A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment in 12 Meditations
September 19 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
About A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment in 12 Meditations
This course presents a 12-topic developmental sequence of meditations that bring out our best qualities, help us manage life’s difficulties, and enhance our ability to be of benefit to the world. Its topics range from the preciseness of life and accepting impermanence to expanding compassion and understanding the interdependent nature of reality. This secular version of the Tibetan Buddhist lamrim (Stages of the Path) was developed by A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment to allow people interested in the profound benefits of analytical meditation to benefit from Buddhist mind training techniques without requiring belief in aspects of reality unverifiable by modern science like past and future lives, karma, and other realms.
Is this for me?
Absolutely! This course is designed for anyone who is interested in Buddhism (beginner or more advanced) and would like to bring Buddhist philosophy into their daily lives.
What can I expect?
Each class combines a talk and meditation on one topic, Q&A, and online discussion. Though this presentation is designed for a secular audience, it is still presented in the same manner as the traditional lamrim as a sequence of graded topics that gradually move the mind toward greater happiness, wisdom, and interconnection. Committed Buddhists have also found the course valuable in bringing a modern scientific approach to age-old Buddhist topics, and addressing some of the thornier questions that come up for westerners learning about the Buddhist path.
“The time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”
— The Dalai Lama. Beyond Religion, 2011
Each of the twelve classes addresses one lamrim topic from a secular perspective. The class is divided into a lecture, guided meditation, and group discussion. Meditation on each topic is encouraged during the week following the class, but not required. Drop-ins are welcome to any individual class. And an online forum is available for questions and discussion during the week between classes.
- Class 1. What is Meditation? – What is meditation? What are its benefits? How does it develop our best human qualities? What is not meditation? The basics of a meditation session and the difference between stabilizing and analytical meditation.
- Class 2. What is the Mind? The primacy of the mind in the role of experiencing existence, the various aspects of mind, how we can familiarize ourselves with the mind and how it can be transformed.
- Class 3. The Preciousness of Life – Establishing a deep appreciation and gratitude for the miracle of existence, our place in the universe, gratitude for what we have, and the potential for positive growth in each new day alive.
- Class 4. Embracing Impermanence – Embracing the inevitable change in everyone and everything to develop an acceptance of change and seize the power and potential of every moment.
- Class 5. Mental Cause and Effect – Searching for the causes and effects that shape our inner experience by examining our thoughts, habits, and reactions to understand how we can transform our mind.
- Class 6. What Do You Do When You’re Alone? – Developing a strong inner confidence in our potential to transform our own mind, and exploring what we do and where we seek refuge when we are alone.
- Class 7. Am I More Important Than Anyone Else in the Universe? – Understanding the types of suffering we all experience and witness in the world and learning to let go of the causes behind our suffering.
- Class 8. The Determination to Be Free – Understanding the transient nature of life, our inner habits, and outer influences, through self-compassion, we develop the resolve to let go of anger, craving, and self-centeredness, the causes of our suffering.
- Class 9. What is Love? – Supported by altruistic Buddhist mind training techniques and modern psychology, we learn to develop compassion for ourselves and all life through a universal wish for happiness and freedom from suffering. We explore two specific techniques for training the mind in love and compassion: equanimity (which we call spiritual democracy) and universalizing our pleasures and pains.
- Class 10. How Things Exist – We delve into the Buddhist views of the interdependent nature of reality combining traditional Buddhist logic with a modern scientific understanding of physical reality and neuroscience: things can be broken down into parts, things change, and all things are interconnected, coming about through causes and conditions.
- Class 11. Who Am I? – We ask this question Who Am I? systematically and discover that the root of our problems is clinging to an unrealistic view of the self as separate, independent from others and from the universe around us.
- Class 12. A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment – A concluding session in which we meditate on all 9 topics in order—mind, preciousness of life, impermanence, mental cause and effect, refuge, letting go of suffering, determining to be free, love & compassion, and the interdependent nature of reality—that progressively develop the mind. Practicing in everyday life.
About Scott Snibbe
Scott Snibbe is the executive director of A Skeptic’s Path to Enlightenment, a nonprofit organization and popular podcast dedicated to teaching secular forms of analytical meditation. Snibbe is a longtime 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.
In addition to his work teaching meditation, Snibbe is a digital artist who has created bestselling art and music apps and interactive art installations. He has collaborated with musicians and filmmakers including Björk, James Cameron, and Philip Glass and his interactive art has been collected by both science and art museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
How to Join?
If you would like to join, please sign up below and join us on Zoom!
Drop-ins are welcome to any individual class.
You will also have access to Jamyang’s LearnDash environment, where you can join our discussion group and exchange views with your peers.
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.