A Gradual Path of Study & Practice
Students join the Nine Yanas program and approach Vajrayana more gradually through more intensive study and contemplation.
The first Six Yanas of the program include teachings, contemplation, and reflection exercises that unfold gradually. Within these three stages, the student practices the Treasury of Blessings sadhana as a framework for meditation practice.
This progressive approach provides a structured framework with which to better understand and implement the Buddha’s precious teachings. By studying, contemplating, and meditating in stages like the levels of a staircase, we can gain realization more swiftly.
First Yana: Shravakayana
Shravakayana refers to the foundational vehicle of Buddhism. Shravaka means “hearer” or “listener”. A follower of this path develops a strong sense of renunciation and weariness with the cycle of rebirth. In order to attain this liberation, the hearer trains to realize the view of selflessness of person. Shravakas avoid the ten non-virtues, practice ethical behavior, and cultivate contentment. Meditation training begins with calm abiding, or shamata meditation.
In this course, Matthew Zalichin, resident teacher at Samye Hermitage New York, will lead students through the seminal text, The Seven Points of Mind Training, brought to Tibet by the great Atisha Dipamkara and committed to writing by Chekawa Yeshe Dorje.
Second Yana: Pratyekabuddhayana
The Pratyekabuddha refers to a “self-realized” practitioner who studies without the direct guidance of a teacher. Like the Shravaka, they cultivate detachment and renunciation. The primary focus of their contemplation is the 12 Links of Dependent Origination. Through this, they come to realize the view of selflessness of person and half the view of selflessness of phenomena. The result of this pathway is the self-liberation of an arhat.
Third Yana: Bodhisattvayana
Bodhisattvayana refers to Mahayana Buddhism (the Great Vehicle), which emphasizes the bodhisattva ideal and the principle of shunyata (emptiness). Bodhi means “enlightened”; sattva means “being.” A bodhisattva is a courageous being who out of compassion aspires to attain enlightenment in order to benefit all sentient beings. However, the bodhisattva’s compassion is only authentic if conjoined with the realization of the emptiness of all phenomena.