October 13, 2020

A Whole-Life Path: Outline

Meeting Descriptions

Gregory Kramer’s IMS Book Club


Meeting #1: November 10, 7 PM ET
Crafting Your Path (Overview)

Chapters 1-5, 12

If we truly aspire to ending our personal ignorance and craving, supporting relationships rooted in lovingkindness and compassion, and contributing to human flourishing and to a just and humane society, then we need a fully immersive, always-on engagement with the Noble Eightfold Path. We need to engage the Buddha’s Path as a whole-life path.

Key to a whole-life path is the understanding that everyday engagements, formal practices, and study work together to bring about the peace and goodness you seek. Contemplating the Dhamma throughout our days brings wisdom into the folds and creases of life.

Find a starting point and linking a path factor practice with an everyday action. Here are some questions to guide you: Does your path begin with your creative work, profession, meditation, family life, study, or activism? Or do you feel most inspired by observing moment-by-moment intentions, relational encounters, or reflecting on the depths of the Buddha’s understanding of the mind? Are you inspired to meditate alone? With others? The path is every moment. What could it look like for you?

Meeting #2: November 17, 7 PM ET
Relationships Connect Individual and Social Freedom

Chapters 4, 7

Freedom is for all of us. A Whole-Life Path connects the Buddhist path and social justice work via human relatedness. Specific relationships are the link between individual peace and peace at the collective level. The “right action” teachings of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path is the vehicle for exploring cause and effect in individual action, action by people in relationship, and action by groups and society as a whole. Suffering and stress, we see, are sustained by the intoxicants of greed, self-centeredness, and ignorance at all levels. The process of becoming free is thus a detox process undertaken individually, in all our relationships, and via the social structures we’ve collectively established.

Meeting #3: November 24, 7 PM ET
Economic Justice, Climate Change, and the Buddhist Path

Chapter 8

In A Whole-Life Path, Gregory Kramer taps into the Buddha’s teachings on nuns’ and monks’ requisites for life—food, clothing, shelter, and medicine—and connects them with the movement of resources in a layperson’s life. All at once, we see how the Buddha’s teachings on “right livelihood” relate to how we handle money and resources. Our food, shelter, and clothing choices, for example, connect us in a global resource web. Seeing that access to medical care is a requisite of life, we confront questions of equity. When we understand that our personal and collective choices have profound moral consequences, we come face to face with economic justice and climate change, two of the greatest social dilemmas of our time. With deep roots in the traditional Buddhist path, Kramer shows how recognizing and changing our everyday behaviors is a part of our mindfulness work that can have a profound social impact.