...Further Advice and Information on Study Group
Studying and meditating on compassion, love and emptiness is the cause for individual happiness and awareness. This forms the basis of a peaceful, harmonious society.
"The dynamic of the Study Group is one of open, enthusiastic interaction, which provides a supportive and positive environment for study and meditation. The real purpose of the study we do here is to recognise and subdue the mind by not allowing the delusions, in particular the three poisons, to arise in the mind, and to increase any virtues that we develop. If we then abide by that conduct in our daily life then whatever worldly knowledge and virtues we may have gained in our earlier studies will actually be to our own benefit."
~ Venerable Geshe Doga ~
Since the commencement of the Study Group in 1985 Tara Institute’s resident Lama, Venerable Geshe Doga has covered a wide range of topics. These have given an opportunity to explore in depth the very heart of what the Buddha taught. Geshe Doga has shown us that the Buddha’s teachings, the Dharma, can enrich our lives and completely transform dissatisfaction and confusion into happiness and inner freedom.
By integrating the teachings into our day-to-day life we can slowly free our minds from the self-centredness that destroys our mental peace. In its place we can cultivate thoughts of loving kindness and compassion for our fellow sentient beings.
At Tara Institute we are most fortunate to receive authentic teachings from someone with such a profound understanding as Geshe Doga, who combines traditional teachings with practical advice. The texts which have been presented in the past, in particular
"Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand", the Graduated Path to Enlightenment (Lam Rim ), have helped many of the students who teach Monday nights’ Introduction to Buddhism. A general overview of the Lam Rim is essential for presentation of these teachings.
Study Group Activities
Study Group Practice Day
The annual Practice Day is a commitment for Study Group members. It involves preparatory cleaning of the gompa and associated areas, setting up an altar and provision of a plate for a shared lunch. Geshe Doga joins us for our reading of Shantideva’s "A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life" in two sessions over the morning, followed by a shared lunch. This is another opportunity for everyone to engage in a powerful, beneficial practice together. A rare thing indeed!
Study Group Seminar
The annual Study Group Seminar is another commitment and is presented by members of the Study Group and anybody who has an interest in the topic, including beginners, is welcome to come along.
The day is usually from 10am to 4.30pm and we enjoy a shared lunch together.
Some Testimonials from Study Group Members
“Geshe Doga guides the Study Group through profound classical Buddhist texts that have been studied for centuries in the great monasteries of Tibet and India. Although the texts are often very difficult for us to understand we do gain an introduction to these vast and profound bodies of wisdom in the hope that in future we can build on our basic understanding and eventually achieve realisations. Geshe-la is very kind and patient and encouraging in sharing these teachings with us.”
“The few periods during which I’ve managed to consistently attend Study Group, and attempt to keep up with the homework and tests were enormously rewarding. I had a sense of accomplishment - of putting effort into something I felt was one of the most important things I could be doing with my life - and of confidence as my understanding of the teachings began to stabilise.”
“Making the committment to attend every week is really beneficial. It ensures I won’t take a night off because there’s something good on the telly, it’s too cold or hot, or because I just don’t feel like it. I don’t always understand what’s being taught, but I know my mind feels better when I start thinking about the teachings.”
“The homework, discussion and tests are really helpful as that’s the only way for a busy mum like me to learn. If anything, some imprint is better than no imprint. Each time I do the homework, and re-read the notes, it helps in clarifying some concepts and I get one step closer to understanding the teachings. I feel fortunate to have been exposed to these teachings through the kindness and generosity of Geshe-la.”
A wonderful Lama - Venerable Ribur Rinpoche - once told me to listen well to the teachings and then apply them to my life, otherwise there is no point. Geshe Doga’s teachings help me to do this; he always has such practical ways of applying the Buddha’s teachings to life. For me, attending Study Group makes this easier. The regular weekly commitment ensures there is some sort of consistency and continuity in thinking about the teachings. It also means that over the years you get to know people and develop a strong network of Dharma buddies that help you work out how the teachings can be applied in our lives and how to tackle our problems in a wiser way.