|Midwestern Dhamma Refuge
grounded in contemplative practice
for a peaceful, just, & sustainable society
What guides our meditation & daily practice of Dhamma? Right Understanding guides the path and itself arises from study & reflection. Consequently, Liberation Park encourages wise study of the Buddha's teaching as found in the Pali Suttas.
This page records the study topics since we moved to Wisconsin.
2006 Topics | 2007 Satipatthana | late 2007 Suttas
2009 Readings (upcoming topics) are here
An FAQ item on Sangha which addresses both the Sutta usage & the common modern usage, which is fairly different.
Worthy qualities & behavior of a bhikkhu (that is, of a sangha member, in one sense of the word)
Importance of kalyanamitta (spiritual friend) (that is, Sangha role in guiding practice)
Guidelines for living in harmony within community
As new forms of "lay sangha" to some degree take the role traditionally provided by monastics, serious lay practitioners need to also develop a fitting Vinaya (code of behavior, ethics, and lifestyle)
If folks would like to delve into Sangha in the more modern sense of the word:
Friends on the Path: Living Spiritual Communities
Joyfully Together: The Art of Building a Harmonious Community
"Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent, Master Gotama! The Dhamma has been made clear in many ways by Master Gotama, as though he were turning upright what had been overthrown, revealing the hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, holding up a lamp in the darkness for those with eyes to see forms. We go to Master Gotama for refuge, and to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha of bhikkhus. From today let Master Gotama accept us as followers who have gone to him for refuge for life."
Transcription of talk by Venerable Sister Sundara
"Insight Surpasses All" (AN 9:20, abridged; PDF scanned, apologies for large size)
Anguttara Nikaya 8:39
Anguttara Nikaya 11:12
The Triple Gem in Buddhism (March 1989): Part 1 | Part 2
SUNY Press, 1991, p. 236. Please focus on Chapters two, three, six & seven
Available from Wisdom. Please focus on the four lessons covering mindfulness of the body - chapters 3 & 4.
Available from Windhorse. Please focus on the chapters covering mindfulness of the body - chapter 6.
Available from Wisdom. Please focus on the second four lessons covering mindfulness of vedana (feeling) - chapter 5.
Available from Windhorse. Please focus on the chapters covering mindfulness of vedana - chapter 7.
Available from Wisdom. Please focus on the chapters covering vedana (feeling) & citta (mind) - chapters 5 & 6.
Available from Windhorse. Please focus on the chapters covering vedana & citta - chapters 7 & 8.
Available from Wisdom. Please focus on the chapters covering citta - chapter 6.
Available from Windhorse. Please focus on the chapters covering citta - chapter 8.
Available from Wisdom. Please focus on the four lessons covering mindfulness of Dhammas (chapter 7 & 8).
Available from Windhorse. Please focus on the chapters covering mindfulness of Dhammas (chapters 9-13).
Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, p. 934ff. [This translation is preferred; on-line translation is adequate.]
This session focuses on Path (the fourth noble truth). This wonderful sutta reframes the path in terms of Noble Right Concentration, then explains how all path factors are guided by right understanding, powered by right effort, and watched over by right mindfulness. Further, each factor of the path is discussed on ordinary (mundane) and transcendent levels. This noble path matures into right knowledge and right liberation.
For "extra credit," also take a look at the Mahasalayatanika Sutta (MN 149, MDB p. 1137) for further nuances of path, right understanding, and the noble truths.
Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, p. 349ff.
This sutta discusses some of the key ingredients of suffering, along with insights that liberate from suffering. It begins with a famous instance of confusion concerning consciousness that carries over to a new life. The Buddha sorts out this misunderstanding, in the process examining conditionality, 'food,' and dependent co-origination in various ways. It points to the centrality of craving and outlines the process of practice that 'destroys craving.'
Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, p. 965ff.
One of my favorite suttas. It provides an important Vipassana approach seldom noticed in the West (as well as traditonal Theravada circles), that utilizes samadhi as well as mindfulness. Through increasingly subtle fields of perception, the practitioner follows a "genuine, undistorted, pure descent into voidness" that culminates in the supreme, unsurpassed voidness (Nibbana). In fact, the insight process mapped out here is more in keeping with what the suttas usually teach than the popular vipassana practices of today.