NOTE :: Originally a Barnes U Noble University online course I completed Dec. 2001, immediately after the 9-11 tragedy.

Visit today’s: Barnes & – B&N Book Clubs – B&N Book Clubs

This course will introduce students to the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism, with an emphasis on applying spiritual practice to the realities of everyday life. Buddhism provides innumerable practices to make spirituality an everyday experience. The genius of Lama Surya Das is to take ancient, esoteric, and even “secret” Tibetan wisdom and spiritual practices, previously accessible only to monastics and scholars, and make them understandable and usable to Western seekers. In this course we will examine the basic understandings of Buddhism, specifically the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, and learn basic meditation practices (really experiments in living) that arise out of the understandings. The goal is for students to experience for themselves the possibility of greater happiness, compassion, and peace in everyday life because of a shift in understanding and perspective through the application of Buddhist spiritual techniques.

Prerequisites: All that is required is a sincere interest in investigating the potential practical benefits of spiritual practice, which include insight, joy, compassion, and equanimity.


· To learn the basic Buddhist principles — the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path — and how to recognize and apply these principles in your own life

· To learn and experiment with Buddhist meditation techniques and other practices that you can integrate into your everyday life

· To design at least three spiritual practices that fit your life and stimulate your spiritual growth

Course Materials:
clip_image001Awakening the Buddha Within

Buddhism offers a profound yet practical path to enlightenment. In this loving and generous book, the American-born and Tibetan-trained Lama Surya Das offers at once a definitive and nonsectarian guide to the wisdom found in ancient Tibetan teachings and a tried and true path of spiritual transformation.

clip_image003Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Spiritual Life from Scratch

Lama Surya Das, author of the bestselling Awakening the Buddha Within, is the most highly trained American lama in the Tibetan tradition. In this elegant, inspiring book, he integrates essential Buddhist practices with a variety of other spiritual philosophies and wisdom traditions, to show you how to create a personalized spiritual practice based on your own individual beliefs, aspirations, and needs. Through reflections on his own life quest, thoughtful essays, and entertaining stories, Surya Das examines the common themes at the heart of any spiritual path, including faith, doubt, love, compassion, creativity, self-inquiry, and transformation. He then explores prayer, yoga, chanting, guided meditations, breathing exercises, and myriad other rituals, providing practical examples of each that we can use day-to-day to nurture our inner spirit.

Additional Materials:

clip_image005Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life
Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, presents a clear and simple guide to finding compassion and happiness in these often troubling and challenging times. The writings in this book are drawn from his enthusiastically received visit to America in 1999 and form a good introduction to the spiritual traditions of Buddhism.

clip_image007Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement. Together with Dr. Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life’s obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace.

clip_image009Peace Is Every Step : The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

In this modern spiritual classic, a world spiritual leader and Zen master shows how to adapt simple Zen principles for daily living and the way to peace — the first practical book on the subject since Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. Peace Is Every Step offers ways to use everyday events — washing dishes, eating a meal, sitting in traffic — in the quest for peace and fulfillment.