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Module One: The Four Noble Truths

13-14 January3-4 February and 3-4 March

with David Midgley

The Foundation of Buddhist Thought is a two year part-time study programme developed by Geshe Tashi Tsering to deepen your understanding of the philosophy, psychology and practices of Tibetan Buddhism – the path to greater happiness, wisdom and peace of mind.

Taught by David Midgley at Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds, each of the 6 modules consist of approximately thirty hours of teaching, meditation, and discussion over three weekends a term.

The first year you will study the basis of Buddhist Philosophy: The Four Noble Truths, Ultimate Truth & Relative Truth, and Buddhist Psychology. The second year focuses on the practice aspect of Buddhism: The Awakening Mind, Emptiness and An Overview of Tantric Paths and Grounds,

Who is this course for:

This course is most suited to individuals who have some knowledge of Buddhism and Buddhist practices and would like to deepen their understanding through study, reflection, discussion and meditation within a group of committed Dharma students.

How to register:

Please book for the complete module using the ‘book’ button at the top of the page, or email smile@jamyangleeds.co.uk.

The course is designed to be of greatest benefit if people commit to attending a full module at a time. However, if you are not able to attend all the sessions for a given module, please contact the course leader, David Midgley, by emailing smile@jamyangleeds.co.uk to discuss what will best meet your needs.

If you would like to discuss if the course is suitable for you, you can also contact David Midgley by emailing smile@jamyangleeds.co.uk.

The suggested donation for each module is £75 or £225 per year (3 modules).

Please note due to the structure of the course it is not possible to join mid-way through a module.

Optional certification is available on this course. Each module will be assessed through written work which will be commented on by the course tutor.

Course Overview and dates:

Year One

The Four Noble Truths – 13-14 January, 3-4 February and 3-4 March

The Four Noble Truths Sutra is the Buddha’s first and most essential teaching. It contains the framework of all the many discourses he gave during his forty-year teaching career. All Buddhist traditions accept the Four Noble Truths as the basis of the Buddhist philosophy of life and spiritual practice. The Four Noble Truths are:  1) The fact of suffering – all beings suffer in many ways and all wish to be free from suffering; 2) the cause of suffering – contrary to our usual belief, the real, fundamental cause of suffering is not something external to ourselves but it arises from within our own mind;  3) the cessation of suffering – because it originates from the mind, it is possible to eliminate its causes and hence to become free from suffering; and 4) the path to the cessation of suffering – the Noble Eightfold Path that provides a step-by-step method to remove the causes of suffering from the mind and bring about the causes of true, lasting happiness and peace.

Relative Truth, Ultimate Truth – May to July 2018

This module looks at relative and ultimate truth and how an understanding of each is vital to progress on the path. Using the progressively subtler views of the four main Buddhist philosophical schools, we look at how our perception of reality is obscured or clarified depending on what we hold to be true.

Buddhist Psychology – September to December 2018

This module looks at the mind as it is taught in Tibetan Buddhism, particularly the mind and mental factors.

Year Two

The Awakening Mind – January to March  2019

Looking at the importance of compassion in our lives and the traditional techniques for developing bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment.

Emptiness – May to July 2019

Looking at the most profound view of emptiness – the view that brings release from samsara – as expounded by the Middle Way Prasangika school.

An Overview of Tantric Paths and Grounds – September to Dec 2019

Looking in depth at what tantra is and what it means to do a vajrayana practice, based on a detailed study of the Guhyasamaja practice. The module is extraordinary in the way this profound and very esoteric subject is made accessible.

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About the Teacher: David Midgley

David Midgley studied philosophy at Manchester, Oxford and York from 1971 to 1985.  He met with Tibetan Buddhism in 1980, received his initiation from Lama Zopa Rinpoche a year later and began teaching Buddhism in 1995, under the guidance of Geshe Tashi Tsering.  In 1996 he founded Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds, serving as its Director for five years and Assistant Director for a further four years, and for the last ten years has been a Trustee of the Centre.

In 2013, David was approved as a certified teacher for the Foundation of Buddhist Thought programme, and taught the full programme at Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds over the succeeding two years.  In addition to teaching at Jamyang Leeds, he now also leads two other Buddhist groups, in York and Hull.

About the Author:  Geshe Tashi Tsering

Geshe Tashi Tsering was born in Tibet in 1958 and received his Geshe Lharampa degree (similar to a doctorate in divinity) from Sera Monastery in India in 1987. He gained the highest marks possible at every level of the sixteen year course. In 1991 the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked him to take up a three-year appointment at Nalanda Monastery in France to teach advanced level Tibetan Buddhist philosophy to Western students.

Since 1994, he has been the guiding teacher of the Jamyang Buddhist Centre in London, while also teaching at other Buddhist centers worldwide. Geshe Tashi is also one of the principal translators for His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet when he visits Europe.

“Geshe Tashi’s systematic approach to Buddhist thought allows readers to gradually but surely enhance their knowledge of Buddhism without feeling overwhelmed.” —Eastern Horizon

“Geshe Tashi’s insights can be enjoyed by a wide audience of both specialists and newcomers to the Buddhist tradition.”—Thupten Jinpa, Director of the Institute of Tibetan Classics

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