PLEASE NOTE:   Update on Status of Spring 2021 term (December 1, 2020).  Classes continue as planned this spring at Maitripa College, beginning January 19, 2021. In accordance with local public health and educational guidelines, classes in spring term are being held online. Optional, periodic, onsite meetings incorporating rigorous social distancing may eventually be held at the instructor’s discretion if state and local regulations permit in the coming months. Other than legal mandates, the safety and comfort of our faculty and students is the primary factor motivating all campus decisions. All classes will have remote-only options for registered students in Oregon for the entirety of the spring semester, and/or the duration of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Spring 2021 Course Schedule
(see individual course descriptions below)

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Spring semester courses begin on January 19, 2021 and continue through May 14, 2021. Drop/add is from January 19 – February 1, 2021, after which date registration fees and tuition will be incurred and alterations to enrollment require contacting the registrar or your academic advisor.  Please join the Maitripa College community as a Continuing Education student this spring.  Please note the special opportunity for non-residents to join this semester due to remote learning – or apply now for admission to the Fall 2021 cohort in our MA or MDiv programs – by following the links below.

If you are new to Maitripa College and are wondering if a course or degree program is right for you, please contact us at [email protected].

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Spring 2021 Course Descriptions 

ARP502 – Action Research Project I

The Action Research Project is a form of integrative and collaborative research, reflection, and writing. Students become researchers by choosing a principle question and working with faculty mentors to design a research project. The action researcher is at the center of the inquiry, change, and learning that comes through the process. Action research impacts the researcher on personal and professional levels, and intends to positively impact others as well. ARP502 students will hone their research question, identify their positionality, build a literature review, understand research ethics standards and write consent forms or other ethics documents as needed, explore research methods and describe their selected tools and methodologies, and write a research proposal. The course is successfully completed upon the approval by a committee of their proposal. Research plans should be then implemented between the proposal approval and enrollment in ARP504, usually at least six months.

MA and MDiv students’ final degree requirement, to be determined in consultation with their academic advisors, may be the completion of an MA exam, thesis, MDiv comprehensive paper, or the action research project, for students commencing their degree prior to August 2020. All current degree students are strongly encouraged to enroll in ARP502 (second semester, MA; second or fourth semester, MDiv) or ARP504 (4th semester or final program year, MA, MDiv) in Spring 2021 to work towards completion of their individual final degree requirements within a cohort and faculty supported structure.

ARP504 – Action Research Project II

Building upon ARP502, students who have implemented their approved Action Research Project proposal and successfully gathered significant data enroll in ARP504 to complete their Actional Research Project. In this term, students will learn to analyze their data, organize their thinking for audiences, produce a written, formal paper of their findings, and present their research to the community.

CS302 – Finding Your Voice: Communication and Context

This is the second course in the service pillar at Maitripa College, which builds on the foundation of the first term, exploring concepts and practicalities related to identifying and expressing yourself as a spiritual leader in modern society and establishing a unique and relevant “voice.” We will explore traditional, historical, and contemporary “voices” of Spiritual Leadership, and mediums for expressing that voice, including online platforms, the Academy, spiritual communities, and others. This class includes a concurrent 15 hour service project.

CS304 – Servant Leadership in Buddhist/Spiritual Communities

This course will explore methods of servant leadership in support of Buddhist/spiritual communities, with a particular emphasis on cultivating the inner and outer qualities of skillful community ministry. Students will develop their understanding of our impact on others and increase awareness of how issues such as equity, trauma, ethics and so forth inform the ways in which we share and represent the dharma. This course will help strengthen students’ understanding and practice of compassion for others, including discussion of contemporary application of skillful means, co-constructing spiritual practice environments, facilitating group practices, religious education and pedagogy, working in relational dynamics, and integrating these pieces into one’s personal service.

MDT302: Techniques of Buddhist Meditation: The Medium & Great Scope

This course will continue with instruction in meditation based on the foundations established in MDT 301. The course will be taught in an interactive format, allowing students the opportunity to learn specific meditations as directed by the instructor, practice them, and discuss their experiences in class. The subject matter will parallel the topics of Buddhist philosophy as taught in as taught in PHL302. Part of this class will include regular meditation sessions out of class, the keeping of a sitting journal, and the opportunity for discussion on the effect of these practices on the individual’s mind. If desired, the committed student will have the opportunity to work with the instructor to design a personal meditation practice.

MDT308: Techniques of Meditation: Mahamudra

This course will continue with instruction in meditation based on the practices established in MDT 302 and/or 303, with a focus on deepening Shiné (calm abiding) and practicing mahamudra instructions for realizing conventional and ultimate natures of mind. The subject matter will parallel the topics of Buddhist philosophy as taught in as taught in PHL308. The course will be taught in an interactive format, allowing students the opportunity to learn specific meditations as directed by the instructor, practice them, and discuss their experiences in class. Part of this class will include regular meditation sessions out of class, the keeping of a sitting journal, and the opportunity for discussion on the effect of these practices on the individual’s mind. If desired, the committed student will have the opportunity to work with the instructor to design a personal meditation practice. This course meets degree requirements as the equivalent of MDT304: Techniques of Meditation A Dose of Emptiness, and may be taken in addition to MDT304 for credit towards the MA or MDiv degrees.

PHL302: Foundations and Ethics of Buddhist Thought: The Medium and Great Scope

This class surveys the foundational philosophical ideas of the Buddhist tradition as presented by the great pandits of India and commented upon by the Tibetan inheritors of the Indian Buddhist tradition. The course will make use of philosophical treatises (primary sources in translation), literature, and historical analysis to present the foundations of Buddhist philosophy. Readings may include selections from Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakosha, Dharmakirt’s Pramanavarttika, the Abhisamayalamkara (attributed to Maitreya), Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, and “Seventy Topics” from the Ornament of Clear Realizations by Maitreya, as well as modern scholarly analysis of the same. There will be a particular focus on the readings as they relate to the medium and great scope of the Lamrim (Stages of the Path genre) as presented by the Tibetan scholar Je Tsongkhapa and others. Students will gain a strong foundation in Buddhist philosophy including key topics that relate to the medium and great scopes (ways of describing spiritual practitioners’ stages of motivation and aims) such as: cause and effect, the potential for enlightenment, and the structure of existence according to the Buddhist world view. Students will also gain a strong understanding of the Buddhist philosophic underpinnings of critical concepts such as: loving kindness, great compassion, and abandoning the mind of self-cherishing, the mind of enlightenment, the six perfections, and an in-depth examination of the path of a bodhisattva.

PHL308: Mahamudra: Realizing the Nature of Mind

The aim of this course is to explore the Great Seal, Mahāmudrā, which in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism is the attempt to realize the conventional and ultimate nature of the mind through a combination of philosophical analysis, calm abiding meditation, and special insight meditation. Study of the function and nature of mind is considered in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist schools to be essential for understanding how to tame the mind and cultivate realizations. We will first focus on psychological and philosophical approaches to the conventional nature of the mind through such sources as Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośa and Dharmakīrti’s Pramāṇavārttika. We then will turn to an in-depth study of Mahāmudrā, with initial attention to the Indian sources of the Great Seal, including such figures as Saraha and Maitrīpa, and the theory and practice of Mahāmudrā as developed in Tibet among the Kagyu. After exploring the origins and development of Geluk Mahāmudrā, we will focus in depth on the instructions for practice found in the Great Panchen Lama Losang Chökyi Gyaltsen’s root-verses on Mahāmudrā, his auto-commentary on the root-verses, and his inspired and inspiring spiritual songs. Finally, we will approach the ultimate nature of the mind through Candrakīrti’s Madhyamakāvātara and the writings of selected Tibetan Buddhist masters. This course meets degree requirements as the equivalent of PHL304: A Dose of Emptiness.

PHL450: Theories & Methods of Buddhist Studies

This course is designed to give students the methodological and theoretical tools needed to think critically about ways to approach the academic study of Buddhism. What are the goals of Buddhist Studies? What are the best methods for achieving those goals? What sorts of presuppositions and assumptions do we bring into our work and our orientation towards “Buddhism”? Do our presuppositions and assumptions serve our goals? How do political, religious, and/or ideological preferences impact our engagement with the object of study? What are the authoritative sources for the information we want and how do we determine that? How do we understand and interpret the “data”? What sorts of responsibilities do scholars have? What we study and how we study it are inextricably tied to questions of theory and method. Those who see methodological discussions as needless academic meanderings do not somehow thereby free themselves of methodological biases. Everybody engages their object of study with a theoretical and methodological orientation. The goal of this class is to encourage students to do so consciously, to think about their own assumptions and the assumptions of the broader community of scholars who engage the Buddhist traditions within modernity and postmodernity.

THL339 – Mindful Compassionate Dialogue II

People who experience connection to core values while engaged in meditation, prayer, and other spiritual practices may also find that when they step back into daily life ‘off the cushion,’ they can get lost in a swirl of criticism, doubt, and confusion, and may not see how to really put those values into action regardless of who and what they encounter. This course asks us to look into our own values and actions, and aims to cultivate insights and the beneficial competencies to find and express compassion, love, and honesty regarding oneself and in relationship with others. Mindful Compassionate Dialogue is framework for these concepts and a systematic set of tools. In spring 2021, this course builds upon THL337.

This course introduces twelve Relationship Competencies, each with six specific skills. These competencies are the manifestation of compassionate relating and wise action, and arise from nine foundational practices: Attunement, Warmth, Security, Equanimity, Clarity, Concentration, Awareness, Health, & Regulation. These nine foundational practices arise from the core intention to benefit all life (or, for some, bodhicitta). The course will focus on a selection of these competencies, skills and foundational practices. Students will enter a safe environment for practice and learning and should expect to share experiences from their lives. For each class there will be an introduction to concepts and skills, practice time in structured exercises in pairs or small groups, and then whole group questions and discussion time.

TIB301r: Seminar in Tibetan Translation

Students read and translate Tibetan texts and their commentaries in their original language. In this course we will learn reading and reciting Tibetan texts, developing pronunciation, and translating with an emphasis on communicating the meaning.