I attended a class yesterday evening at Kadampa in Chelsea, New York City. The class started off with a 10 minute conversation about meditation led by the instructor, Taz. Taz then led the class into a 25 minute meditation- both guided with some moments of silence. The theme of the class was compassion- self compassion and compassion for others. ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀
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After meditating, the instructor read some parts of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s book, Modern Buddhism. It is the distillation of Geshe Kelsang’s life’s work of bringing Kadampa Buddhism to the contemporary world in practical and modern way. Taz read through some of the book and then would reflect on the concepts to help us integrate methods of Buddhism into our lives, continuing with the theme of compassion. She spoke about having a headache and how in that moment how irritating a headache could be. When thinking about how many people in the world have headaches, the headache’s annoyance could then dissipate. ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀
This reminded me of many concepts from one of my favorite books by Pema Chodron , “When Things Fall Apart.” Below are a few excerpts from the book that came to mind during class. ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀
🔹”Unwise selfish people think only of themselves, and they result is confusion and pain. Wise selfish people know that the best thing they can do for themselves is to be there for others. As a result, they experience joy.”⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀
🔹Tonglen is a practice to awaken our compassion. Whenever we encounter suffering in any form, the tonglen instruction is the breathe it in with the wish that everyone can be free of pain. Whenever we encounter happiness in any form, the instruction is to breathe it out, send it out, with the wish that everyone could feel joy. It is a practice that allows people to feel less burdened, a practice that shows us how to love without conditions.
Taz gave us a short homework exercise to do before next week’s class- to breathe in the pain/stress of someone we knew, then as we breathe out, to send happiness and joy their way.
The class was from 5:30-6:30 for only $10. They also have $5, 30 minute classes during lunch and after work during weekdays. I really liked this class and definitely recommend. It was really nice to go to a class that incorporated learning about Buddhism, meditation as well as self reflection.