Overview of the topics to be covered
Live sessions: Thursday, 7-8:30 pm, on the following dates:
- April 26
- May 3
- May 10
- May 17
- May 24
- May 31
Week I. Introduction to Impermanence: The Bedrock
Impermanence (called anicca in the ancient Pali language) is considered the bedrock of the Buddhist teaching and one of the three basic facts of existence. The other two are suffering and no (or not) self. Does the fact that everything is impermanent imply that we have to suffer or be dissatisfied with life? We will look a little deeper at the nature of reality and at our understanding of change.
Week II. Changes Big and Small
How do we experience change in our lives? Do we react to impermanence with resistance? We can start by training ourselves to recognize change in formal meditation. We can investigate change at the level of a microsecond and experience change over a lifetime. This can lead to insights into the nature of reality and eventually into a letting go of much of our suffering.
Week III. Change and the Three Messengers.
The three divine messengers were the Buddha’s original incentive into discovering the essential unsatisfactoriness of human existence. The three messengers are: old age, sickness, and death. As we all start on our journey of discovery, can we view life’s transitions in a different light? Change may be the basis for our dissatisfaction with life, but there is also the potential that understanding the transient nature of all things can lead to liberation.
Week IV. What’s Wrong with Just Feeling Blissful?
What kinds of choices do we make when we meditate and practice mindfulness? Do we really want to experience impermanence? This week we will examine our ideas about what this practice is designed to do and what our aspirations and intentions are when we practice meditation.
Week V. Change and No Self
Everything changes around us, but you and I are changing all the time as well! Who is this person we call our Self? Where do we find a firm footing? When we stop resisting change, the possibility of redefining ourselves can arise.
Week VI. Going Forth
How can our new perspectives on the concept of impermanence help us make sense of today’s overwhelming world? In this final week, we will examine how to engage with our loved ones and society with compassion. We can find the energy to integrate these insights into our lives and into in a very turbulent and cynical period in human history.