2021 Book nights: not yet confirmed

2020 Spring book nights: Training in Compassion: Exploring the Lojong tradition

Over October 2020 we held four book nights on Zoom, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesdays

Dates: 7, 14, 21, and 28 October 2020

Format: The  format for each night is roughly the same: time to catch-up with each other, a short talk from whoever is leading the night, small group discussion and then a wrap-up all together again.  You are welcome to come to all or just some of the nights. 

Other useful information:

  • For a introduction to the Lojong tradition (and Shantideva's link to Lojong), see this Reader's Guide
  • Norman Fischer's book "Training in Compassion: Zen teachings on the practice of Lojong" is widely available. There are three copies of this available at the Auckland Public Library and one copy in the AZC library. The book is available to buy in paperback, kindle and audiobook formats.
  • Pema Chodron's book on Lojong is called "Start where you are". First published in 1994, it remains a classic well worth reading too. 

2020 Autumn Book nights: Shantideva's The Way of the Bodhisattva 

During autumn 2020 we explored Shantideva's classic text on the Bodhisattva path on Wednesday evenings. The book nights were held on Zoom, hosted by Hanya, Sensei and senior students, and were a chance to explore this text among Dharma friends. 

Although this book night series has finished, this is a wonderful text that you may wish to explore on your own at anytime. Check out this useful Reader's Guide if The Way of the Bodhisattva is new to you. There are many translations, but two that are available as eBooks from the Auckland Public Library are 

  • The Way of the Bodhisattva by the Padmakara Translation Group 
  • No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva by Pema Chodron (this has text from the the Padmakara Translation Group and a warm-hearted and accessible commentary by Pema Chodron. It is also available as an audio book from the library).
Here are some of the other translations that we are using in the book group:

Ideas for reading:

The text isn't always immediately accessible (but it is worth the effort!). Here are some ideas that might help, adapted from Pema Chodron's study guidelines in No Time to Lose.

  • Read out loud. Traditionally The Way of the Bodhisattva is read aloud, and it is an excellent way of hearing the poetry in the text.
  • Choose a stanza. After you have read a chapter, go back and select a stanza that really stands out for you. Write it down on a card and put it somewhere you can see it. You may want to memorise it and repeat it while out walking or just let it be with you through your week.
  • Record your responses. It can be helpful to keep a notebook and record your responses to each chapter you read, along with any other notes you want to make from the commentaries you might be reading too. Your might want to record your chosen stanza too and record what it means to you.
  • Keep a sense of enquiry. Approach with curiosity and a lightness of touch. You don't have to believe everything (or anything!) in the text.

Links to other resources:

First Book night: Overview and Chapter 1.
Second Book Night: Chapters 2 & 3 and the 7-Fold Puja.
Third book night: Chapter 6 and working with anger

Fourth book night: Chapter 10 and dedication of merit