June’s Learning Resources
June Theme: The Perfection of Meditative Concentration
LEARNING RESOURCES & ACTIVITIES ✨
Reflect and discuss: 🧐
- Discuss a time you went with a knee-jerk reaction.
- Discuss a time when you observed your own knee-jerk reaction and were able to act more skillfully.
- What were the results of both situations?
- In your opinion, what were the causes and conditions of both situations?
- Practicing the Perfection of Meditative Concentration(Namchak Blog)
- 10 Steps to Tame the Elephant by Jan Willis (lionsroar.com)
Watch & Listen: 🎧
- How the Six Paramitas of Buddhism Build on One Another with Justin Kirkwood(Namchak YouTube channel)
- The Paramita of Diligence or Joyful Effort: a Dharma Talk with Justin Kirkwood(Namchak YouTube channel)
- Meditative Concentration – Dhyana Paramita(Prajna Sparks Podcast, www.prajnafire.com)
- The Last Dalai Lama?(Kino Lorber YouTube channel)
Shamata with Visual Support: Try an eight-minute guided meditation from Lama Tsomo that’s suitable for beginners and long-time practitioners alike. In this Shamata practice, you’ll use a visual as a method of support to help calm and train the mind.
This month’s book recommendation from Lama Tsomo: 📚
Atomic Habits by James Clear It’s similar to The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg but I believe is more accessible and has more options. These show great success in studies, and this book makes it pretty easy and fun to create ways to drop bad habits and install good ones. Who doesn’t want that? … especially for that elusive Practice of Doing Daily Practice!
*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 spotlight the Brownies Are the Pathway to Peace Learning Circle.
Julie, from that Circle, had this to say:
I first encountered the Brownies Are the Pathway to Peace Learning Circle while browsing Namchak’s website about a year ago. I hadn’t thought seriously about joining a Learning Circle up to that point, but the name alone filled me with joy. I thought, “What the heck, why not check these folks out?” I contacted Rachel, who put me in touch with Sneza, one of the group’s founding members. After joining, I was delighted to discover that these dharma buddies were welcoming, organized, and fun-loving.
Since joining, I’ve found so much support and encouragement from the group. Gwyn and Sandy talked about Namchak’s Walking the Path program, and soon enough, four of us – Cara, Dorothea, Sneza, and myself – decided to join the next cohort, which we have recently done. Meditating, studying dharma, and sharing joys and sorrows with these good souls are so wonderful. Oh, and not to forget our most inspiring group member, Norm, who just turned 92! My life is so much richer now that I am seeking peace with the Brownies.
Thank you for sharing, Julie!
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 questions: What does meditative concentration mean to you? Do you currently practice any form of meditative concentration? If so, what has been your experience both on and off the cushion when you are practicing?
📽️ Video of Justin’s Talk on the Perfection of Meditative Concentration (25-30 min)
- Justin Kirkwood is a dedicated dharma student and teacher with over 20 years of experience in studying and practicing Buddhism. As a former monk who spent eight years in India, Justin had the privilege of studying and practicing with renowned Tibetan masters. He has also been working as a Tibetan translator and interpreter for more than a decade, deepening his understanding of the sacred texts. Currently, Justin is a vital member of the Namchak Foundation, where he serves as a translator of texts, an interpreter for Namchak Khen Rinpoche, and a teacher. With his vast knowledge, warm presence, and practical approach, Justin guides students on their spiritual journey, offering profound insights and practical tools for integrating the wisdom of the dharma into their lives.
- This video includes Justin’s teaching on The Perfection of Meditative Concentration. The recording was paused during sections of small group discussion in break out rooms and continues with the Q&A session.
- The full video is 1.5 hours. 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 (15-20 min)
After watching about 30 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 (20 minutes)
- You can practice together with this 8-Minute Shamata with Visual Support (You can use this image of the Buddha).
- 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? Were long were you able to rest your awareness on the image of the Buddha? If you got lost in thought, how long did it take you to refocus?
By the power of this compassionate practice,
may suffering be transformed into peace.
May the hearts of all beings be open,
and their wisdom radiate from within.
📚 Recommended Resources from Justin
- Namchak blog: What are the Six Perfections or Six Paramitas?
- Video Introduction to the Six Perfections or Paramitas with Justin (35-minute video from previous One Community gathering)
- Why Bother? An Introduction by Lama Tsomo
- Wisdom & Compassion (Starting With Yourself) by Lama Tsomo
- Deepening Wisdom, Deepening Connection by Lama Tsomo
- The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva
- The Ornament of Precious Liberation by Gampopa
- What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula
- A Beginner’s Guide to Tibetan Buddhism by Bruce Newman
- The Nectar of Manjushri’s Speech by Kunzang Pelden
The Perfection of Ethical Discipline
Can you think of one area of your life in which you became more disciplined? Maybe it was about making a meditation habit 😉, flossing, exercise, or tidying up. Whatever the actions, how did you stay motivated? What helped you stay on track? What hindered you?
The Paramita of Generosity/Dana
When was the last time you gave something away to which you were attached? How was that experience
What are the components of a meaningful life?
What might engaged bodhicitta look like in your relationships and community?
Looking back on 2022: How would you describe the last year? What are some things you can celebrate? What were some of your challenges or obstacle? What are you grateful for