February’s Learning Resources
February Theme: The Paramita of Generosity/Dana
LEARNING RESOURCES & ACTIVITIES ✨
Reflect and discuss: 🧐
- When was the last time you gave something away to which you were attached? How was that experience?
- When was the last time you held tightly to your own preferences? How was that experience?
- What are three small ways you could start intentionally practicing generosity?
Watch & Listen: 🎧
- The First Paramita: Dana, Generosity: Roshi Joan Halifax (upaya.org)
- What are the Six Perfections or Six Paramitas? (Namchak Blog)
- The Perfection of Generosity in Action (Namchak Blog)
Watch & Listen: 📖
- The Essence of Generosity (Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche Youtube channel)
- A Deeply Healthy Kind of Perfectionism | Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (Ten Percent Happier podcast, tenpercent.com)
- Four-minute Meditation for Tuning into Our Connection with Ourselves and Others Using the breath to ground ourselves in the present moment, we begin to tap into our true nature. This short practice will help us develop a sense of connection to others near and far, while bringing awareness to our true intention for this moment.
This month’s book recommendation: 📚
Entering the Way of the Bodhisattva A New Translation and Contemporary Guide Translated by Khenpo David Karma Choephel by Shantideva.* From Shambhala: For well over a millennium, Shantideva’s guide to the bodhisattva’s path has been revered and studied as a manual for becoming a bodhisattva, someone who is dedicated to achieving enlightenment in order to benefit all beings. In this fresh and poetic translation, Khenpo David Karma Choephel communicates the power of Shantideva’s insights through careful attention to both the meaning and the rhythmic pulse of each stanza. The translation is followed by a chapter-by-chapter guide, which provides necessary context and practical advice.
* Namchak Foundation and Lama Tsomo do not receive any monetary or other benefit from the purchase of this book.
Learning Circle Spotlight ☸️
This month we hear from one of our Compassion in Action Fellows, Jordyn.
Jordyn is in her fourth year at Temple University in Philadelphia, studying Secondary Education and English. She is planning to teach after graduating. She says that she has “always been drawn to careers that have a foothold in humanities and helping people.” 💗
We asked Jordyn some questions, and here are her responses:
What drew you to the CiA Fellowship?
In my third year at Temple, after the dust finally settled from COVID-19, I was looking to reroot myself in my community both at Temple and beyond. I was looking for a sense of community after being shut in for so long and looking to broaden my academic journey along the way.
What are you getting out of the fellowship so far?
The biggest takeaway from this fellowship is how to interact with others. Coming out of the almost two-year-long shut down, I felt it was essential to reestablish my skills with collaboration and with maintaining relationships. This fellowship has given me the opportunity to meet young scholars from all across the US and learn new perspectives to add to my own scrapbook of knowledge. I am grateful for the relationships this fellowship has given me.
What does a more compassionate world look like to you?
A more compassionate world looks like people assuming the best in a stranger before judgment based on any variable.
Thank you for sharing, Jordyn!
One Community Activities
💫 Opening, Community Commitments, Check-Ins (15-20 min)
- Invite a moment of silence and give rise to bodhicitta.
- Read Community Commitments.
- Check-in question: What does generosity mean to you, and how do you currently practice it in your life?
🎥 Watch Video of Justin’s Talk on the Perfection of Generosity (30-40 min)
- Justin Kirkwood 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.
- This video includes Justin’s talk on the Perfection of Generosity. The recording was paused during sections of small group discussion in break out rooms.
- The full video is 2 hours and 10 min, including the “bonus” Q&A session after the event was finished. We recommend that you watch this video over the course of 3-4 Learning Circles (maybe 30 – 40 minute clips), so that you have time to pause the video to engage in discussion with your Learning Circle members.
🗣️ Discussion (15 min)
- After watching 30-40 minutes of the recording, discuss with your Learning Circle anything that stood out to you from the teaching. What are some questions, curiosities, insights or reflections you have about the teachings?
💜 Meditation and Reflection (15 minutes)
- You can continue practicing generosity with this 17-minute Meditation for Nurturing Happiness for the Whole Ocean.
- After the session is finished, reflect with your Learning Circle members on how that meditation was for you. What happened? How do you feel afterwards? Do you have any insights, curiosities or questions about the practice and/or generosity?
🙏 Dedicate the merit (1 min)
may suffering be transformed into peace.
May the hearts of all beings be open,
and their wisdom radiate from within.
Learn to ground yourself in the present moment by gaining full awareness of the experience of being embodied or being connected to your own body. To do this, we start by paying attention to the sensation of breathing, subtle movements in the body, and other somatic experiences as techniques to help bring awareness to our emotional landscape and ease anxiety.
Our Human Nature
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that as human beings we are part of the natural world, intricately connected to all forms of life and to the planet itself.
Taking Action in the World
Expanding from our own communities to the world at large, we consider what matters most to us, the issues that we care about, and how we define ways to help ease the suffering of others and bring happiness. We examine three essential questions: “What do I care most about?” “Who do I care most about?” and “What am I going to do about it?
There is no going it alone. We live our lives with others, part of interconnected communities, known as “Sangha” in Tibetan Buddhist practice. We explore the ways we can cultivate awareness within ourselves and grow as we engage with those around us, ultimately living happier and more meaningful lives and contributing to the same for others.