of every four of the in person or online book groups. If it isn’t possible for you to commit to the majority of the dates, then do put your name down for a future course instead – we will be repeating books over time. The time commitment will vary depending on how fast you read and write your reflections, but we’d expect it to be around one hour for the weekly meeting plus one to two hours per week to do the reading, reflection writing and reading other student’s reflections.
What if I have some anxiety about joining?
We want these courses to be accessible to everyone and we certainly don’t want people to feel excluded because they don’t feel they’re ‘good at writing’, that they know ‘enough’ about Buddhism, or that they might look stupid when they discuss things in the group. The beauty of these groups is that everyone learns from each other (even if we can’t imagine what anyone might learn from us!). Rather than an emphasis on academia or ‘knowing things’, we encourage you to just have an experience of or an opinion on the teachings – sharing what you feel stuck with, what you disagree with etc. and even more importantly listening to others in your group. We are learning all of the time. Please do write to Satya & Kaspa at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or worries you have.
How much is it?
We would like these book groups to be as accessible as possible, and so there will be no charge to attend – our facilitators will volunteer their time. If you are able to make a donation we can use this to buy or subsidise books for students who have less money, and to support the running of the Bright Earth temple. If it is helpful to have a ‘suggested donation’ you could offer between £15 & £50 for the whole course, or between £3 & £8 for each class. If you don’t make a donation at all that is also totally okay!
How do I register?
Write to Satya & Kaspa email@example.com and let us know which book you’d like to study and any dates you know you won’t be able to make. We will let you know if there are spaces on the course and send you further instructions. Once you’ve read these you can decide whether or not you’d like to go ahead. You will be expected to buy your own course book at least a week before the course starts (so you can write your first report) – if you need financial assistance with this, let us know.