Jun 11 2024

June “One Community” Gathering

In-person in Missoula and online

Understanding the Two Truths (part 2):

All of the Buddha’s teachings hinge upon the principle of the two truths. Yet, without grasping this fundamental concept, many teachings can appear confusing or even contradictory. For instance, in certain contexts, the Buddha speaks of the existence of phenomena such as karma and suffering, emphasizing their impact on our spiritual journey. However, in texts like the Heart Sutra, the Buddha seemingly negates the existence of all phenomena.

Yet, the Buddha’s intent was not to advocate nihilism or deny the principle of karma. To grasp the profound implications of these teachings, we must contextualize them within the broader framework of the two truths – the conventional truth of appearances and the ultimate truth of emptiness.

While it’s crucial to understand these truths individually, they are fundamentally inseparable. The conventional truth of appearances and the ultimate truth of emptiness are not separate entities but are inherently united. Without conventional phenomena, emptiness has no basis for existence. Emptiness isn’t a standalone concept but rather the very nature of phenomena itself.

The Union of Two Truths:

Contrary to the misconception that conventional truth is to be discarded in favor of ultimate truth, the understanding of their union is pivotal in Mahayana Buddhism. Embracing this union enables us to navigate the complexities of Buddhist teachings with clarity and insight, fostering a deeper understanding of reality and our spiritual path.

Join us for part two of this dharma teaching, as Justin Kirkwood guides us through an examination of the profound teachings of the two truths, guiding us towards a richer understanding of this cornerstone of a successful practice of Mahayana Buddhism.


This month’s Sangha gathering: Tuesday, June 11th, 5:30-7:30 pm MDT

Location: Online or in person in Missoula, MT

Justin Kirkwood will be teaching in person in Missoula. For those located in Missoula, you are welcome to join a group who will be receiving the teaching together at the Namchak office. For those unable to join in person, the teaching will also be live-streamed via Zoom.




About Justin Kirkwood

Justin Kirkwood is a dedicated dharma student and teacher with over 20 years of experience in studying and practicing Buddhism. Formally trained in monastic universities in India, Justin had the privilege of studying and practicing with many renowned Tibetan masters. He has also worked as a Tibetan translator and interpreter for over fifteen years, deepening his understanding of the sacred texts. Justin is a vital member of the Namchak Foundation, serving as a translator of texts, an interpreter for Namchak Khen Rinpoche, and a teacher.

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 month’s theme. 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.

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.