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. Join our longer modular Living the Dharma programme, or sign up to individual book groups listed below. To register email Satya & Kaspa at hello@brightearth.org with the book you’re interested in registering for (& whether you’d like to do Zoom or face to face) & we’ll send you more information.

    Why?

    These groups offer students an opportunity to engage more deeply with the precious Dharma. As we encounter various teachings from different schools of Buddhism, listen to others and put teachings into practice, we trust that we will start living with more freedom, confidence, insight and joy. 

    When?

    Currently running weekly on Sundays/Wednesdays– additional days and times will be offered as time goes on.
    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.

    FOUR SPACES LEFT ‘The Promise of a Sacred World: Shinran’s Teaching of Other Power’ by Nagapriya – facilitated by Mat & Kaspa on Zoom. Register by 12th March. Meetings on Wednesdays 12.30pm – 1.30pm UK time for 16 weeks with a week’s break (tbc) – starting 29th March.

    FOUR SPACES LEFT ‘The Promise of a Sacred World: Shinran’s Teaching of Other Power’ by Nagapriya – facilitated by Angie & Kaspa at the temple. Register by 12th March. Meetings on Sundays 5pm – 6pm UK time for 16 weeks with a week’s break (tbc) – starting 2nd April.

    FOUR SPACES LEFT ‘The Promise of a Sacred World: Shinran’s Teaching of Other Power’ by Nagapriya – facilitated by Dayamay & Satya on Zoom. Register by 12th March. Meetings on Sundays 5pm – 6pm UK time for 16 weeks with a week’s break (tbc) – starting 2nd April.

    The next books will start around the weekend of the 22nd of July and we hope to run Nobuo Haneda’s Dharma Breeze, ‘The Shamanic Bones of Zen‘ by Zenju Earthlyn Manual and ‘Green Buddhism‘ by Stephanie Kaza. If you are interested in joining any of these groups please do let us know: hello@brightearth.org. We may also run Kenneth Tanaka’s Ocean before then.

    Also on the list are ‘Bearing Witness’ by Bernie Glassman, ‘Faith’ by Sharon Salzberg, ‘Everyday Suchness’ by Rev Gyomay Kubose, ‘Everyday Zen’ by Charlotte Joko Beck, ‘Bright Dawn’ by Rev Koyo Kubose and more.

    What? 

    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 can 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’.

    To begin with, each book group will be facilitated by either Kaspa or Satya of Bright Earth. We will be seeking new facilitators for future groups. Deep knowledge or previous experience of facilitating is not required. Facilitating groups for others is a way of giving back, and also an excellent way to continue learning. 

    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 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 hello@brightearth.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 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 hello@brightearth.org 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.