Time is short and getting shorter. You’ve tried meditation—you may even be a committed practitioner. But what does it take to actually realize the wisdom of all you have studied and practiced, to cut through complacency and live a truly meaningful, joyful life?
In this course, Tibetan Buddhist master Anyen Rinpoche and his teaching partner Allison Choying Zangmo share what it takes to achieve realization on the spiritual path. While the teachings presented are rooted in traditional, time-tested insights, they also speak directly to the particular challenges we face in the West. You’ll learn practices for opening your mind and heart, accepting reality as it is, and generating compassion for others who, like you, encounter countless difficulties in their quest to find happiness. This course is a practical and approachable means for bringing our practice alive and for actualizing the wisdom of the Buddha in our hearts.
Rinpoche and Allison present their teachings in a unique format. Rinpoche speaks from his deep knowledge and experience of Vajrayana Buddhism, and Allison reflects on the teachings from the perspective of the Western mind, helping to contextualize, digest, and integrate insights. They take turns in this way to provide a powerful course that we think will have a profound and long-term effect on participants.
This course will help you:
- Generate a sense of delight and joy for the preciousness of your life
- Train your mind in impermanence as a lived experience (rather than just an intellectual one)
- Discover your blind spots—situations where you habitually withhold compassion from others—and train instead in offering it
- See the habitual ways you try to avoid the painful aspects of your life and train instead in opening to them
- Use difficult circumstances as fuel to further your spiritual training, learning how to balance acceptance and action
- Overcome common obstacles that arise in relationships, both personal and those in spiritual communities
- Appreciate the challenging aspects of the student-teacher connection to benefit from them rather than hiding from them
The course includes:
Six video talks by Anyen Rinpoche and Allison Choying Zangmo—each about an hour-and-a-half in length—with transcripts and audio versions available
A 15-minute guided meditation instruction video
Contemplations and practices to help you integrate the teachings into your daily life
Guided reading assignments from the book, Living and Dying with Confidence, by Anyen Rinpoche and Allison Choying Zangmo
Unlimited access to the course
An Overview of What You’ll Learn:
Discovering the Meaning of Life
As human beings, much of our suffering arises because we feel isolated, alone, and disconnected from others. It’s all too easy to forget how much we have in common with other living beings. The Buddhist teachings say that we are all carried along the four great rivers of birth, sickness, aging, and death. No matter who we are, we all face difficulties and hardships, and we all have the ability to grow as spiritual beings. In this lesson, we’ll explore how both our joyful and our painful life experiences can be the basis for deepening our connection with others and discovering the innate treasure of our own heart and mind.
Adapting to Change
The Buddhist teachings speak at length on the impermanent nature of life, and many of us think that we have understood these teachings. On an intellectual level, we know that everything around us is changing moment by moment, but integrating the understanding of impermanence into the way we live is extremely difficult. It requires not only intellectual mastery, but also a deep emotional acceptance of the changes we face throughout our lives. In this lesson, we’ll explore this challenging topic, which is described by many Buddhist masters as “the key to all spiritual practice.”
Developing the Warmth of Connection
Bodhichitta, “awakened heart/mind,” is a transformative practice that teaches us how to develop unlimited love and compassion toward ourselves and others. How does this practice unfold? It begins with a simple feeling of warmth in the heart, welcoming home those parts of our body, heart, and mind that feel disconnected. This warmth kindles the flame of compassion and connection, bringing new life and vitality to our daily lives and relationships.
Settling into the Reality of Life
We often think that if only our lives could be arranged in exactly the right way, we would find happiness. But the reality of life is that unwanted situations, circumstances, and changes will come to us one after another as the days, weeks, and years pass. How do we find happiness in a world that will never give us exactly what we want? In this lesson, we’ll explore the possibility of using the suffering of life as nourishment for spiritual practice, so we can relax into the life we have.
Laying the Foundation
To face all the moments of our lives as well as the moment of death with confidence, there is nothing more important than daily practice. Daily practice is where we develop the spiritual tools that support us as we work through the challenges of our everyday life. After all, nothing can be built on a weak or cracked foundation. If we want to develop the spiritual strength to support both ourselves and others during the trials and hardships of life, we must be able to rely upon the strength of our own minds and hearts. In this lesson, we’ll explore the method for developing, or further developing, a daily practice and relying upon spiritual guidance.
Discovering Our Unlimited Wealth
In Western culture, we are taught to do almost everything on our own. But as spiritual practitioners, there is a wealth of support surrounding us at every moment. We discover this wealth by contemplating and practicing the dharma under the guidance of a spiritual master, surrounded by a spiritual community. In this lesson, we’ll explore how we can relax into a spiritual community and work toward the goal of harmony with ourselves and others.
Anyen Rinpoche is a tulku from Amdo, a Tibetan master of Dzogchen meditation as well as a seasoned scholar. He has taught extensively in Tibet, China, and throughout Southeast Asia, Japan, and North America. He is the author of numerous books including The Union of Dzogchen and Bodhichitta and The Tibetan Yoga of the Breath. He lives primarily in Denver, Colorado, where he founded Orgyen Khamdroling Center and a shedra (college) for Westerners.
Allison Choying Zangmo is Anyen Rinpoche's personal translator and a longtime student of both Rinpoche and his root lama, Kyabje Tsara Dharmakirti. She has either translated or collaborated with Rinpoche on all of his books and has a special ability to translate Buddhist teachings for the Western mind.
If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, please e-mail us within 30 days of registering for the course, and we will promptly refund your purchase price.
Important Note on Browser Requirements
We are partnering with Instructure.com’s online learning platform Canvas to offer this course. Canvas supports the last two versions of every browser release.
Canvas supports the following versions of Flash and popular web browsers:
- Internet Explorer 11 and Edge
- Chrome 56 and 57
- Safari 9 and 10 (Macintosh only)
- Firefox 51 and 52 (Extended Releases are not supported)
- Flash 23 and 24 (used for recording or viewing audio/video and uploading files)
We highly recommend updating to the newest version of whatever browser you are using as well as the most up-to-date Flash plugin. If you cannot update your browser to one of the above versions, you will not be able to access this course. Some supported browsers may still produce a banner stating Your browser does not meet the minimum requirements for Canvas. If you have upgraded your browser but still see the warning banner, try logging out of Canvas and deleting your browser cookies.