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Untangling Self

A practical inquiry into who we think we are.

A course led by Shaila Catherine and Sharon Allen

Thursdays June 28 – August 9, 2018
There will be no meeting on July 5 due to Independence Day holidays.

In this 6-week, teacher-led book group, we will contemplate Untangling Self by Andrew Olendzki—an intriguing new book that explores how the teachings of not-self can be understood, appreciated, and realized through contemporary Buddhist practice.

The author is a Pali Scholar, vipassana practitioner, and longtime member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He has served as executive director of the Insight Meditation Society and Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and led the Mapping the Mind project for the Mind & Life Institute. Untangling Self is pervaded by his practical knowledge of the Discourses of the Buddha, Abhidhamma psychology, and countless encounters with contemporary meditators. Each chapter draws on important Buddhist concepts and doctrines that are critical for comprehending how the sense of self is constructed and functions.

The course will be led by IMSB’s teachers Shaila Catherine and Sharon Allen, both of whom have studied directly with Andrew Olendzki and are very familiar with these topics. Guided meditations and discussion of the reading assignments will be augmented by teachings or teacher-led exercises. Students are expected to read one chapter per week (10 – 20 pages) to prepare for the in-class discussion.

Required Reading: Untangling Self, by Andrew Olendzki, Published by Wisdom Publications, ISBN: 978-1-61429-300-2

The paperback version of the book will be available for purchase at IMSB events during the two months prior to the course. Alternatively, you can purchase a copy from a bookstore or online bookseller.

  • Week 1 – Understanding the Buddha
  • Week 2 – Mindfulness and Meditation and Non-self
  • Week 3 – Understanding Ourselves
  • Week 4 – The Interdependence of Experience
  • Week 5 – Healing or Harming?
  • Week 6 – Rethinking Buddhism

WHO SHOULD JOIN: Some previous experience with meditation is expected. The topic and concepts are profound, but presented in clear and easily comprehensible language.

COURSE LEVELS: This course is designed as a level 2 course. Click this link for a key to course level designations.

Registration is required for this course. Registration will open two-three months prior to the start date of each course. Registration fees are non-refundable. To register select an option under the Tickets heading at the bottom of this page. If you are viewing this page more than two months in advance of the course, the ticket feature may not have yet appeared, so please check back later to register.

The sliding scale fee range is from $360 to $90 and will be shared between IMSB and the teacher(s). The lower end of the sliding scale is intended for those with limited means. The basic rate of $90 is estimated to cover the most basic costs such as rent and insurance for the specific class period. The base rate does not factor in compensation for teachers or ongoing administrative expenses for IMSB. The scholarship rate of $45 offers an even lower rate for those with very limited financial means.

By choosing to give at the mid to high range of the sliding scale your generosity supports those with limited income to attend our programs, and it supports IMSB and the teachers, enabling the dhamma to thrive in the South Bay Area. We encourage you to choose the highest level that is appropriate for your economic situation. If you need additional scholarship assistance and can volunteer to help, please inquire with the registrar about service scholarships by contacting ThursdayClassAddress_at_imsb.

Ticketing Tip: You may purchase series tickets on any day of the series. When you purchase a ticket you are registering for the entire class series. So you only need to register once.

The basic registration fee is not tax deductible and non-refundable. Donations above the base rate will be considered voluntary tax deductible contributions. Each January the IMSB treasurer sends donors letters that acknowledge the accumulated deductible donations from the previous year. This annual letter will acknowledge the amount given that is above the basic rate and serve as documentation for tax deduction purposes.

All fees and payments are non-refundable. If it becomes necessary to cancel participation in a course, and the registrar is notified prior to the start of the first class meeting, your registration fee will be converted into a voucher creditable towards the fee for a future IMSB Thursday Class. Vouchers must be used within one year of the initial course start date, and may be transferred to only one future course. Cancellations that occur after the start of the first class are not eligible for the voucher credit.

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