Dharma study offered at Chuang Yen Monastery
The Dharma study class held at the Chuang Yen Monastery and supported by the Buddhist Association of the United States begins its sixth year at the Templeon Saturday, Sept. 10. Classes take place every other week on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Woo Ju Library located at the Chuang Yen Monastery on Route 301 inCarmel. In the class, attendees will learn Buddhism with a focus on seeking to balance the practice and pursuit of knowledge. The class is open to people who are new to Buddhist concepts, as well as to experienced practitioners and to people who are curious. “The beginner’s mind is the purest mind,” said Fernando Camacho, teacher and co-coordinator of the program. “All of the students and teachers learn from each other, regardless of how many years they have been studying Buddhism. Often our newest students have a fresh perspective on the teachings that everyone in the class benefits from.”
The class was designed to be a three-year course of study, with the first year an introduction to Buddhism that focuses on an ecumenical approach to study. The second year concentrates on the study of Buddhist sutras, or teachings of the Buddha. The third year focuses on Buddhist psychology. The classes are taught by ordained lay Buddhist teachers, ordained lay Buddhist priests and monastics. “Students of the Dharma study class don’t have to be Buddhist or even have plans of becoming a Buddhist, said Maeve Eng-Wong, teacher and co-coordinator of the class. “We have had students who have used the class and the teachings of Buddhism to enrich their own religious beliefs.”
The program incorporates a reading list of 8-10 books each year. Each class begins with meditation, incense offerings and chanting. During the next hour and a half, students present the book assigned for that class. Mentors provide help to beginners presenting topics that may be new or unfamiliar. The presentation is followed by 15 minutes of walking meditation and then a group discussion on a relevant Buddhist topic. Class participants are encouraged, but not required, to eat lunch together at the end of class. The class includes three “days of mindfulness” designed to offer students more opportunities for intensive practice and Dharma study. While remaining true to Buddha’s teachings, class members explore Buddhism in theUnited States. Students are encouraged to share and explore ways that Buddhism influences their lives and expresses itself in American culture.
Students of the Dharma Study Class are asked to make a “suggested” donation of $125 for the year-long program. Most of the money is donated to the Temple. To sign up for the class, contact Maeve Eng-Wong at 914-522-9044 or [email protected] The class schedule, list of books and additional information is available at www.dharmatraining.org.
Photo courtesy of Chuang Yen Monastery