Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Perfection of Wisdom (free lecture series)

Dhr. Seven, Roshi Jeff Albrizze, Mara Schaeffer, Wisdom Quarterly
The Institute of Buddhist Studies (ICBS) Summer 2013 Lecture Series (Wisdom Quarterly)

Empty (Horus2004/flickr)
Dr. Lancaster dazzled a capacity crowd at Los Angeles' own Buddhist university, U. West, as he opened his free lecture series. He brought decades of academic expertise to the topic of emptiness (shunyata). Not only is the concept central to the Heart Sutra and the large body of Perfection of Wisdom (Prajna Paramita) literature, it is older than those later works. When speaking to him afterward, sharing that the recent visit by the enlightened Thai meditation master Ajahn Jumnien saw him liberally using the term far more than most Theravada practitioners, Lancaster pointed out an amazing thing: In ancient Theravada Buddhist terms, there are three kinds of samadhi (intensified concentration or collectedness of mind), one of them being emptiness. "People don't believe it," he assured us, "but there it is in Theravada." There are seven more lectures to go, running Tuesday through Friday this week and next. The free online feed is streaming to viewers around the world. More
Dr. Lancaster, U. of the West, Tuesday, June 18, 2013 (Wisdom Quarterly)
The Suñña Sutta (SN 35.85), part of the Pāli canon, relates that the Buddha's attendant Ven. Ānanda asked:
"'The world is empty! The world is empty,' it is said, venerable sir. In what sense may it be said that the world is empty?" The Venerable One replied, "Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self, thus is it said, Ānanda, that the world is empty."

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