Dharma Discovery 2010-2011

Our meetings will include activities from the following:

  • Yoga
  • Walking Meditation
  • Focusing Activities
  • Meditation (various kinds)
  • Group-building activities
  • Theme-focused discussion
  • Occasional reading youth-oriented zen/Buddhist materials such as The Book of Zen or Buddhist Manga materials.
  • Viewing/listening to some AV materials , things found on the web, perhaps a song, maybe a portion of a DVD, …
  • Snack-time
  • Service
  • Play time

This year we spent time learning about the five aggregates, experientially by exploring them in our meditation, as well as through reflection and discussion.  We further explored our mental landscape by studying the six realms of existence, understanding them psychologically.  Again, we tried to use meditation to explore these along with discussion and reflection.  The concepts of both the five aggregates and the six realms of existence were reviewed through games developed called “Top of the Heaps” and “The Six Realms.”  I hope to come back to developing these games further. 

For those who might not be familiar with these topics and have an interest in learning more I give two links in wikipedia to the topics we covered:

The Five Aggregates (also known as the Five Skandas)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skandha

The Six Realms of Existence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_realms

I would further note that we were not exploring these concepts at a theoretical level, nor interested in particularly thorough understanding of all aspects of these topics, but I was mainly interested in developing some self awareness as they begin to learn to recognize different mental experiences and states, and recognize both feelings (in the technical sense here which is pleasant/neutral/unpleasant) and mental formations, which are the fixed habitual ways we respond to our experience.  The six realms are further ways to reflect on certain habitual realms we find ourselves living our lives in (anger, desire, envy, mindlessness, business, and removed from those around us).

Below I’ve left the initial plan I had for the year, which upon further reflection seemed a bit over the kids heads at this age and was put aside for another time.

Initial Dharma Discovery Study Theme for the Year: Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts

Some alternative formulations are:

http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Zen_Buddhist_Precepts_-_with_Commentaries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva_Precepts

http://www.tricycle.com/-practice/the-sixteen-bodhisattva-precepts

http://www.dogensangha.org/downloads/Pdf/Precepts.pdf

http://www.ciolek.com/WWWVLPages/ZenPages/Koans-PCP.html

http://www.everydayzen.org/index.php?option=com_teaching&task=studyguide&topic=Precepts&Itemid=27

http://www.everydayzen.org/index.php?Itemid=27&option=com_teaching&topic=Precepts&sort=title&studyguide=true&task=viewTeaching&id=text-798-207

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