Buddhism 2 in six modules

A course designed by Vajrapriya from the Cambridge Buddhist Centre. Six modules of six weeks length each. You can download the following overview here.


This course will provide a firm foundation in Buddhist thought and practice. It is aimed at people with a basic grounding in meditation and Buddhism, who want to discover whether and how to apply Buddhism in their lives.

This course runs in six 6-week modules. Each module stands alone, and so you can join and leave the course at any point. You don’t need to take the modules in order.

Each session — of 2.5 hours length — will usually comprise: a short meditation; a semi-formal presentation by the leader(s); discussion time for participants to relate the material to their own life; experiential workshop aspects.

The course is not intended to be an academic introduction to Buddhism: the emphasis is on the practical application of Buddhist teachings to our own lives.

There will usually be some “practical homework” to do between sessions: this will not usually be study-based. Suggested reading will be given for participants to gain the most from the course, but it will not be integral to the course.

It is necessary to have completed:

  • Introduction to Buddhism (Level 1) course, or to have an equivalent knowledge of Buddhism.
  • The Introduction to Meditation (Level 1) course, or to be familiar with the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana meditation practices.
    By the end of the course, it is hoped the participants will:

  • Be able to relate Buddhist teachings to their own experience, and practise them in their daily life.
  • Have an appreciation of the breadth and living spirit of the Buddhist tradition, while bringing a critical faculty to their understanding of it.
  • See the different Buddhist practices (ethics, meditation, study, friendship, ritual) as an integrated system of development.
  • Develop relationships with other participants by sharing experiences and ideas, in order to support practice and stimulate understanding.
  • Understand what it means to “be a Buddhist”, and have a sense whether or not they consider themselves to be one.
    The six modules are listed below, together with their proposed content — the actual content may vary slightly according to the judgement of the leader.

    Traditional Buddhism — What makes you a Buddhist?

      Faith within a Buddhist context
      Going for Refuge – Enlightenment as goal of Buddhism
      Dharma as doctrine – approach to doctrine, parable of raft, 3 levels of wisdom
      Dharma as method – become a Dharma chef, threefold path
      Dharma as method – the five spiritual faculties
      Development of the Sangha – historical development of three yanas, FWBO in context, lineage of Enlightened ones.

    Buddhist Wisdom – doctrinal Dharma
    Some core ideas to gain a new perspective on our lives.

      Views – wrong view, right view, perfect view; qualities of Dharma
      Conditionality – conditioned co-production as the middle way
      Facets of conditionality – impermanence, compoundedness, interconnectedness
      Four Noble Truths
      Orders of conditionality – reactive and creative; karmic and non-karmic conditionality
      Wisdom and compassion – altruistic dimension of Buddhism, Bodhisattva ideal

    Buddhist Wisdom – symbolic Dharma
    An overview of the whole of life’s dynamics in symbolic form.

      The wheel of life – knowing our realm
      The wheel of life – karma and rebirth
      The wheel of life – the chain of conditioning, “staying in the gap”
      The spiral path – to Insight and beyond
      The mandala of the five Buddhas – Akshobya and Amitabha
      The mandala of the five Buddhas – Ratnasambhava, Amoghasiddhi & Vairocana

    Buddhist ethics

    Seeing the implications of our behaviour for ourselves and others

      Ethics as individual choice
      Love – the golden rule
      Generosity – respecting and contributing
      Contentment – weakening the neurotic drives
      Honesty – being true about ourselves
      Awareness – the working edge for any growth

    Ritual and Devotion
    Exploring the psychology and meaning of Buddhist ritual through the ‘Sevenfold Puja’

      Who/what do Buddhists worship? Commitment to a path of personal development
      The practice of openness, disclosure and confession
      The importance of developing positive emotion
      Receptivity: turning towards what is deepest in ourselves and the universe
      The ‘awakening heart’ (bodhicitta)
      The Heart Sutra: the essence of emptiness. Chanting, and the use of mantras

    The FWBO System of Spiritual Practice
    How does the FWBO work, and help me to develop?

      A history of the FWBO
      Going for Refuge as spiritual commitment
      Spiritual friendship and spiritual community
      The system of spiritual practice – especially looking at meditation practices
      Whole life practice – practising at home and work
      The FWBO in Context

    It is intended that supplementary modules will be offered occasionally on a weekend. These will give the opportunity to explore an area in more depth, or cover aspects that don’t appear in the course. Look out for information about these modules.

    You can download the full Course Prospectus (with additional organisational details) here.

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