These online courses are designed to support practitioners in the midst of daily life, so practice and experience can impact how we interact with others, our world, and ourselves. This “in the world” focus encourages the integration of the teachings into all the places we touch our world.
Dharma Ocean offers two ways to study virtually. The Foundation Series with Reggie Ray and Caroline Pfohl are go-at-your-own-pace courses designed to introduce students to the main practices offered inside of the Dharma Ocean lineage.
The Sutrayana Series with Neil McKinlay is a more scholarly and intensive 10-week course, with two parts. This series is one of several prerequisites for any student who wishes to attend the residential retreat, Vajra Assembly, held each summer.
The Foundation Series
The four courses in the Foundation Series are designed to introduce participants to the foundational somatic meditation practices of the Dharma Ocean lineage. The courses are sequential, with each course building upon the material of the preceding one. Therefore participants must take each course sequentially, beginning with Awakening the Body and ending with The Vajrayana.
Awakening the Body
This course leads us in exploring the view and practice of somatic meditation and how it reveals the joy, altruism, and creativity that resides at the core of our being. Designed for beginning and advanced students alike, the training focuses on a series of powerful somatic meditation practices drawn from Tibetan and East Asian Buddhism and spiritual Taoism. This course is open to all and is required in order to take any additional Foundation Courses. Begins each fall.
The Somatic Practice of Pure Awareness
This course teaches the simplest and also the most advanced teaching—the essence—of the Tibetan tantric tradition. Pure Awareness is our most fundamental nature, a part of ourselves that is neither born nor dies and underlies all of the experiences of our human life. Awakening the Body is a prerequisite for taking this course. Begins in the later fall or earlier winter of each year.
The Boundless Heart and Loving the Self: The Somatic Practice of Bodhicitta, Part I
This first bodhicitta course explores ultimate bodhicitta as well as maitri, loving-kindness, toward oneself. A somatic understanding of the ultimate or dharmakaya, and an ability to appreciate the sacredness of our own being, are essential in order to love others and to be of benefit to the world. The first offering of Awakening the Heart will require prior participation in The Somatic Practice of Pure Awareness. Begins each fall of each year.
Connection, Communication, and Love: The Somatic Practice of Bodhicitta, Part II
This second part of this course allows us to refine our somatic awareness by further tapping into the subtle warmth and wisdom of our heart. Through embodied bodhicitta (or awakening heart) practices, we discover the heart as the source of wisdom within our body. This course explores relative bodhicitta. The second offering of The Boundless Heart requires prior participation in Part I. Will begin in the spring/early summer of each year.
The final course of the foundation series is an introduction to the integration of the somatic approach into the totality of our lives, offered by the radical vajrayana path of practice. This course will be developed soon. The first offering of the Vajrayana will require prior participation in The Somatic Practice of Pure Awareness and Boundless Heart I and II, above.
Sutrayana Online Series
Sutrayana is the Tibetan classification of “yanas”, or Buddhist mode of practice that leads to the realization of one’s true nature.
The Sutrayana series, a two-part series led by senior teacher Neil McKinlay, is a study and practice intensive that has a study and discussion requirement. While it includes a great deal of practice, it focuses more on the philosophical underpinnings of this somatic, tantric lineage.
Each part consists of a 10-week course of study and practice that is engaged at home, deep within our daily lives. Readings, study questions, recorded talks, and group teaching calls will be held with Dharma Ocean senior teacher Neil McKinlay. Participants examine the foundational perspectives of this lineage. Guided meditations, ongoing contemplations, active discussion groups, and a continuing relationship with a personal meditation instructor help bring these perspectives to life.
There are no prerequisites for Sutrayana Part One, and Sutrayana Part Two requires the successful completion of part one. Both are necessary for those would like to attend the in-depth residential retreat Vajra Assembly.
Part One: The Foundation Yana
Part One of the Sutrayana Series is an online offering where practitioners can deepen their understanding and experience of the lineage embodied by Reggie Ray and his teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. This course begins in the winter of each year.
Part Two: The Mahayana
Part Two of the Sutrayana series is the second part of this online offering. Participation in Part II (offered in fall 2018) requires successful completion of the Foundation Yana portion of this program or any previous Sutrayana event offered by Dharma Ocean. This course begins in the fall of every year.