An Appropriate Response:
Heart of a Bodhisattva
an Online Course
with Pamela Weiss
12 September – 8 October, 2017
About the Course
In an old Zen story, a student comes to visit his dying teacher.
“What is the teaching of your entire lifetime?” he asks.
The teacher replies, “an appropriate response.”
We live in an increasingly complex, divisive world.
What does it take to respond rather than react?
What is needed to meet the profound challenges of climate change, growing economic disparity, and entrenched systems of misogyny, racism and oppression?
Based on the ancient Buddhist archetype of the Bodhisattva, this four-week program will introduce a path and set of practices to help address the significant issues of our time.
A bodhi (awake) sattva (sentient being) is a wise, sensitive person dedicated to alleviating individual and collective suffering.
Bodhisattvas understand that we are intricately interconnected; that no one of us can wake up and be free unless all of us are free.
This radical reorientation lies at the heart of the Buddha’s awakening and is the ground for walking the Bodhisattva Path.
In our time together we will explore steps and stages of the path including: discovering sources of inspiration, articulating our heartfelt aspiration, and uncovering our unique gifts and capacities.
Each week, in addition to video teachings, you will be given readings, reflections and practices to deepen the teachings and help integrate them into the fabric of your daily life.
Module 1: Being Bodhisattvas
The first module will ground us in the first Noble Truth: dukkha — the suffering, angst and dis-ease we experience in ourselves, in our relationships, and in the world — and our wish to help ease it. We will explore what it means to be a modern Bodhisattva, and what it takes to walk the Bodhisattva Path.
The module will focus on three aspects of being Bodhisattvas:
2. The importance of finding true refuge as the ground and support for addressing the pain and divisiveness of the world.
3. How we can shift from habitual reactivity to responding with kindness and clarity
This module lays the direction and groundwork for the rest of the program, leaving you with clear direction for how to discover your heartfelt intentions and support your ability to embody these in your life. Between sessions you will begin to articulate a personal vow that integrates your aspiration and clarifies your commitments.
Module 2: The Hero’s Journey and Life of the Buddha
The second module will draw on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and stories from the life of the Buddha to illuminate the stages of our own spiritual path. Specifically, we will explore:
- The Call: Cultivating the capacity to listen deeply, and the 4 Heavenly Messengers. Here you will explore what is calling you now.
- The Departure: Stepping into the unknown, and the teaching of the 4 Upadanas. Here you will examine what needs to be let go of — old habits, beliefs and points of view — so you can step into new ways of being and engaging with life.
- The Struggle: Meeting the inevitable obstacles that arise, and the voices of Mara. Here you will look at the major obstacles that keep you from moving toward your Calling, and ways to work with them.
- The Awakening: Opening to new insights and perspectives, and deepening wisdom. Here you will deepen your understanding of what it means to awaken and how to move toward embodying the truth of our interconnectedness and realization of non-divisiveness.
- The Return: Clarifying our unique gifts, and cultivating qualities of the heart. The Path does not end with Awakening, but with the ability to return to our familiar lives with insights and capacities to share with others. Here you will explore the gifts you wish to awaken and offer the world.
This module offers a map of key steps on the spiritual path, illuminated by the life of the Buddha. It will offer a clear picture of the universal stages of the path and insight into your own spiritual journey.
I have been blessed to have known and studied with Pam Weiss for over eighteen years. Using stories, poems, and personal examples from real life, Pam shares her deep knowledge and understanding of the Dharma and makes it come alive. An amazing teacher from the beginning, her ability to teach in ways that connect powerfully with the mind, heart, body, and soul just grows and grows.Kathy Burke
Pam has been my teacher and coach for many years now. After every session I wonder what it is she does to make me feel so seen. It is as if, afterwards, I understand new parts of my personality and life. It is like being in an old fashioned darkroom where exactly the right amount of exposure creates the most magnificent photos. I don’t understand the chemical process, just as I don’t understand how Pam brings the best of me forward, but I am totally and forever grateful for having her as my teacher and coach.Flemming Christiansen
Pam possesses rare qualities as a teacher. My studies with her are ongoing for 20+ years now. Embodying the heart of a bodhisattva is an exquisite teaching that brings hope and wisdom. I can attest that students of all levels will find her teachings accessible. I find with each class I take with Pam, I come away refreshed and inspired in my own practice.Ellen Connelly
Module 3: Individual and Collective Struggles
The Buddha is said to have summed up his teaching like this, “I teach one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering.”
In this module we will look more closely at the struggles we encounter on the path, extending from the individual to the collective.
Investigating more deeply at how to disarm our inner critic, and will how the practice of mindfulness and teachings from Buddhist psychology can help reveal our fundamental reactivity, ignorance and bias.
We will work with the teaching of the Five Skandhas, Karma, and Buddha’s advice to his son, Rahula, to expose and begin to dismantle our individual and collective ignorance.
You will leave with greater clarity about your own struggles and understand how the difficulties we face can become doorways to awakening compassion.
Module 4: Staying Awake
The final module will explore the Buddha’s awakening, and the expression of waking up as the embodiment of gratitude, generosity and giving. We will unfold the teaching of the Buddha’s Three Watches of the Night and the cultivation of Dana Paramita to deepen our understanding of what awakening is and how we can stay awake as we go forward.
You will leave with specific practices for deepening the cultivation of generosity, and ways to bring your unique contribution and gifts alive in the world.
The course will unfold over 4 weeks beginning Tuesday 12 September, 2017.
The 4 online teaching modules will be interspersed with 4 live sessions with Pamela where you can bring your questions and comments and dialogue with her through our unique live interactive video platform.
Released every Tuesday
9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 5pm UK, 6pm EU
These can be watched on demand at your own schedule once they are released.
Live Interactive Sessions
Sundays at 9:00am PDT, 12:00pm EDT,
5:00pm UK, 6:00pm EU
Your chance to see and speak with Pam, get clarity on the content and how you are understanding or struggling with it.
Also get the benefit of how other participants are progressing, and learning from their questions in a supportive group environment.
Interactive 1 – Sunday 17th September
Interactive 2 – Sunday 24th September
Interactive 3 – Sunday 1st October
Interactive 4 – Sunday 8th October
All live sessions will be recorded. And all course content will be made available for as long as you need it.
Click here for a list of technical requirements for the live sessions.
Pamela Weiss is a Buddhist meditation teacher and the Founder of Appropriate Response www.appropriateresponse.com
Pamela has been a Buddhist practitioner for 30 years, and is trained and authorized as a teacher in both the Soto Zen and Vipassana (Insight) traditions.
She is also an executive coach and pioneer in bringing dharma principles and practices to leadership and organizational transformation.
Pamela lives in San Francisco with her husband, Eugene, and her little dog, Grover. She leads a weekly meditation group through San Francisco Insight, and teaches meditation workshops and retreats internationally.
I have been taking courses with Pam since 2010 and continue to learn and be inspired by her interpretation of Buddhist teachings. Not only do her offerings give practical and accessible ways to implement the teachings in everyday life, the offerings are always enriched with supplementary reading and practices that I have found to be inexhaustible. There is no end point to the learning and it makes everyday life more meaningful.Jey Wyder
Pam is an incredibly wise and loving teacher, with an ability to tell stories that touch the heart and also open possibilities for more nuanced attention in life and relationships. She deeply embodies what she teaches, illuminating the path of kindness and responsiveness to life in simple, unpretentious, and, thus, inspiring ways.Cindy Marteney
Pam is gifted at bringing the dharma into focus for everyday life, making experience on the cushion relevant in ordinary, nitty gritty living. I am grateful for her ability to make harder to grasp aspects of the teachings accessible and relatable. Pam is a force for broadening the appeal of the dharma without sacrificing its ethical or intellectual rigor, and most important, for keeping the compassionate heart at the center of everything.Cathi Murphy
“I have known Pamela for more than two decades and can say without a doubt that she is one of the wisest women I know. She embodies the highest integrity and ethics, and is a master teacher who brings extraordinary creativity and compassion to personal and global transformation.”
— Diana Winston, Director, Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, LA
“Pam listens and guides through an embodied truth. A truth grounded within felt-senses of awareness and understanding, nourished by decades of spacious practice. Through Pam I am witnessed, heard, felt and compassionately challenged.”
— Jozen Tamori Gibson, Director, Awake Youth Project, Brooklyn, NY