Sravasti Abbey Friends Education (SAFE) on-line distance learning program
What Is It?
Sravasti Abbey Friends Education program helps people to:
- deepen their spiritual practice through Buddhist study and meditation, and
- strengthen their connection with Venerable Thubten Chodron and Sravasti Abbey.
Each session is 12 weeks, with Fall and Spring sessions.
Each SAFE course involves:
- Weekly assigned teachings in video, audio, or written formats
- Weekly group discussions, facilitated online or locally if there is a SAFE group near you
- Daily meditation practice
- Keeping a portfolio of written reflections that facilitators give feedback on
Course participation requires about 3-5 hours of weekly study and at least 20 minutes of daily meditation.
In the breaks between courses, participants stay connected by:
Source Material & Facilitators
The course features teachings by the Abbey’s abbess, Ven. Thubten Chodron. Videos and commentaries by her teachers are also included: H.H. the Dalai Lama, Khensur Jampa Tegchok, Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche, Geshe Sonam Rinchen, and others.
Course facilitators include monastics, monastic trainees, and long-term students who have progressed through the SAFE program.
Requirements & Sign Up
The SAFE program is offered freely, to anyone who:
- sincerely wishes to learn the Buddha’s teachings and apply them in life
- wants to be part of an extended Dharma community and contribute to it
- is willing to commit time and energy to actively engage in the program.
During the course, we strongly encourage you to live within the five precepts: to abandon killing, stealing, unwise or unkind sexual expression, lying, and taking intoxicants.
Read what others have said:
We currently run ten courses, with more to come. You enroll starting with Course 1A and complete each course before enrolling in the next one in sequence.
Course Descriptions I through IX
Courses IA & IB
Introducing the Buddha’s Teachings and the Foundation for Buddhist Practice
Courses 1A and 1B cover topics such as happiness, working with emotions, gaining an accurate view of ourselves and our lives, and how to set up a daily practice.
Three Principal Aspects of the Path
Course II explores the meaning of renunciation and the determination to be free, the reasons and methods for cultivating it, and how to ascertain when we have generated renunciation.
Three Principal Aspects of the Path
Bodhicitta is the altruistic intention to benefit all living beings, including oneself, and to become a Buddha in order to do so. This module explores the advantages of bodhicitta, its importance, and how to cultivate it.
Karma means action. This module covers virtuous and non-virtuous actions and their results, how the law of cause and effect functions, and how to purify destructive actions.
The Four Truths for Noble Ones – Part 1
The Four Truths for Noble Ones (often translated as the Four Noble Truths) are the foundation of the Buddha’s teachings. Here we examine our current situation, its causes, the possibility of attaining liberation, and the path to that liberation.
The Four Truths for Noble Ones – Part 2
In Part 2, we delve more deeply into the aspects of the Four Truths for the Noble Ones.
Once we have a basic understanding of cyclic existence and our human potential, we take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and the Sangha. This course explore what that means.
The Six Perfections – Part 1
The six perfections – generosity, ethical conduct, fortitude, joyous effort, meditative stability and wisdom – are practices that benefit us and those around us, now and in the future. This course examines the first three practices—generosity, ethical conduct, and fortitude—exploring what makes them “far-reaching,” and how to cultivate them.
The Six Perfections – Part 2
This course continues study of the six perfections and looks at the second set of three practices: joyous effort, meditative stabilization, and wisdom; the advantages gained by cultivating them; and methods for cultivating them.
Without the wisdom ascertaining the correct view of how things actually exist, we cannot cut the ignorance that is the root of our misery. In this course we will discuss what ignorance is, how it functions as the root of cyclic existence, the wisdom that counteracts it, and how to cultivate that wisdom.
Study of the Mind
SAFE course 11 covers a wide range of topics based on the first three chapters of The Foundation of Buddhist Practice by HH Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron. The course begins by examining the four seals, the two truths, then examines types of mind. The Lorig teachings are taught from the Sautantrika view by Venerable Sangye Khadro. The course concludes with classifications of phenomena, twelve sources and eighteen constituents, and consciousness and mental factors
“Due to my participation in the SAFE course, I have a renewed energy for daily meditation. I have a great appreciation for the idea of sangha, and I have a better understanding and greater appreciation for the Dharma!”
“I learned so much in these courses I’m ready for the next one…..have my books, motivation and commitment all set to go. I rejoice in this unique opportunity to study with Sravasti Abbey.”
Learn from books by Ven. Thubten Chodron.