Past Events

Karma, The Afterlife, and Rebirth

How might we think about the power of karma in our lives?  Could there be an afterlife?  Is it possible that we have lived before, and that we will live again?  And are our lives connected to themselves and to each other’s?  Using texts and art from Asian traditions, we’ll explore the concept of karma and its place in our understanding of the “self” as it evolves through time. We’ll look at individual as well as group karma, at the concept of Bardo – or the “in-between period” – past this death and before our future rebirth, and at how much free will we might have in shaping our current lives.

 

A five-week seminar at the West Hartford Senior Center 

March 19 - April 16, 2020

June 4 - July 2, 2020

POSTPONED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS

Mysticism

An exploration of the unique nature of the mystical experience. How does it arise? How does it differ from other religious experiences?  What effects does it have on the mystics themselves?  Using arts and texts from Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and shamanism, we will focus on:  the nature of the divine, mystic pathways, the role of spiritual language, nature mysticism, and the transformed life.

A five-week seminar at the West Hartford Senior Center 

January 16 - February 13, 2020

Buddhism in Everyday Life

An exploration of the practice of Buddhism in our everyday life.  Focusing on the life of the Buddha and his concept of the “middle way;” the Buddha’s early teachings on impermanence, suffering, attachment, and views on the “self;” the notion of interdependence and the rise of empathy; the Bodhisattva idea; and Buddhism and the role of the arts.

A five-week seminar at the Tibetan Buddhism Mindfulness Center, Elizabeth Street, Hartford

January 8 - February 5, 2020

Everyday Buddhism

The Buddhist perspective is all around us.

 

The recognition of transitoriness, the enhancement of creativity, the dedication to service, the move to simplicity, and the awareness of the moment are best called forth in the experience of the everyday.

We will explore the basic teachings of Buddhism, the role of giving in the larger world, the life of the Bodhisattva, the "less is more" of Zen landscapes, and the art of haiku.

"Buddhism for Life"

A five-week seminar at the West Hartford Senior Center

November 7 - December 12, 2019

The Taj Mahal

A 5-week seminar

 

One of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal represents the epitome of beauty, balance, and proportion in Indian architecture. Built as a tomb for Mumtaz Mahal, the fourteenth wife of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666), the Taj Mahal is set in a traditional four-part garden, with flowing waters, along the Jumna River in northern India. Its surface is clad in luminous white marble, inlaid with semi-precious stones in arabesque flower designs. We will explore Mughal history behind the family of Shah Jahan, the Mumtaz legend of love and loss, the debates around the origin of the marble inlay, and the Black Taj. A slide lecture/discussion.

September 19 - October 17, 2019

Senior Center, West Hartford

Our Environment

Being Better in the World

 

How did we get to this distressing state of things in our natural world? And what can we do about it? We will explore five of the most important environmental issues today, and think through ways of restoring nature's integrity and our best behavior in it.

1. Earth: Plant rights and soil degradation

2. Wood: Logging and deforestation

3. Water: Oceans, plastics and recycling

4. Fire: Genetically modified crops, species loss, and biodiversity

5. Air: Pollution and global warming

May 2 - May 30, 2019; 2:45 - 4:15 pm

Senior Center, West Hartford

Gandhi & Merton

An exploration of the lives and times of two great leaders of the twentieth century.

 

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was an Indian activist who was the architect and guiding light of the Indian independence movement against the British. Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was an American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, poet, and social activist. Both humanists drew on a rich diversity of spiritual traditions, and both worked for radical social change through non-violent means. Jointly, they had a profound effect on people such as Martin Luther King, and, even today, they inspire movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

March 21 - April 18, 2019; 2:45 - 4:15 pm

Senior Center, West Hartford

Making Good Decisions

Gandhi on Being Human

 

An exploration of Gandhian principles as they apply to contemporary ethical issues. Drawing on older Indian traditions, we will look at understandings of what it means to be alive and what rights and responsibilities "being alive" brings. As we examine medical, social, and environmental issues - e.g., abortion, poverty, animal rights - our special focus will be on deciding what it means to

"do the least amount of harm."

February 7 - March 7, 2019; 5-week seminar

Senior Center, West Hartford

Asian Healing Traditions

A series of five workshops

 

These workshops explore healing practices from various Asian traditions, focusing on ancient teachings and their practical applications today.  Using visual images, written texts, and results from the teacher’s field work, we will focus on questions such as “What is the nature of human experience? How and why have things gone wrong? and What can we do to alleviate pain and suffering, and find calm and completeness?” 

 

Healing traditions from India, China, and Southeast Asia offer a variety of answers to these questions, and each workshop explores a different practice.  They include developing mindfulness and sending empathy, working with fear and emotions that hinder equilibrium, understanding and unlocking the chakras, thinking through the life journey, and developing attunement and becoming “at home in the world.” Materials are provided, as well as refreshments!

 

October 14 - November 11, 2018

Academy of Life-long Learning, Trinity College, Asylum Avenue

Asian Religions

A 5-week Seminar Series

  • Hinduism: Karma, Rebirth and the Divine Within

  • Buddhism: Living in a World of Change

  • Tibetan Buddhism: Meditation and the Hindering Emotions

  • Taoism: Nature, Attunement and Living with Ease

  • The Shamanic Journey: Healing and Rites of Passage

September 27th - October 25th, 2018

Senior Center, West Hartford

Healing and Wellbeing Workshop Series

A 5-week Workshop in July 2018

Explore healing practices from Asian cultures, focusing on practical applications today.

  • Opening mindfulness

  • Sending empathy

  • Exploring tough emotions

  • Working with fear

  • Understanding the chakras

  • Developing attunement

  • Thinking through one's life journey

  • Being "at home in the world"

 

Thursday afternoons, 3 - 4:30, Asylum Avenue

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