This is to be done by one skilled in aims Who wants to break through To the state of peace: . . . As a mother would risk her life To protect her child, her only child, Even so should one cultivate a limitless heart With regard to all beings. Khuddakapatha 9, trns Thanissaro Bhikkhu…

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If we misuse the dharma it can come back to bite us: this is the upshot of one famous sutta. We will look at this sutta and consider some of its implications for our approach to the Buddha’s teachings both online and in person. Suttas discussed in this video: Alagaddūpama Sutta Kālāma Sutta (Kesaputtiya)

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Many contemporary Buddhists make prayer part of their practice. We will look at the early texts to see what the Buddha seems to have thought about such activities. Ken McLeod’s article on Buddhist prayer in Tricycle magazine (may be paywalled): “Where the Thinking Stops“. Suttas mentioned: Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.43 Saṃyutta Nikāya 42.6

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We’ll look at three ways that Buddhism isn’t a religion, focusing on early Buddhism in particular. Of course, Buddhism has religious aspects. However it also can be seen as something entirely non-religious, more in the vein of a school of philosophy.

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Why and how should we read the early Buddhist texts? We’ll go through three reasons to read them, and outline three strategies to use when approaching them. Four texts to start with: (1) The Buddha’s “First Sermon” (2) The Kālāma Sutta (3) The Water Snake Sutta (4) The Dhammapada (There is also a very good translation…

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Academic study of early Buddhism has waned to near nothing, if a recent editorial by eminent scholar Richard Gombrich is anything to go on. In today’s video I’ll discuss why this should concern us.  

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What are the so-called “formless jhānas” or formless attainments in meditation? That’s one of the questions left on the cutting room floor after my video on Right Concentration. We’ll also tackle the question of how concentration meditation has tended to be sidestepped in a modern context.

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The last stage along the Eightfold Path is Right Concentration. What sort of skills did this imply, at least in the context of early Buddhism? We will look at some of the Buddha’s famous similes in order to make sense of the training.

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Mindfulness meditation is increasingly popular nowadays, but its roots go back to early Buddhist texts associated with the seventh stage along the Eightfold Path. We will delve a little into these texts and attempt to flesh out the key aspects of mindfulness meditation in the early tradition.

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Right effort is one of the more overlooked aspects of the Eightfold Path but may also be one of the most important. We’ll discuss the four parts of right effort and how to distinguish effort from “efforting”.

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