Aug 08 2023
One Community

August “One Community” Gathering

In-person in Missoula and online

Join us in-person in Missoula with Justin or online via Zoom. Address and Zoom link sent upon registration. This month’s Sangha gathering: Tuesday, August 8, 5:30-7:30pm MDT (click HERE to view in your time zone)

The core of Mahayana Buddhism, where we at Namchak find our roots, is bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment. The Six Perfections, also known as the Six Paramitas, are the ways to train in engaged bodhicitta. They are Generosity, Ethical Discipline, Patience, Joyful Effort (Diligence), Meditative Concentration, and Wisdom.

Continuing on with our topic of the six perfections, this month Namchak translator and teacher Justin Kirkwood will explore the perfection of Wisdom.

The Perfection of Wisdom is the realization of emptiness. This is required in order to make the remaining perfections “perfect.” The word “realization” makes it sound like something that can happen in a single moment. That is not normally the case. For most of us, the realization of emptiness takes time as well as regular practice of Shamata and Vipassana.

Emptiness is a vast topic. In summary, it means that nothing exists on its own without relying upon other things, that all things exist as interdependent phenomena. Learn more about mindfulness of phenomena HERE.

That sounds simple to accept intellectually, but it isn’t the way our minds typically grasp things. We tend to think that objects or people are what they are, in and of themselves. This tendency can be problematic in a world full of reminders of impermanence.

Wisdom, or sublime intelligence as it is sometimes translated, means to know things precisely as they are. In other words, to know reality as it really is. In the context of the Six Perfections, the Perfection of Wisdom means the realization of emptiness—the ultimate nature of all things.

It is this wisdom that makes the other five become “perfections.” The first five are the methods that will lead us to the wisdom that realizes emptiness, which is one of the primary causes of enlightenment.

If you were not able to attend previous sessions on the six perfections, please watch the video below before the gathering.


About One Community

For one evening each month, we come together as a community to deepen our understanding of the dharma and connect with our fellow sangha members. Each gathering is facilitated by a different Namchak teacher, thought leader, or staff member and will revolve around our theme of the month. These gatherings are two hours in total. The first half will consist of a dharma talk, and the second half will offer an opportunity for participants to reflect on the teachings through small group discussions in short break-out sessions. These group discussions will be followed by a Q&A session with the teacher. Participation in small group discussions is encouraged but not required. You can always sit these out! We encourage Learning Circles and meditation buddies to attend together. Inviting friends, partners, family members, neighbors, and co-workers is always welcome.

About the teacher

Justin has been studying and practicing Buddhism for over twenty years and has been working as a Tibetan translator and interpreter for more than ten. He lived in India for eight years, studying and practicing with many great teachers and spent three of those years as a monk, studying Buddhist philosophy in a Tibetan monastic seminary. He now works at the Namchak Foundation as a translator of texts, as Namchak Khen Rinpoche’s interpreter, and as a meditation teacher.

Address and Zoom Link

Missoula address and Zoom link will be provided upon registration. Please note: Confirmation emails from Eventbrite often end up in spam/promotions tab. Please check there if you do not see the confirmation email.

Our Community Commitments

In order to co-create a brave, inclusive, anti-oppressive and learning centered space, in our community we each agree to:

    • Be inclusive of diverse opinions and backgrounds through treating each other with respect and appreciation.
    • Commit to words and actions of non-harm within our group interactions.
    • Learn by immersing in and committing to the practices at hand.
    • Hold personal sharing in confidence.
    • Be present, practice mindful listening, and not offer unsolicited advice.
    • Allow and invite for equal sharing of voices as well as the right to pass.
    • Take care not to speak for others in the group.
    • Assume good intent and come from a place of curiosity and care.
    • Come as we are with permission to be “raggedy.”
    • Be mindful of and take personal and collective responsibility for our own biases including the use of language that may “other,” “cancel,” or dehumanize any person, groups of people, and/or their experiences.
    • Ask for consent before hugging or initiating physical contact during in-person gatherings.
    • Use the “Ouch/Oops” tool to address hurtful comments and language in the moment and to allow space for repair.*

We aspire for this sangha to be a place of refuge

*Ouch/Oops . This is a tool for addressing hurtful comments/language in the moment. If someone says something hurtful, anyone can bring attention to it in the moment by saying “Ouch” and then explaining what was hurtful. If it is a word choice issue, be sure to give the first speaker the chance to rephrase and try again (remember, it’s okay to be raggedy, and we are all assuming good intent!) When someone says something that comes out wrong or hurts someone else, they should start with “Oops” – first, acknowledge the impact of their words, and then try again. This can also be done outside of the event if someone feels an “Ouch,” but does not feel comfortable sharing it with the group at that time. We aspire for this sangha to be a place of refuge.