Join us in-person in Missoula with Justin or online via Zoom. Address and Zoom link sent upon registration.
We are bombarded with options for how to spend our time, effort, and resources. It’s great to have options but can certainly be overwhelming! What if there was a resource that helped us decipher what is truly helpful and worthwhile on our path to liberation? Join teacher and translator Justin Kirkwood and the Namchak Community for a discussion about the guiding principles of The Four Thoughts of Buddhism.
The Four Thoughts are the shared practices of all types of Buddhism, from Theravada to Vajrayana. They are common outer preliminaries which are the first practices of the Ngöndro.
Their purpose is to remind us precious opportunity to study and practice the dharma and that this opportunity won’t last forever, so we need to seize it while we have the chance. Through them we also learn that all of our actions, both positive and negative, have consequences so we must be careful in all we do, think, or say. Finally we learn that no matter how many good things we do, they will only lead to better experiences in the cycle of samsara and therefore, we must seek liberation.
When we talk about turning the mind, we’re referring to turning the mind away from all preoccupations like hopes and goals of attaining some kind of comfort and happiness in this life or in a future life. It means turning the mind towards a loftier goal of liberation and enlightenment, beyond worldly experience or worldly happiness.
- The difficulty of finding the precious human rebirth.
- Karmic cause and result
- The faults of Samsara
The first two thoughts: The contemplation of the preciousness of human rebirth and impermanence help us overcome grasping at our attachments in this lifetime. That means if we realize how precious this opportunity is, and that we could die any minute, we won’t get caught up in the trivial nature of everyday life. It helps us escape the infatuation with our worldly goals and accomplishments in this lifetime and turn our sights toward liberation.
The second two, the contemplation of karma and the dissatisfactory nature of samsara help us to overcome wishing for some kind of fortunate results in future lifetimes. So, if we believe in karma and that everything in samsara is suffering, we will not try to get just a better situation in samsara in our next life but will strive to be completely liberated from it.
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.