Weekend One: February 26th - 28th

The Pure Lands are an integral aspect of Indian Mahayana, Tibetan and East Asian Buddhisms rarely taught in the West. For most of us, they represent our greatest opportunity after death. These two weekends on exoteric (sutra) and esoteric (tantra) Pure Lands are designed to provide everything you need to know about the Pure Land tradition. The first weekend explores the origins and development of the Pure Land tradition in India and Tibet and the lineage of masters that support its propagation, touching also on its expansive development in China, Korea, and Japan. We will talk about the role of the pure land teachings in the popular imagination of masses of laypeople throughout Asia, and define the many types of pure lands, their entry requirements, and why Amitabha’s Pure Land of Sukhavati is so unique. Why should we take rebirth there, and how can we better develop the bodhisattva vow by going there? What is it like being in a Pure Land, and how can I help those left behind by going to one? What constitutes Pure Land practice? 

 The central tenets of self-power vs. other-power, and the role of faith and devotion are explored. The power of merit is presented, and how the transfer of merit works with transforming karma. What are the causes for rebirth into a Pure Land, and how can the transfer of Amitabha’s merit bring me into his Pure Land? How is Sukhavati different from heaven, and Amitabha from God -- how do we relate to Pure Lands, both theistically and non-theistically? We will also present and discuss a number of pure land art works from various cultures throughout Asia.

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Robert Thurman

Robert Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University as well as Co-Founder and President of Tibet House US/Menla in service of HH Dalai Lama & the people of Tibet. A close friend of the Dalai Lama’s for over 50 years, he is a leading world-wide lecturer on Tibetan Buddhism, passionate activist for the plight of the Tibetan people, skilled translator of Buddhist texts, and inspiring writer of popular Buddhist books. His most recent book is the 300 page graphic novel, Man of Peace: the Illustrated Life Story of the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

In partnership with Nena Thurman and dedicated contributors, he now focuses on making Tibet House US and its Menla Retreat & Spa a global center for the promotion, study and practice of Tibetan Buddhist healing arts and sciences of body, mind, and spirit, dedicated as a complement to the vast life work of its patron, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Andrew Holecek

Andrew Holecek has completed the traditional three-year Buddhist meditation retreat and offers seminars internationally on meditation, dream yoga, and the art of dying. He is the author of many books, including Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom From the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, and Dream Yoga: Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep. His work has appeared in Parabola, Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, Utne Reader, Buddhadharma, Light of Consciousness, and many other periodicals. Andrew’s work joins the knowledge of the West with the wisdom of the East in providing a full-spectrum approach to help us realize our human potential. He holds degrees in classical music, biology, and a doctorate in dental surgery. Andrew lives in Boulder, Colorado.

See andrewholecek.com for more information.


  Friday, February 26th - Day One
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  Saturday, February 27th - Day Two
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  Sunday, February 28th - Day Three
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