March’s Learning Resources

March Theme: The Perfection of Ethical Discipline


Reflect and discuss: 🧐

  • 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? 
  • Which of the Ten Virtues could you focus on? How might you make more virtuous choices?

Watch & Listen: 📖

This month’s book recommendation: 📚

From Lama Tsomo: “I’m enjoying reading Imaginable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything, Even Things that Seem Impossible Today by Jane McGonigal. She’s an interesting combo of a game designer and a futurist. Perfect for writing such a book! The one-word title grabbed me, then I really got interested because of the long subtitle. Reminds me of our Personal/Community/World at Namchak! This is an inspiring and readable book that invites us to dream up a new life, a new community, or a new world. I know for sure we need that last one if we’re going to find our way to the new paradigm without wrecking the world first! But it’s more than an invitation. It’s lots of bite-size how-to’s for dreaming up and cooking up a new life and a new world.”

* 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 former Compassion in Action Fellows, Dancer.
Dancer is a student at James Madison Student (JMU), pursuing a BA in psychology with a focus on eco-psychology and holistic psychology.
We asked Dancer some questions, and here are their responses:

Tell us a little about yourself:
I enjoy being in the middle of the woods as much as I enjoy being in the middle of a busy city. Different species of plants give me as much joy as different ethnicities of humans. When I look around spaces, I see how I can fill the empty spaces with paint, faces, green, and sunlight.

What drew you to the CiA Fellowship?
I came to JMU as a transfer during mid-COVID and everything was extremely physically separate. I was told about an already formed chapter and joined. All of the meetings were via zoom and yet it was nothing like I had experienced on campus and everything I was desiring for. It was a space of sanctuary, regardless of the distance. All of the members brought easeful attentiveness and abundant support within our mediation practices and relational building.

My chapter came to be as a group of total strangers and transformed into a grounded, safe, and expressive community where the members are growing rich relationships and practices.
What are you getting out of the fellowship so far?

Sincere community with humans across the country, local community building, and the opportunity to share and practice passions and conscious connection.

What does a more compassionate world look like to you?
A field of openness and gratitude where humans are partnering together to be shepherds of the soil, forests, and water. A ground where we all come together to regenerate and sustainably grow an active and reciprocal relationship with Earth. From this place, we learn how to grow with each other.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra? 
“To run wild, to be of peace, and to be with love.”

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 ethical discipline mean to you, and what associations come up for you when you hear the word “discipline?”

🎥 Watch Introductory video from Justin Kirkwood Providing Context for Jetsunma's talk (20 min)

  • Because it was an advanced topic that Jetsunma covered last night, we decided to put together this contextual video introduction with Justin Kirkwood, one of our translators and Buddhist educators at Namchak. In this 20-minute prelude, Justin will define important terms and concepts while also providing some context and a synopsis for Jetsunma’s lecture.

🗣️ Video of Jetsunma's Talk on the Perfection of Ethical Discipline (25-30 min)

  • Jetsunma spent nine years in a monastic university program studying all of the major subjects of Buddhism and then followed her studies by spending nine years in closed retreat. It was for this reason that Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche offered her the honored title of Jetsunma. She is the director of the study and practice centers of Turquoise Leaf Nunnery and Kusum Khandro Ling in Nepal. Jetsunma has been living in the USA for the last few years, where she previously spent two years studying psychology and western philosophy at Harvard University, and currently divides her time between living in Montana and New York.

  • This video includes Jetsunma’s talk on the Perfection of Ethical Discipline. 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 hour and 40 mins. 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 (15 minutes)

  • You can practice together with this Eight-Minute Body Scan for Cultivating Mindfulness.
  • 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 how a mindful practice, such as a body scan, can help you cultivate more awareness in your life to help guide your path of ethical discipline?

🙏 Dedicate the merit (1 min)

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

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