Mitras

This page of the site provides teaching material and other resources suitable for Mitras in the Triratna Buddhist Community. The page is in several sections, arranged like this:

– the Mitra Foundation Course
– the new Dharma Training Course for Mitras
– Links to the old Mitra Study Course material
– Other resources for Mitras

Each section consists of a long page containing a variety of material; it is arranged with the most-fully-developed and easiest to use at the top; leading down to simple outlines or notes for possible courses at the bottom. In this way once the page has loaded, you can scroll up and down to see the range available.

The material at the top of each page should be ‘ready to use’; it generally consists of well-prepared courses often including attractive handouts.

* NEW OCTOBER 2009 *
There is a special page with Dutch Dharma materials here; it contains modules from the Foundation Course and Years 1 and 2 of the Mitra Course. Material in other languages will be added as we receive them.

Mitra Courses

Mitra Courses

Foundation Course

The Foundation Year

The first element of the new Dharma Training Course for Mitras is the one-year foundation course which has been developed by Vadanya. It is aimed at people at the ‘new mitra’ level and based around the three declarations made on becoming a mitra: being a Buddhist; practising the Dharma (looked at through the Threefold Way); and feeling an affinity with Triratna. The Course is already being widely used and is proving popular.

Vadanya has now finished working on a revised version of the course which includes more detailed material on our basic liturgy as well as some edited versions of the existing material. It is now available from freebuddhistaudio.com/study.

The Teacher’s Notes can also be found at freebuddhistaudio.com/study but you will need the general Order username and password to access them.

Material for Years Two, Three and Four are also available at freebuddhistaudio.com/study.

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Outline of the New Training Course for Mitras

A New Dharma Training Course for Mitras

When the mitra community changed in 2002 and it became simpler to become a mitra, many people thought it would be appropriate to revise the mitra course. This revision could take into account the level of experience of those becoming mitras as well as addressing weaknesses in the original course and general changes in Triratna (then still known as the FWBO). So over the last few years, there have been various attempts to review what we offer to mitras in terms of study and training. Now, the outline for a new Dharma Training Course for mitras has been agreed by the men and women mitra convenors in the UK and the Public Preceptors and with the backing of the European Chairmen’s Assembly.

A New Title for the Course

The original course for mitras was simply called the ‘Mitra Study Course’. In order to reflect a broader intention for the new course, it will be called the ‘Triratna Dharma Training Course for Mitras’. Whilst there is still a strong emphasis on Dharma study in the new course, it also has modules on meditation and some of the new modules will also take a more meditative or reflective approach. I hope this will give a broader training in the Dharma for those taking it.

General Points about the Course

1. It is a four year course rather than the three years (or three years and one term) of the original course. As people often become mitras at an earlier stage of involvement with Triratna, an extra year has been added to cover basic Dharma material. Some Centres are offering this Foundation Year to people before they become mitras. Obviously, some people may take more than four years to complete the course, depending on the frequency of their meetings and other factors.

2. After the Foundation Year, which has no optional elements, Years Two to Four all have a degree of choice in the range of modules that can be taken. There are seven modules for each year, of which a minimum of four have to be taken to complete the course. If people want to take more than four modules, they are very welcome to. It may also be the case that some Centres will offer material for some modules over a weekend rather than in the usual weekly meetings e.g. the meditation modules could be covered in this way.

Provision of Course Materials

The student material is all available from freebuddhistaudio.com/study. Teacher’s material and resources are also available on a password-access part of the site.

A Guide to the Course was also published in early 2011, and this should be available from local Centres for free distribution to mitras.

Saccanama August 2008, edited Lokabandhu May 2011

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Old Mitra Study Course

What follows is the outline syllabus for the Original Mitra Study Course (as modified by Ratnaguna in 1998/9). All of Sangharakshita’s lectures can be accessed in audio or printed form from freebuddhistaudio.com – just type the name of the lecture in their search box. For additional downloadable material – including texts, suggested questions for discussion, and further reading – click on the additional material link to the right.

Year 1

1. The Noble Eightfold Path

1. The Nature of Existence: Right Understanding.

2. Reason and Emotion in the Spiritual Life: Right Resolve.

3. The Ideal of Human Communication: Right Speech.

4. The Principles of Ethics: Right Action.

5. The Ideal Society: Right Livelihood.

6. The Conscious Evolution of Man: Right Effort.

7. Levels of Awareness: Right Mindfulness.

8. Samadhi, the Higher Consciousness: Right Meditation.

2 Selected Suttas from the Pali Canon

1. The Buddha-vagga (from the Dhammapada).

2. The Kalama Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya).

3. The Mangala Sutta (Sutta Nipata).

4. The Bahiya Sutta (Udana).

5. The Karaniya Metta Sutta (Sutta Nipata).

6. The Meghiya Sutta (Udana).

7. The Kosambiya Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya).

8. The Culagosinga Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya).

3 The Higher Evolution

1. Evolution: Lower and Higher.

2. The Axial Age and the Emergence of the New Man.

3. Art and the Spiritual Life.

4. Buddhism as the Path of the Higher Evolution.

5. Stream Entry: The Point of No Return.

6. Buddhism Nietzsche and The Superman.

7. From Alienated Awareness To Integrated Awareness.

8. Is a Guru Necessary?

Year 2

4 Buddhism for the Modern World: the Vision of the FWBO

1. A Method of Personal Development.

2. A Vision of Human Existence.

3. The Nucleus of a New Society.

4. A Blueprint for a New World.

5. The Individual and the World Today.

6. Western Buddhist and Eastern Buddhism.

7. Commitment and Spiritual Community.

8. The Five Pillars of the FWBO.

5 Emphases and Restatements of Traditional Buddhist Teachings

1. The Unity of Buddhism.

2. Levels of Going for Refuge.

3. Dimensions of Going for Refuge.

4. Mind: Reactive and Creative.

5. The Taste of Freedom.

6. The Path of Regular Steps and the Path of Irregular Steps.

7. The Meaning of Friendship in Buddhism.

8. Karma and Rebirth.

6 Aspects of the Bodhisattva Ideal

1. The Origin and Development of the Bodhisattva Ideal.

2. The Awakening of the Bodhi Heart.

3. The Bodhisattva Vow.

4. Altruism and Individualism in the Spiritual Life.

5. ‘Masculinity’ and ‘Femininity’ in the Spiritual Life.

6. On the Threshold of Enlightenment.

7. The Bodhisattva Hierarchy.

8. The Buddha and the Bodhisattva: Eternity and Time.

Year 3

7 Parables, Myths and Symbols of Mahayana Buddhism in the White Lotus Sutra

1. The Universal Perspective of Mahayana Buddhism.

2. The Drama of Cosmic Enlightenment.

3. Transcending the Human Predicament.

4. The Myth of the Return Journey.

5. Symbols of Life and Growth.

6. The Five Element Symbolism and the Stupa.

7. The Jewel in the Lotus.

8. The Archetype of the Divine Healer.

8 Transformation of Self and World in the Sutra of Golden Light

1. The Growth of a Mahayana Sutra.

2. The Bodhisattva’s Dream.

3. The Spiritual Significance of Confession.

4. The Protectors of the Dharma.

5. Buddhism and Culture.

6. Nature, Man and Enlightenment.

7. Buddhist Economics.

8. The Moral Order and its Upholders.

9 The Inconceivable Emancipation, themes from the Vimalakirti Nirdesa

1. The Magic of a Mahayana Sutra.

2. Building the Buddha Land.

3. On Being All Things to All men.

4. The Transcendental Critique of Religion.

5. History Versus Myth in Man’s Quest for Meaning.

6. The Way of Non-duality.

7. The Mystery of Human Communication.

8. The Four Great Reliances: Criteria for the Spiritual Life.

10 Creative Symbols of the Tantric Path to Enlightenment.

1. The Symbolism of the Tibetan Wheel of Life.

2. The Tantric Symbolism of the Stupa.

3. The Symbolism of the Sacred Thunderbolt or Diamond Sceptre of the Lamas.

4. The Symbolism of the Cosmic Refuge Tree and the Archetypal Guru.

5. The Symbolism of the Cremation ground and the Celestial maidens.

6. The Symbolism of Offerings and Self-sacrifice.

7. The Symbolism of Colours and Mantric Sound.

8. The Symbolism of the Five Buddhas, ‘Male’ and ‘Female’.

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Other resources for mitras

o Here is a link to Padmaloka’s library of various talks (audio-downloads) given on Going for Refuge retreats and Order weekends at Padmaloka.

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Mitra Community

Resources for the Mitra Community

Autumn 2007

These pages contain helpful information about becoming a mitra, including articles by Padmavajra and Vajrananda given shortly after the changes to the mitra community in 2002, as well as a ‘Becoming a Mitra’ booklet used by the Bristol Buddhist Centre. You are welcome to modify the latter for your own Centre or local FWBO situation.

‘Becoming a Mitra’ – Bristol Buddhist Centre booklet

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Some Recommendations and Suggestions for a successful Mitra Ceremony

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What is a Mitra? (Padmavajra)

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The Three Declarations (Vajrananda)

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Creative Activity Ideas for mitra groups(Padmavajri)

Mitra Study Course: Some Creative Activity Ideas

Focus: Mitras

Brief: The course contains suggestions for creative ways of touching our emotions as well as our reason when studying the Dharma. The intention is to bring the study material alive by using other methods of exploring the text in addition to the usual summary/questions/discussion way. It includes brainstorms, games of all sorts, dramatic readings, dressing up, music, exercises, rituals and reporting-in on a theme. All activities have been tried out with a group at least once. People found the various activities interesting and a good way to gain a more experiential approach to the study material.

Padmavajri, Brighton Buddhist Centre

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