Curriculum for the well-rounded Buddhist

This is a (draft) curriculum for advanced Buddhist study and practice at the Sitagu Buddhist Vihara in Austin, TX. This gives a well-rounded training comprehending both life in community as a Buddhist and the path of higher practice toward personal awakening. Participation in the various topic areas can assume a number of forms, such as classes, seminars or formal retreats; directed individual or small group study or practice; informal group efforts.

We particular encourage people to satisfy the requirements of a study/practice program for each topic area in BLUE below. Requirements and certification will be worked out in the near future. The program begins with the study course Buddhist Life/Buddhist Path, which has been offered twice yearly as a 12-week class for a number of years, but which can also be pursued individually.

Anyone interested in pursuing a particular study area should contact Bhikkhu Cintita directly. If enough people express interest in a common topic, we might plan a class or simply informal group meetings. Otherwise the topic can be a matter of directed individual study/practice.

Introduction to Buddhism.

Buddhist Life/Buddhist Path (study). Twelve-week course based on textbook of that name, offered twice a year. More here.

Buddhist Life.

Refuges and Precepts (practice). This is the traditional starting point of all Buddhist practice. This involves a series of meetings with a teacher to discuss how these are working out in daily life. Helpful texts are Ven. Faxun, One Life Five Precepts, and …

Generosity (practice). This entails taking up an ongoing effort on behalf of others. This can take the form of the support of monastery and the monastics, which is very traditional. It can take the form of communal public service projects organized at SBV; for instance, we might foreseeably organize a prison program. It might take the form of  external activities, such as service in hospice. Clearly, how this might be satisfied depends on individual life circumstances and livelihood.

Mindfulness training (practice). Mindfulness is to keep the Dhamma in mind throughout the day. It  involves monitoring our behaviors and intentions according to the standards we have set for ourselves. It manifests as a sense uprightness and develops purity of mind. It is also the primary quality we bring into our meditation practice, see below.

Formal/ritual practices. These practices support refuge and our commitment to other aspects of practice/study, and allow us to harmonize with the broader community. Results may vary. Aspects include:

  • Chanting/recitation, paying homage.
  • Pali pronunciation. Listed here as a support for recitation.
  • Community etiquette.
  • Vinaya for laypeople. This is helpful for understanding the standards that the monastics with whom we interact, live under. An excellent source is Bhikkhu Ariyesako, The Bhikkhus’ Rules: a guide for laypeople.

Topics in Buddhist Life (study). Particular topics can be pursued depending on individual interest. Examples include voluntary simplicity, engaged Buddhism, Buddhism in society, Buddhist economics, etc.

Monastic training (practice). Novice, monk, nun training in residence.

Buddhist Path

Meditation (practice). This is mediation based in mindfulness integrated with concentration, as described in the EBT, in the satipatthana and anapanasati texts, in factors of awakening and the jhana descriptions. We support meditation periods at SBV, and instruction HERE.

Befriending the suttas (study). Primary text: Bhikkhu Bodhi, In the Buddha’s Words, Nikaya collections. This topic has been supported as described HERE.

Selected secondary readings in Dhamma (study). A list of readings, primarily by modern authors, will be compiled, that provide insight and clarity in understanding the Dhamma.

Overview of Buddist history (study). The historical development of the sasana and the differences among the various schools.

Pali language (study). Knowledge of Pali is a wonderful support for those advanced students who want to go deeply into a detailed understanding early Buddhist texts.

Advanced Topics in Dhamma (study). Buddhism has an enormous literature and a history of many great thinkers. Individuals may be interested in pursuing such things as Abhidhamma, Mahayana scriptures, Madyamika philosophy, mind only philosophy, etc.

Special Topics

  • Buddhism for kids.
  • Recovery, depression, etc.
  • Burmese language.


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