Discovering Buddhism at LMB

“Awakening all limitless potential of your mind, achieving all peace and happiness”

db_tEach module runs for about 5 weeks, meeting on Tuesday evenings (as of 2016). In addition to the evening classes, there will be a Saturday practice day or a weekend retreat for each module to provide the experiential element prescribed by the Discovering Buddhism curriculum.

Dates for upcoming 2017 modules are:

  • How to Develop Bodhichitta (DB10)
    Sep 19 to Oct 24 (no class on Oct 17)
  • Transforming Problems (DB11)
    – November-December (TBA)

This is a good place to start getting a systematic introduction to the essential points of Buddhism according to our tradition. Discovering Buddhism (DB) is one of the standardized education programs supported by the FPMT Education Department. This means that you can take DB courses at various FPMT centers, or even as Home Study, and can feel confident that you have covered basically the same material.

With the successful completion of each module, you will receive a completion certificate for that topic. With the completion of all the modules, including a rather intensive practice module, you will receive a certificate for the whole of Discovering Buddhism, enabling you to be a candidate for teaching introductory classes and meditations (upon invitation).

The DB modules have numbers, 1 through 14, corresponding to the order that these topics appear in the Lam-rim, the classic presentation of the Stages of the Path. However, we don’t necessarily offer them in that order. Sometimes we like to offer certain topics to fit in with the seasons or other things going on. If you miss a topic at one center, you can keep your eye out for it at another one of our Bay Area FPMT centers. It takes about 2 years to get through all the topics.

Click for DB Homework Page

(get the password in class)

Here is a list of all the topics, as described on the FPMT website:

The 14 Discovering Buddhism Modules

1. Mind and Its Potential
Examine the mind and how it creates happiness and suffering. Learn to transform destructive thoughts and attitudes to create a positive and joyous mind!

2. How to Meditate
Learn the definition and purpose of meditation, how to sit, how to set up a meditation session, different meditation techniques, and how to deal with obstacles to meditation.

3. Presenting the Path
Get an overview of the entire Tibetan Buddhist path to awakening. Study the life story of the Buddha and discover a unique system for putting Buddhist philosophy into practice – the lam-rim, or “graduated path to enlightenment.”

4. The Spiritual Teacher
Investigate the role of the teacher on the spiritual path: the need for a teacher, the qualities of teacher and student, and how to relate to a teacher for greatest benefit.

5. Death and Rebirth
Explore the process of death and rebirth and its impact on how we live our lives. Learn to fulfill your purpose in life, resolve conflicts, and develop the skills to help yourself and others at death.

6. All About Karma
Learn the essential facts about the law of cause and effect. Explore ways to deal with life most effectively and take control of your future!

7. Refuge in the Three Jewels
Find out what it means to take refuge in the Three Jewels and the essential practices of refuge. Learn about the advantage of taking lay vows and their role in enhancing our spiritual growth.

8. Establishing a Daily Practice
Assemble the tools you need to develop a successful daily practice and find out the elements necessary to generate realizations. Get some tips for making every action meaningful.

9. Samsara and Nirvana
Investigate what “samsara” is and how we are stuck in it. Find out what “nirvana” is and how to achieve it. Learn how to be free from suffering and empower yourself with practical tools to deal with and eliminate disturbing emotions forever.

10. How to Develop Bodhichitta
Discover practices that develop our innate qualities of compassion. Learn to apply these techniques to generate the mind of bodhichitta, known as the very heart of Buddha’s teachings.

11. Transforming Problems
Learn the disadvantages of self-cherishing and the advantages of cherishing others. Learn to employ the special techniques of mind training (lojong) to transform problems into happiness.

12. Wisdom of Emptiness
The realization of emptiness is crucial for the attainment of liberation and enlightenment. Learn to develop calm abiding and different methods of meditation on emptiness.

13. Introduction to Tantra
Learn what tantra is, how it works, and why it is a powerful form of practice. Get a broad overview of the four classes of tantra and learn to practice simple Kriya tantric methods. Learn to integrate tantra with lam-rim meditation for optimal results.

14. Special Integration Experiences
By undertaking intensive practices of purification and a two-week lam-rim retreat, you prepare your mind in the best way to realize the path to enlightenment. Purification practices include: 100,000 prostrations, 3-month Vajrasattva retreat, and Nyung Nä. This is a great way to seal the blessings of this program!