New courses - fall 2009



Destructive Emotions

This course explores a perennial human predicament, the nature and destructive potential of "negative" emotions — when, for example, jealousy turns into murderous rage. The Buddhist tradition has long pointed out that recognizing and transforming negative emotions lies at the heart of spiritual practice. From the perspective of science, many of these same emotional states played a critical role in human survival—but now, in modern life, they pose grave dangers to our individual and collective fate.

Buddhism and Western philosophy/psychology offer different perspectives on the nature of emotions and when they become "destructive." In the first module of this course you can explore some of these perspectives as well as your relationship to negative emotions.

Once we have identified the destructive emotions and seen their causes and their detrimental effects, then we can ask what the antidote is for these afflictions. What is the medicine? How can we counteract them? The second module presents a 1500-year-old teaching on the destructive potential of one negative emotion— anger — and ways to develop patience as an antidote to the arising of anger.

The Heart Sutra: a gate to its context and history - Red Pine & Ashoka

The Heart Sutra has been beloved by Buddhists of many traditions for over 1500 years. It has also been been debated and analyzed in commentaries thoughout its history. In this getting started module we introduce the Heart Sutra, its history, and background information on the setting and story it tells. This getting started module is not a line-by-line commentary but rather a prelude to the many voices we will be offering on Ashoka

Meditation for Life - taught by Martine Batchelor


This course offers various ideas, suggestions, techniques and reflections that will enable you to explore meditation for yourself. Doing so will help you to uncover the qualities of compassion and wisdom that are already within you. In this course Martine Batchelor does not present any one Buddhist school but rather explains a variety of practices and ideas from different traditions -- ones that she has found to work for ordinary people in the modern world.

Zen Art for Meditation – taught by Stewart Holmes & Chimyop Horioka


This course offers you an opportunity to encounter 18 classical Chinese and Japanese ink paintings and, by reflecting on them, to experience certain insights into human nature and the universe. Each picture is accompanied by a brief commentary focused on a Zen tenet and illuminated by haiku poems. You can view the pictures and read the accompanying commentary and haikus. Or you are invited to use these offerings as a meditation instrument.