Mahakaruna Buddhist Center

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Regular/Ongoing Classes

Mahakaruna Buddhist Center offers a variety of classes in several locations throughout Northern California and Nevada. Regular days, times and locations are described below. However, from time to time certain special events may require a change to our regular schedule. Please see our calendar to confirm the schedule for a particular day.

Introductory Classes:
The General Program (GP) and Prayers for World Peace

The General Program and Prayers for World Peace offer a basic introduction to Buddhist philosophy, meditation and practice that is suitable for beginners. It also includes advanced teachings and practices from both Sutra and Tantra, presented in ways that make them accessible to everyone. These classes are an ideal starting point for those who would like to find out more about Buddhism and meditation.

Each General Program class offered by Mahakaruna Center is self-contained, and no prior experience or background is necessary. These classes are an ideal way to explore your interest in Buddhist meditation.

GP classes meet weekly in many locations (please be sure to check our calendar for last minute changes to the schedule):

  • Napa Monday evenings 7-8:30pm with Mike Smith (415) 717-4943
  • Petaluma Sundays at 10:30am, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm and at Noon on Tue, Wed, Fri & Sat
  • Sacramento Tuesday evenings from 7:00-8:15 with Ace Remas
  • Santa Rosa General Meditation Tuesdays and Wednesdays 7:00pm - 8:15pm (Beginning Sept 7)

We suggest you make a donation of $10 for each class you attend.

Noontime Meditation

Offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 1:00 pm in Petaluma, Noontime Meditation sessions are an excellent introduction to basic meditation, and a wonderful bliss boost” in the middle of the day.

Meditation is suitable for everyone and brings many benefits that include improved concentration, a peaceful mind, a positive approach to difficulties and better relationships at work and home. These classes include methods for cultivating mental calm and clarity, special breathing meditations and techniques for progressing on the spiritual path.

The Foundation Program (FP)

The Foundation Program is a structured study and meditation program. It enables us to gain a deeper understanding and experience of Buddhist teachings, and to develop a regular meditation practice. It is ideal for those who have a general understanding of Buddhism but who wish to learn more.

Beginning April 20, 2008 we will be studying Joyful Path of Good Fortune. In this extraordinary book, Geshe Kelsang explains the Complete Buddhist Path to Enlightenment.

We all have the potential for self-transformation, and a limitless capacity for the growth of good qualitites, but to fulfil this potential we need to know what to do at every stage of our spiritual journey.

With this book, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso offers us step-by-step guidance on the meditation practices that will lead us to lasting inner peace and happiness. With extraordinary clarity, he presents all Buddha's teachings in the order in which they are to be practiced, enriching his explanation with stories and analogies. A perfect guidebook to the Buddhist path.

The Foundation Program meets weekly in Petaluma: Sunday afternoons, 4:00-6:00. Anyone is welcome to attend any class. However, regular attendance requires enrollment. Please contact the Education Program Coordinator, , if you'd like to enroll.

For the benefit of those who can't make it to Petaluma weekly, these classes are recorded and uploaded to the internet. However, you must be enrolled in the class and make special arrangements with the Administrative Director, , in order to download the recordings.

Please contact the Administrative Director, , if you'd like to attend FP classes regularly. Of course you're welcome and encouraged to attend a class or two to see if the Foundation Program is appropriate for you at this time.

The Teacher Training Program (TTP)

The Teacher Training Program is designed for people who wish to train as authentic Dharma Teachers. We are currently studying Meaningful to Behold. In Meaningful to Behold, Geshe Kelsang gives commentary and explanation of Shantideva's 8th Century classic Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, which is still recognized as the foremost description of the Bodhisattva's journey to enlightenment.

The Teacher Training Program meets weekly in Petaluma: Thursday evenings, 6:00-9:30. Anyone is welcome to attend any class. However, regular attendance requires enrollment. Please contact the Education Program Coordinator, , if you'd like to enroll.

For the benefit of those who can't make it to Petaluma weekly, these classes are recorded and uploaded to the internet. However, you must be enrolled in the class and make special arrangements with the Administrative Director, , in order to download the recordings.

Please contact the Administrative Director, , if you'd like to attend TTP classes regularly. Of course you're welcome and encouraged to attend a class or two to see if the Teacher Training Program is appropriate for you at this time.

Pujas

A puja is a chanted prayer to a specific Buddha, requesting that Buddha to bestow his or her blessings upon us. Pujas vary in length from one to four hours. All pujas are in English and are open to everyone. Even if you are just curious and would prefer only to listen and observe, feel free to drop by.

Regular pujas are practiced in Petaluma at the following times:

  • Wishfulfilling Jewel: Every Thursday evening, 6-7pm. Bring an offering if you wish.
  • 35 Confession Buddhas: Every Wednesday evening, 6-6:45pm
  • Lama Chopa: The 10th and 25th of every month (see our calendar for times). Bring an offering if you wish.
  • Protector Puja: The 29th of every month (see our calendar for times). Bring an offering if you wish.

We suggest you make a donation of $5 for each puja you attend.

Offerings

Physical offerings are usually small food items or flowers. Fruit, small baked goods (cookies, brownies, cupcakes), boxes of tea, even bars of chocolate are common offerings. Offerings are made, not because the Buddhas "need" offerings from us, but because we need to practice our own generosity and improve our ability to give.


Donations

Donations are not payments for classes, and you are welcome to attend any class, regardless of your ability to make a donation. Rather, donations are an expression of your kindness. Like all New Kadampa centers, Mahakaruna relies entirely on donations. Everything that Mahakaruna Center has to offer you now has been made possible by the kind and generous donations of others. Your kind donations will provide to those who come after you everything that has been provided for you. When you drop a donation in the jar, please think to yourself that you are offering the gift of Dharma or peace of mind to countless others who currently participate, or will participate, in the Center's activities.

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Copyright 2005 Mahakaruna Buddhist Center