Cultivation is at the heart of the Buddhist spiritual path. To cultivate the Buddhist path is to recognize the conditions for suffering and dissatisfaction in our lives and the lives of others, and to freely commit to a way of transforming these conditions into the causes of joy, selflessness, kindness, and peace for all. The great work of living meaningfully in the world and transforming suffering into joy is ultimately a matter of skill and practice.
The Three-Fold Training of Ethical Living, Meditation, and Wisdom is our guide for self-cultivation and represents the foundation of our Buddhist life. At the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple we offer a progressive approach with each level of training building on the next to provide a clear map for balanced and successful development as a practitioner. There are no divisions between inferior and superior practices. Everything learned in any one program becomes the foundation for the next.
The spiritual path is not an easy path. On a personal level it requires time, dedication, commitment, and patience in order to practice at home and in the world. On a community level, practicing the Buddhadharma requires discipline, accountability, and support, and so we also emphasize the vital communal nature of practice, so that, except for those studying the Five Buddhist Precepts, all program participants meet regularly and practice together to share in the joys and sorrows of cultivating our Buddhist life and to inspire one another through good Dharma friendship. Buddhist communities thrive when diverse members at varying levels of depth cultivate this path together.
Although all training programs have a formal beginning and end each calendar year, participants are always strongly encouraged to continue returning to these programs to deepen their meditation practice, to renew their commitments, and to continue serving as mentors and inspiration for other community members through their cultivated presence.