Teaching Series with Venerable Robina Courtin: April 2022
The Four Immensities in Daily Life
May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from sorrowless bliss,
May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.
The four immeasurables (loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity) are mind-expanding thoughts that take as their object all beings without exception, as limitless as space. These positive mental states create a sense of balance and unlimited abundance in our minds and attitudes towards others, and are an important method for weakening the self-grasping attitude that keeps us closed off from others. So integral is this practice, that it’s known across all Buddhist traditions by many names, like the four sublime states, the four infinite minds, the divine abodes, or the four immensities as the Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman likes to call them.
While it’s easy to recite the words, how can we nourish this practice so that we may experience all of the exquisite fullness that these virtuous minds have to offer? With skill and her characteristic humor, Venerable Robina Courtin guides us through the Buddhist practice of the four immensities. In this two-session teaching, learn how to grow these thoughts into resolutions and how to expand the four immeasurables to include all sentient beings (even the ones that have harmed or annoyed you). May we all know the sublime well-being that emanates from these states!
Discovering Buddhism: Mind and Its Potential
Venerable Robina teaches this session of Mind and Its Potential, the first course in the Discovering Buddhism cycle which is happily beginning again. In this class, Venerable Robina teaches us about minds according to the Buddhist psychological point of view, and shows us how we can do two incredible things: 1) become deeply and ever more familiar with our minds and what happens in them, and 2) mold our minds into any shape we like, as Lama Zopa Rinpoche says, for our own and others’ well-being.
This is an amazing opportunity to start the entire Discovering Buddhism cycle with Venerable Robina as your friendly visiting lama! For those who wish to take full advantage of Discovering Buddhism, be sure to join the first session of this Mind and Its Potential course with Gus Cutz on March 23, 2022.
This is the very first of 14 modules in the Discovering Buddhism series. Students may join at any point in the cycle, but are especially invited to join at the beginning! Discovering Buddhism was designed for students interested in deepening their understanding of fundamental Buddhist concepts, and provides an experiential taste of the Buddha’s teachings and the skills we need to make our lives most meaningful. Each module includes teachings, meditations, readings, discussions, and a short retreat. For more information on the Discovering Buddhism program, please click here.
Recognizing the Big Five:
Ego Grasping, Attachment, Anger, Jealousy and Pride
“If we can understand those and the variations of them we can have deep profound understanding of our own minds and everybody else’s as well. I promise you, I promise you, I promise you.” -Venerable Robina Courtin
The Buddha taught that there are 84,000 different varieties of mental strife. Luckily, they can be narrowed down to five main types of mental afflictions. In this weekend workshop, Venerable Robina joyfully teaches us techniques for tuning in to catch the Big Five mental afflictions running free in our own minds, helps us spot them in others’, and gives advice on what to do once we find them. Come learn how the staggering complexity of our chaotic minds can be decoded according to Buddhist psychology, simplified, and subdued into ever deeper states of calm!
Please note that we will have an auspicious start on Saturday afternoon with Venerable Robina leading a Cittamani Tara Puja. Then after a short break, Venerable will continue with the weekend teaching. On Sunday for both in-house and zoom attendees, Venerable Robina Courtin will offer a brief teaching and answer questions about refuge commitments and the pratimoksha (individual liberation) vows for the layperson. Following the teaching, Ven. Robina has agreed to conduct a refuge ceremony and bestow the five lay vows. The refuge ceremony offers students the opportunity to commit to the Buddhist path and, if they wish, to also take one or more of the five lay vows.
About the Teacher
Venerable Robina Courtin has worked full-time for Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s organization, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, since her ordination in the late 1970s. Over the years she has served as editorial director of Wisdom Publications, editor of Mandala Magazine, executive director of Liberation Prison Project, and as a touring teacher of Buddhism. Her life and work with prisoners have been featured in the documentary films Chasing Buddha and Key to Freedom. Venerable Robina is known for her straightforward and energetic teaching style, helping people discover the potential of their own minds with clear explanations about Tibetan Buddhism and how to apply it to their lives.
Visit her website at https://www.robinacourtin.com.