Discussion Content and Questions
- Start with Lama Tsomo’s book, Why Bother? The book is not meant to be read cover to cover. In fact, Lama Tsomo originally wrote Why Bother? to be used as a guidebook for an introductory class that she was teaching. It is meant to be read a few pages at a time. Take turns reading aloud and then you all discuss!
- Often, the themes that come up in the check-in also come up in the subject of the reading. It’s uncanny how the subject matter that comes up in the reading is often related to what is up for people in that moment. You and your group can lean on all of the books within the Ancient Wisdom series. This includes Why Bother? and Wisdom and Compassion (Starting with Yourself).
- Utilize the free Why Bother? Workbook, which was created to accompany you on your journey throughout the Ancient Wisdom series starting with the first book, Why Bother? It will serve as a guide as well as a tool for contemplation and engagement while you are reading these books either individually, with a meditation buddy, or with your Learning Circle members.
- The Ancient Wisdom Series is a series of books intended to share Tibetan Buddhist meditation practices in an accessible manner. They are designed to help new meditation practitioners and advanced students understand and grow their depth of wisdom of Vajrayana Buddhism.
There are also a number of excellent books on meditation, both for practice and general reading. To get started on a new book, we recommend exploring books written by Pema Chödrön, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Sharon Salzberg, and Jack Kornfield.
WATCH AND LEARN TOGETHERSign up for an eCourse!
The Namchak eCourses offer groups an easy way to begin learning about Tibetan Buddhist practice and how to meditate.
- Sign up as a group for one of our eCourses and use the group meeting to watch that week’s video and try the new meditation practice.
- Have all members sign up and watch videos on their own during the week; then use the study portion of the meeting to move through the “Learning Circle Questions” section at the end of each week’s eCourse.
We find many groups enjoy repeating the eCourses and rereading sections of the book to deepen their practice.
Reflect and ask questions once your group has completed Why Bother? or one of our eCourses. Consider using the study portion of your meetings for an extended practice. You could try Shamata with one of the three methods of support or Tonglen with a different theme from week to week. And, you’ll want to kickstart each practice with “Clearing the Stale Energies.” Use the audio recordings on our guided meditations page to help guide the group using this special piece of Tibetan technology.
ON THE CUSHION
For additional discussion content and questions, check out the Monthly Learning Circle Themes and Resources page.
OFF THE CUSHION
As you practice meditation, you’ll find the experience influences your mindset off the meditation cushion. For more ways to bring meditation and compassion into your everyday life, try the Namchak mini-eCourse on Mind Training (in Tibetan it’s called Lojong). You’ll find guided exercises from Lama Tsomo that teach you how to train your mind to be more compassionate, calm, and focused.
Feeling inspired to take action? Here are some organizations to help bring your meditation practice off of the cushion and into the world.
GET INVOLVED IN OUR DIGITAL COMMUNITY
Consider joining our Facebook Sangha group to connect with other Learning Circle members from around the world. Ask questions, share inspiration, and engage with a community of other meditators.