Cultivating the Boundless Heart – the Brahma Viharas as a way of looking

Love tells me I am everything, wisdom tells me I am nothing. Between these two my life moves. Sri Nisargadatta

Dates: Wednesdays 25 September, 2, 9, 16, 30 October, 6, 13, 20 November

Time: 7 – 9.15pm
And a day of practice on Saturday 16 November, 10am – 5pm

Where: Friends Meeting House, St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3LW (the venue is accessible)

How might we understand and develop love and wisdom through our meditation practice and in our daily lives? What would it be like to see ourselves as both ‘everything’ and ‘nothing’? Do these ways of looking contradict each other, or might they point to a profound truth that we have the potential to realise?

This eight-week course, led by Brigid Avison and Kathryn Tulip, is an opportunity to explore ways in which we can cultivate two precious human capacities: the capacity for kindness, joy, compassion and equanimity (the brahma viharas); and the capacity to go beyond our habitual ways of looking and interacting with ourselves and `the world’. It will draw on meditative practices from the Buddhist tradition, and on our own insights into the challenges and possibilities of living our lives compassionately and wisely.

The Buddha taught that `With our thoughts we make the world’ – the world we inhabit is not something separate from us that we are just `travelling through’. Wisdom and kindness make sense at many levels, from the personal to the global. Whatever we can do to nurture these capacities is a gift both to ourselves and to every part of the web of life.

The sessions will combine meditation, teachings, reflection and discussion. It will be a `participatory’ exploration, drawing on the life experience of each of us. We will not be teaching basic meditation, so the course is for people who have some experience of sitting meditation, and are willing to make space in their lives to develop their practice and understanding between the sessions.

The fee for the course will be £65 (to cover costs). The teachings are offered for free and we will invite offerings of dana. We don’t want to turn people away, so if the cost of the course is prohibitive please get in touch.

If you would like to participate in the course and you can make all of the dates then please complete the short questionnaire at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VQQKDVG

If you have any questions about the course then please contact kathryn@riseup.net

This course is supported by Oxford Insight Meditation.

Brigid Avison – My experience of the joys, challenges and potential of Insight Meditation, including metta practice, began in the early 1990s. In 2008 I trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and taught courses in Oxford and Charlbury for several years. I have been a long-term member of the Oxford Insight Meditation co-ordinating team, and have attended many retreats at Gaia House. In recent years my practice and understanding have been greatly enriched and broadened by the teachings of Rob Burbea. In 2018 I graduated from the Community Dharma Leaders programme run by Gaia House, under the mentorship of Chris Cullen.

Kathryn Tulip I have been meditating in the Insight tradition for more than 10 years. I am a trainer and group facilitator and regularly teach meditation and dharma related courses, including the Engaged Buddhist Training, at the Ecodharma Centre in Catalunia. I am a member of the Oxford Insight Meditation co-ordination group and lead sessions for Oxford Insight Meditation’s weekly drop-in group and the Sunday Sangha. I am inspired by the teachings of Rob Burbea and Catherine McGee and have been to many retreats at Gaia House. I am currently a trainee in the Gaia House Community Dharma Leader’s programme.

This item was posted on 05/07/2019.