Ashoka is a new forum
for teaching, learning and practicing Dharma — a Web-based interactive
learning environment designed around authentic Buddhist practices.
Ashoka will use the reach and instructional efficacy of internet-based
distance learning to skillfully empower people around the world to
incorporate the teachings of the Buddha—the Buddhadharma—into
Ashoka will deliver
an extensive curriculum in Buddhist teachings and practices — courses
designed and taught by our most respected Dharma teachers from a broad
spectrum of traditions — to those who do not have direct access
to a teacher or dharma center. By removing the obstacles of time, distance,
and cost, we will make the high quality of learning now accessible
only in traditional spiritual community settings available to anyone,
anywhere, with a computer and internet connection.
By offering courses
designed and taught by adepts from a wide range of traditions, those
new to the Dharma will be able to experience the teachings and methods
of various traditions and teachers before choosing where and with whom
online study center ~
Offering a broad curriculum taught by inspirational teachers
from many traditions. Self-paced courses of varying lengths,
as well as 8 - 10 week enrolled classes with student-student
and student-teacher interaction. Extensive learning resources
such as a library, bookstore and online discussions.
single gate to the many doors of Dharma teaching and practice ~
Ashoka will provide a single, nonsectarian entry gate to a rich
mandala of Buddhadharma classes. Informed by their experience
in this open teaching environment, students can make educated
choices when seeking a teacher and sangha.
consortium ~ A supported group of teachers, Dharma
centers, and publishers seeking to use the Web to reach and teach
those interested in the Dharma. By partnering with Ashoka, our
consortium teachers can avail themselves of Ashoka's expertise
in developing and delivering online classes and reach a wide
and growing audience of interest in the Dharma.
bridge between Western and Asian practitioners and sanghas ~ By
introducing the converts who make up the majority of Buddhism’s
early audience in the West to the traditions and teachings of Buddhist
groups and teachers they would otherwise be unlikely to encounter,
Ashoka will help to bridge the current gap between Asian and Western
path of study ~
While there are burgeoning opportunities in the west for meditation
instruction, similar opportunities for study and guided reflection
are much rarer. It is through reflecting on what we hear and read
that the wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings becomes our own
and can be applied in our lives and in the world. Ashoka offers
guidance on the paths of listening and learning, discussion and
reflection, and insight.
path of action ~
We at Ashoka believe strongly that individual and social transformation
go hand-in-hand. Ashoka will teach and encourage meditation in
action—engaging the world with wisdom and ethical action
In addition to the teachings on interdependence and such wisdom
teachings as the Four Noble Truths, the Paramitas and the Brahma-Viharas,
Ashoka will offer training and teaching in such areas of applied
engagement such as social justice, peacemaking, environmentalism,
caring for the sick and dying, and working with the incarcerated.
learning community ~ A supportive virtual community
of learners communicating via discussions, chat and email. While
not a substitute for a real sangha, Ashoka will offer guidance
for those seeking a sangha.
Ashoka is not yet
another Buddhism Web portal. Portals are wonderful services that index
and organize links to existing materials on the Web. Ashoka
is creating a new curriculum of interactive and engaging courses designed
expressly for Web delivery, developed in partnership with teachers
from the Ashoka consortium of Dharma centers and monasteries. Our web
site is our vehicle, one that can skillfully guide participants on
the path - a web site as upaya.