LMU - Spring Extension 2007
- The Eightfold Path - Kusala Bhikshu

The Buddhist Eightfold Path - A Way To Happiness
University Hall 1404 / Loyola Marymount University

Instructor: Kusala Bhikshu

Thur. - 7:30 – 9:30 pm / Jan. 11 - Feb. 8, 2007

This course offers a detailed introduction to the Buddhist Eightfold Path. The Buddha in his forty-five years of teaching taught two things: why humans suffer and how to end the suffering. We will explore the Eightfold Path and how it leads to a lifestyle of simplicity and personal fulfillment. Buddhist Precept Practice and Meditation will be investigated through stories and personal examples and finally the course will show how to integrate the Eightfold Path into everyday life.



Suggested Reading:


The Noble Eightfold Path — by Bhikkhu Bodhi - 122 Pages (PDF File) - (1.2 MB) -- Free Download

"One of the best explanations of the Eightfold path in print today!" The present book aims at contributing towards a proper understanding of the Noble Eightfold Path by investigating its eight factors and their components to determine exactly what they involve. Bhikkhu Bodhi is concise, using as the framework for his exposition the Buddha's own words in explanation of the path factors, as found in the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon.

The Eightfold Path for the Householder — Jack Kornfeld - 143 Pages (PDF File) - (486 KB) -- Free Download

This text is a transcript of teachings given by Jack Kornfeld on the Eightfold Path. These teachings are aimed at the householder. Each part of the Eightfold Path is explained in a separate chapter. The tone of the teaching is contemporary and non-technical. The universality and relevance of the Buddha's teaching are illustrated by numerous quotations from more recent luminaries. There are also some useful exercises which enable the reader to experience the truth of these teachings.

Mindfulness In Plain English — Ven. Henepola Gunaratana - 105 Pages (PDF File) - (637 KB) -- Free Download

The subject of this book is Vipassana meditation practice. Repeat, practice. This is a meditation manual, a nuts-and-bolts, step-by-step guide to Insight meditation. It is meant to be practical. It is meant for use. This book is a 'How to.' It is written for those who actually want to meditate and especially for those who want to start now.

The Seeker's Glossary of Buddhism: A Dictionary / Encyclopedia of Buddhism - 999 Pages (PDF File) - (4.7 MB) -- Free Download

This is a revised and expanded edition of 'The Seeker's Glossary of Buddhism.' The text is a compendium of excerpts and quotations from some 350 works by monks, nuns, professors, scholars and other laypersons from nine different countries, in their own words or in translation.

How to use the Glossary: This book can be used in threeways: to find the definition of unfamiliar terms; to gain a broader understanding of specific Buddhist concepts; and also as an introduction to Buddhism. In the last instance, we suggest that readers begin with the entry on Parables, then move on to Practice, Obstacles to Cultivation and Ten Non-Seeking Practices. Other entries of a more contemporary interest can be read with benefit by all. These include: Birth Control, Organ Transplants, Vegetarianism, Universe, Immortality.

Daily Readings / Buddha's Words of Wisdom — by Ven. S. Dhammika - 284 Pages (PDF File) - (1.8 MB) -- Free Download

For over two thousand years the discourses of the Buddha have nourished the spiritual lives of countless millions of people. This ebook contains extracts of the early Buddhist discourses from the Pali Tipitaka, and also from some post-canonical writings. Presented so that one reading can be reflected upon each day of the year. This ebook is an indispensable companion for anyone trying to apply the Buddha's gentle message to their daily life.

Amazon.com/Local Book Store

The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind (Paperback) by B. Alan Wallace

Book Description - Shamatha meditation is a method for achieving previously inconceivable levels of concentration. Author B. Alan Wallace, an active participant in the much-publicized dialogues between Buddhists and scholars, has more than 20 years’ practice in the discipline, some of it under the guidance of the Dalai Lama. This book is a definitive presentation of his knowledge of shamatha. It is aimed at the contemporary seeker who is distracted and defocused by the dizzying pace of modern life, as well as those suffering from depression and other mental maladies. Beginning by addressing the inherent problems that follow from an inability to focus, Wallace moves on to explore varying levels of meditation. The result is an interior travelogue that recounts an exciting, rewarding "expedition of the mind," tracing everything from the confusions at the bottom of the trail to the extraordinary clarity and power that come with making it to the top.

Amazon.com Customer Review -- "Attention" is written by an experienced and respected Buddhist practitioner, and summarizes an advanced method for improving Attentiveness with meditation (and vice-versa). The book also investigates how Attentiveness can be stabilized and trained in a positive manner (as opposed to simply correcting an attention deficit). Many spiritual traditions and Western psychologists (notably William James) have examined Attentiveness, but "Attention" focuses on a ten-stage training pioneered by an Indian Buddhist monk Kamalashila. This method simply works, in the studied experience of the author and other practitioners over several centuries. The book is most useful for those already familiar with Buddhism or advanced meditation methods.

-The training first absolutely demands cultivating an attitude of decent kindness towards oneself and others, solid ethical integrity, attention cultivation, and refined insight development (these prerequisites clearly distinguish it from more psychological methods). As the mind, including the emotions, and consciousness settle into a more natural state, sustained but relaxed Attentiveness will allow Insight to be more predictable, prolonged, and wise (instead of a "flash of insight," one might develop more of a "path of insight"). The Goal includes reducing or eliminating suffering and developing what might be called eudaemonic happiness -- and I might add my opinion that science (for all its miracles in reducing unhappiness) has fallen flat on its face in providing this. "Attention" develops each step in a separate chapter, followed by a brief interlude discussing a relevant "aside" of mind training. Of course, any brief summary is unrealistic, but the ten steps sort of progressively evolve from a focused awareness of one's sensations and thoughts to a subtle dis-covery of the origins of those sensations and thoughts. Sort of. Although one may not master all ten steps in the program, it sure helps to have a reasonably good map and a valid idea of where one is going!

-The author notes extensive mind training is like going on an expedition (clearly, given the practically infinite extent of the mind -- see Gerald Edelman's discussions -- it is among the most exciting expeditions imaginable). Alas, the schedule for complete Attentiveness training is rigorous, requiring several consistent hours per day with some "coaching" by a qualified teacher (the same could be true of being an Olympic medalist or a neurosurgery attending). Other reviewers have noted this. Reading "Attention" is therefore like receiving training or reading about high-altitude physical conditioning from Reinhold Messner or Matt Carpenter -- one may not duplicate their stamina, but it's surely worthwhile to know how the legitimate super-experts do it and one will more likely pick up very useful tips from them. Importantly, the author and the method, seem demonstrably qualified, gentle, trustable guides with credentials, perspective, and heart. This seems among the best recommendations of all, and one of the best reasons for dedicated practitioners to examine this book. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.


The Spectrum of Consciousness (Quest Books) (Paperback) by Ken Wilber (Author)

Book Description... A synthesis of religion, philosophy, physics, and psychology that started a revolution in transpersonal psychology.

Amazon.com Customer Review... Still Highly Significant and Well Worth the Read, February 19, 2006 / This review is for: The Spectrum of Consciousness (Quest Books) (Paperback)

Though Ken Wilber's work has progressed significantly since this book was first written (1973), I believe it still remains a highly significant study and model and anyone interested in transpersonal psychology, or the relation between the human mind, soul and spirit would do well to read this book and absorb it's contents.

There are several reasons for this and the first is that it is very clearly and lucidly written from a psychological/spiritual worldview that remains quite widespread and even dominant in the culture of serious spiritual aspirants (as well as sensitive psychologists, ecologists and people from all walks of life). From that standpoint alone, if I had read this book 20 years ago, nearly all of 20 years of confusion over the seemingly conflicting subjects the book deals with would not have occurred. (The confusion being the bridge between modern psychology and traditional spirituality, or if there even was one to be found.) For that reason alone, this book remains highly significant.

The second reason is that, as explained in the new (brief) introduction, the model this book presents is from the spiritual standpoint of involution - as opposed to evolution, the direction Wilber's later work would primarily take. Though, yes, indeed, after actually looking deeply into the evidence in later years Wilber (an innovator now for the second time) discovered that there was quite a bit missing (and/or somewhat flawed) to this overall worldview and model, involution still remains an ever present reality and a central tenet of the perennial philosophy of the world's great religions and mystics. (It may also disclose itself to you as such at the right level of spiritual experience either in mediation or a sudden "peak experience.") Once again, for that reason alone, this book is still quite well worth the reading.

The third reason this book remains highly significant is that it clearly demonstrates the reality (and relative location) of the buried, psychological, unconscious "shadow." That to me may be THE most important reason to read this book for 1.) Though it comes up often in Wilber's later works, it is not demonstrated and highlighted so clearly and simply (and so could easily be missed) and 2.) The "shadow" is something the Perennial Philosophy of the world's great religions NEVER knew about. No mystical literature or scripture from any of the world's religions (both great and small) even realized human beings could and did hide significant aspects of their being and project them outward so as not to be seen. (This is a uniquely modern Western contribution.) And no amount of meditation, contemplation, higher level realization or prayer of any kind is ever going to adequately uncover or release this hidden and very powerful "shadow." (Quite to the contrary, advanced spiritual adaptation or mastery may actually only STRENGTHEN the shadow. The result, even with advanced spiritual masters and teachers, is that hidden neurosis or pathology can now be transferred to others in very deep and powerful ways, . . .needless to say, to nobody's benefit.) Once again, for that reason alone this book and the model it presents are well worth the read and any effort for conscientious absorption (especially when he demonstrates this serious issue, which also kind of explains why he eventually ventured off on his own, to rationally discover these truth's for himself).

The last two reasons are these: One, it is both a delight and an inspiration to witness that a human mind at the age of only 23 could accomplish with such great ease what many had been trying to accomplish for well over a century (if not much longer) and to no avail. And finally, for those who may be familiar with Wilber's more recent works -and understand why these early books are termed "romantic"- the occasional romanticisms interspersed throughout ("We've progressed too far!" My favorite, "We choke our bodies with restrictive clothing . . .") may actually now come with somewhat of a sentimental chuckle. Because, we all thought that way in one way or another and many still often do.


A Loving Kindness Meditation


May I be...

May my teachers and all teachers of the Truth be...

May my parents, brothers and sisters, friends and relatives be...

From the highest realm of existence to the lowest, may all beings arisen in these realms, with form and without, with perception and without, with consciousness and without, may they be...

(Repeat below after each introduction.)

...happy, peaceful and free from suffering.
May no harm come to me/them.
May no difficulties come to me/them.
May no problems come to me/them.
May I/they always find fulfillment.

May I/they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination, to meet and overcome, the inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life.

A List of California Buddhist Centers - in PDF
-- Free Download

* More Free eBooks on Buddhism - Link

* Dharma Talks by Kusala Bhikshu - Link

* Urban Dharma the web site - Link