Audio

Tidy Up! Clean up your practice with Larry

Greetings from New Mexico!

Summer is in full swing! How is your heart? We wish you well and hope you are taking good care in the midst of the chaos, sadness, beauty and potential of the world. We have a lot to share with you this month. Sorry for the long absence! Without further ado….

We are excited to announce the launch of The Virtual Academy, Lotus Institute’s home for online courses, and our first course, The Four Reliances; Tidy Up with Dr. Larry Ward. This course is for anyone who wants to go deeper into their practice beyond getting caught in linguistics or surface meaning. As many of you know, the Virtual Academy has been a long time coming, and we are happy to offer this first course as a free course. It’s 4 weeks featuring a short (3-5 min) dharma talk each week and suggested practice homework.

The theme of Tidy Up was inspired by Larry’s study and practice of early teachings of Zen Master Bodhi Dharma.

In the end of July we recorded Larry’s series of talks on America’s Racial Karma in Taos, NM. Thank you to those of you who came from 8 states around the US to be with us. Here are the recordings, free to all, thanks to our patrons. The topic of race is an existential crisis, and always has been since the founding of America. If one looks deeply at the historic patterns around this social construct over the last 500 years, you will find a window into our immense planetary suffering that is beyond the construct of race. It reaches into every aspect of life because it is one of the most successful binary creations in our history. Therefore, it gives permission to all other binaries to stay binary.

Talking about race is not enough, we must practice to release ourselves from habitual states of dualism and its individual and collective impact on ourselves, each other and the earth.

Soon we are off to Japan! There are still spaces in the Kyoto Retreat if you are able to join. In the meantime, we are working on the Virtual Academy’s next course, The Earth Gate, and preparing for a whirlwind fall tour in Thailand, Japan, California, Philadelphia, Minnesota, and Oklahoma. Check the website for details- we’d love to practice in person with you. Remember, thanks to patrons we have some scholarships available for every retreat, and we hope this makes it accessible for more of you to join in person.

Wherever we are, as we practice we are meeting one another.

Listen deeply.

Lastly, we wanted to say a word about The Lotus Institute’s commitment to justice and liberatory practice. We are on a path of love in action; in the coming months we’ll be working intensively with local retreat planning teams to refine our in-person offerings to embody our vision of creating beloved community. As our dear board member, Samantha Rise, offers:

Our lineage of peace is also a lineage of action

Best In Love,

Larry and Peggy


A NOTE ABOUT PATREON

Since the launch of our Patreon page in August 2018 we’ve gained 61 patrons who make it possible for us to bring you things like the audio files in this email, a new website, an online home to make retreat recordings accessible (free and downloadable) for participants, a home for online courses, and more secure and stable technology to keep in communication. Our next goal of 75 patrons will help us secure funding for the tech/organizational support to continue the work we’ve started, launching our next online class (Deep studies into the intersection of mindfulness and neuroplasticity as it relates to trauma and resiliency). If you want to read our goals in more detail and/or become a part of our Patreon community that makes this work sustainable, become a patron here. AND THANK YOU to all of the existing patrons who make our work possible!

Learning from the Bodhisattvas, Healing, and Embodying the Way

Dear Friends on the Path,

We send you warm greetings from Mexico City!

We have enjoyed living here for almost two months. We are in the La Condesa neighborhood where there are many many beautiful parks and more dogs than we have ever seen. We have enjoyed weekly sangha and different meals, gatherings and times with wonderful practitioners. The Wisdom School was amazing, 53 people joined us from many parts of Mexico as well as from New Mexico, Montana, California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. This weekend we have our goodbye party that will include karaoke!

This year continues to unfold very important teachings on the Bodhisattva Path. The Wisdom School that just completed was a deep dive into the Medicine Buddha's Bodhisattva aspirations and practices. Upcoming in the end of March in Columbus is a focus on the Diamond Sutra's training on right view for Bodhisattvas as they engage with the world and all beings. Early April in Colorado the retreat calls all of us to deep presence in ourselves in serving individual wellness and social justice while overcoming grasping, clinging and/or attachment to outcomes. Our work continues to go deeper still as we integrate and develop a new curriculum to heal and transform our nervous system capacity so embodied liberation becomes possible in self and society.

As we move forward, Lotus will continue to offer Wisdom Schools  and trainings focused on the Bodhisattva path as well as deep dives into key Buddhist studies including the sutras. We are hard at work at some online offerings (trainings) too!

Below is a more detailed description Larry wrote on the background, history, and intention of The Bodhisattva Wisdom Schools, for those of you who want to go deep, deeper, deeper still...

We also included a recording of the first dharma talk from the recent Wisdom School in Mexico, about the path and practices of The Medicine Buddha. 

Enjoy!

Best in Love,
Larry and Peggy

Mexico City Monday night sangha enjoying an amazing Yukutan dinner with us

Mexico City Monday night sangha enjoying an amazing Yukutan dinner with us


Background on the Bodhisattva Wisdom School


We stand now at a new human tipping point. We are in a new evolutionary epoch.  Here, the intersections between earth’s climate transitions, social crisis worldwide and deeply stressed human nervous systems leaves us all in a moment of great opportunity.

Throughout human history many wise and compassionate persons call forth humanity’s best in daily life, in Buddhism these persons are called Bodhisattvas. But more is needed to highlight and deepen these inherent qualities in non-monastic language, scientific grounding and creative practices for 21st century persons. Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Opening the Heart of the Cosmos, beautifully describes the importance, urgency and power of these qualities when embodied.

The Lotus Bodhisattva Wisdom School is a unique Dharma experience. Our approach is grounded in the Buddhist sutras and Buddhist psychology. We weave together depth understandings of individual wellness, social justice, cross cultural ancestral wisdom, and evolutionary consciousness. We are here for individuals who wish to go deeper in their lived experience of recreating the spiritual-social self.

Our methods are experiential and multi-disciplinary. Each session is committed to exploring a particular Bodhisattva’s aspirations, qualities and practices. Our design integrates knowledge, creative expression and practices of individual and community resilience. We explore only for the purposes of opening new doors in both self-transformation and transformation in society.

In the past, such Schools existed all over the globe where groups of people gathered together to engage their awakening in community with each other, the Earth and cosmos. These ancient Wisdom Schools offered a gathering of spiritually-inspired individuals who desired to help midwife deep healing and transformation in their societies. They gathered to nourish the best in themselves on behalf of all. They gathered to remember who they were. They gathered to release their creativity, intelligently and compassionately born of love and wisdom.
With enduring consistency, the ongoing purpose of such schools has remained threefold in character:

First Aims
(1) To acknowledge and nourish persistent love of humanity so that knowledge of things spiritual may penetrate the heart and animate it into action, so that life on our precious earth may become a benediction, meaning to speak well of peace instead of tragedy of and conflict;

(2) To provide cultivation grounds for educating practitioners. In the Bodhisattva Path, we join through lived experience, study and practice to deeply learn, travel and embody the beauty of the Bodhisattva stages with easy, dignity and power.

(3) To reimagine, re-experience and discover fresh ways to a deeper human nobility and promise. Awakening qualities of humanness capable of shaping and holding the emerging Anima Mundi (World Soul). Re-empowering us with solidity and freshness needed to remake our world.

(4) To cultivate inherent Bodhisattva qualities and explore their expressions as skillful means needed in our time of great transition. To experience an environment of artistic playfulness with story making, poetry, visual arts, music, theatre and conversation.

Second Aims
To continue restoring to humanity (deeper) inner sight, to free people "from every danger of being enslaved whether by a man or an idea" (Blavatsky Collected Writings 14:251; see also Mahatma Letters, pp. 40-1). The above aims are very consistent with the Bodhisattva teachings.

Is there any history of such schools in Buddhism?
Yes, the most formal of these is Nalanda, a Buddhist center of higher learning from 427 to 1197 CE. located in the state of Bihar, India. The subjects taught at Nalanda covered every field of learning, and attracted pupils and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey.

Its curriculum courses were drawn from every field of learning, Buddhist and Hindu, sacred and secular, foreign and native. Students studied science, astronomy, medicine, and logic as diligently as they applied themselves to metaphysics, philosophy, Samkhya, Yoga-Shastra, the Veda, and the scriptures of Buddhism. They studied foreign philosophy likewise.