BUDDHIST HISTORY FOR BUDDHIST PRACITIONERS: Lopon Rita has been developing a course on Buddhist history that demonstrates the relevance of historical consciousness to Buddhist practitioners. Most North American Buddhists know very little about Buddhism in general, even though they may know a great deal about their specific denomination of Buddhism. Often they also do not know much about the historical development of the form of Buddhism they practice. Accurate knowledge of Buddhist history can have a positive effect on one’s practice in many ways. This course is suitable for all Buddhist centers and can be of varying lengths, though a weekend is required for the basic workshop. Ideally, several weekends over several months or years would give Buddhist practitioners a thorough grounding in Buddhist history.
EXCUSE ME, BUT WHAT’S THE QUESTION: ISN’T RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY NORMAL?: Rita Gross has long involvement with issues of theology of religious diversity, Buddhist-Christian dialogue, and multi-faith work. She has co-taught with notable Christian theologians, such as Paul Knitter and Rosemary Ruether. One of her more popular lectures discusses why inter-religious exchange is so important in the modern world and how to go about such interchange in a fruitful, non-threatening way. Lectures on this topic are appropriate for seminaries, universities, churches, and all other religious institutions.
FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS—THE BUDDHA’S FIRST TEACHING: After his enlightenment experience, Siddhartha Gautama, now the Buddha, made the momentous decision to teach others what he had discovered. His first disciples were five companions with whom he had earlier struggled to find enlightenment. He spoke to them in a short sermon that contained four claims—the Four Noble Truths that have been the foundation of Buddhism from that day until now. On this basis, Buddhism spread around the world and from that simple foundation, a multitude of texts, meditation practices, and philosophical systems have evolved. The Four Noble Truths are deceptively simple. They can be memorized in a few minutes but it requires a lifetime of contemplation to experience their profundity. In this workshop, we will delve into these foundational teachings of Buddhism, with readings, contemplations, meditations, and teachings by Rita Gross. Rita Gross first became a Buddhist when she experienced insight into the profundity of these teachings and has focused on them ever since, for more that thirty-five years. Presented in a warm, simple style, this workshop is suitable for all Buddhist and academic contexts.
HOW CLINGING TO GENDER SUBVERTS ENLIGHTENMENT: For decades Rita M. Gross has been known as a groundbreaking voice regarding issues of Buddhism and gender. She can present single lectures or longer workshops on a wide variety of topics pertaining to Buddhism and gender, ranging from an overview lecture to workshops on Buddhist female role models to discussions of how clinging to gender subverts the basic Buddhist goal of enlightenment. Her presentations on this topic are very flexible and can be adapted to any academic or Buddhist context.
FOUR REMINDERS: The four reminders—the preciousness of human birth, impermanence, karma, and the unsatisfactory quality of conventional life—are a cornerstone of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist teaching and are relevant to anyone trying to understand the Buddhist worldview. In this workshop, we will delve into these foundational teachings of Buddhism, with readings, contemplations, meditations, and teachings by Rita Gross. This workshop is suitable for all Buddhist and academic contexts.
INTRODUCTION TO BUDDHISM AND BUDDHIST MEDITATION: Appropriate especially for seminaries and universities, this workshop provides both a practical and a theoretical introduction Buddhism for those unfamiliar with this religion.
To arrange for talks, workshops, and teachings by Rita Gross, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.