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Four Views of Reality: An Experiential Exploration of Tibetan Buddhism’s Four Schools of Emptiness (Day 4)
March 30 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
About this course
Indo-Tibetan Buddhism posits four progressively subtler understandings of reality, in particular, exploring what “self” and “objects” may or may not be. Monks, nuns, and serious students of Buddhism study these different views, called “tenets” that were developed 1500-2000 years ago.
The topics can be tricky to understand, and it’s hard to remember the schools’ specific Sanskrit names of Vaibhashika (Great Exposition), Sautantrika (Sutra), Cittamatra (Mind Only), and Madhyamaka (Middle Way). Simplified, these four views posit the “ultimate” nature of reality progressively from a view that believes in indivisible atoms and moments of consciousness, to a view of reality where living beings and objects are wholly interdependent, impermanent, and infinitely divisible into sub-parts that are merely labeled out of convenience by our minds.
This course doesn’t attempt to explain these 4 schools with academic rigor, but rather offers an experiential tour of the schools through meditation, where we try and see reality through each of the school’s lenses. In meditation, we’ll look openly and critically at how reality feels according
to each school. And we’ll honestly consider whether our own view aligns with one or more of these views without uncritically accepting the most advanced “correct” view without contemplation.
One outcome of such graded meditation is that we may come to see the benefits and level of truth in each school (for example, seeing that the Vaibashika view may map closely to our current scientific understanding of reality). We may also discover that, even though we know the “correct” answer for the highest school of reality, that our minds currently find more comfort or truth in one of the other schools.
Like the invitation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nagarjuna, and other proponents of a critical approach to Buddhist teachings, this course is an adventure in trying to directly experience four schools of reality and see what we discover!
Is this for me?
Yes! Regardless of whether you belong to a particular spiritual tradition or none, this course will give you tools to meditatively probe the various ways we experience and interpret our own existence and that of the phenomena around us. All that’s needed is an open and inquisitive mind!
What can I expect?
A series of profound meditations guided gently.
About the facilitator
Scott Snibbe is the founder and host of the meditation podcast ‘A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment’. Snibbe is a twenty-year student of Tibetan Buddhism whose teachers include Geshe Ngawang Dakpa, Choden Rinpoche, Ven. Rene Feusi, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Jampa, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Inspired by his teachers, he leads meditations that infuse the pure lineage of the great Buddhist masters with science, humor, and the realities of the modern world. Over the course of a career as a digital artist and entrepreneur, Snibbe has created bestselling art, music, and social apps, and collaborated with musicians and filmmakers including Björk, James Cameron, and Philip Glass. His interactive exhibits have been collected by both science and art museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
About our Generosity Model
No one will be turned away because of lack of funds. If the existing tier options are not accessible for you, please email [email protected] to request additional financial support. Everyone is welcome, regardless of what you can pay. We want to help find a pricing plan that is workable for your situation.