Professor: Dr. Juan Manuel Cincunegui
The purpose of this course is to introduce, in a progressive and articulated way, a series of contemplative practices that have their origin in the Buddhist tradition, but adapted to our secularised culture.
These practices allow us to access a deep understanding of the nature of consciousness, its functioning and its various levels of manifestation. This exploration offers us the opportunity to recognise an inexhaustible source of lucidity and altruism, hidden beneath a radical misunderstanding of our identity, the disturbing emotions and habits that solidify this erroneous apprehension about ourselves and the world we inhabit.
The practices we will explore are designed to refine our capacity for attention, cultivate our discernment, shape our sensitivity and attitudinal disposition, investigate waking states in relation to dream states, and understand the ultimate nature of the experience.
The program consists of four modules:
Module 1: Focusing the mind and Opening the Heart
We will explore different strategies to improve our ability to focus and achieve a state of serenity, while cultivating uplifting affective attitudes.
Module 2: Mindfulness. Understanding our Experience
We will learn to apply mindfulness intelligently to various spheres of our experience: the body and its surroundings/world, the five sensory consciousnesses and the mental consciousness, the sensations, feelings, emotions, the discursive mind, its contents and basic structures, and other more subtle spheres of our experience.
Module 3: Discovering the Other: Altruism and Responsibility
The aim is to model our affective dimension, cultivating the attitudes of love, care, joy and impartiality that help us to reduce self-centric habits and to assume altruistic perspectives and attitudes based on a cosmopolitan sense of universal responsibility.
Module 4: Appearance and Reality: Living, Dreaming and Dying
The exploration of the states of consciousness that manifest in the transits of waking, dreaming and dying, will allow us to analyse the ultimate nature of the world we experience, of the mind and our own identity, while offering us tools that help us test the hypotheses of a non-material foundation of experience.
- The ultimate purpose of meditative practice. Calming the mind by attending to the breath. Loving attitude and happiness.
- Calming the mind by bringing the mind to its natural state. Suitable conditions for the practice of mental serenity. The compassionate attitude.
- Calming the mind by attending awareness. Lines of research in the study of consciousness: philosophy, phenomenology and contemplative traditions. Factors and obstacles to achieving meditative stabilisation. The joyful attitude.
- Mindfulness directed at the body and the world/environment. The perceptual dimension. The five elements. The three marks of existence: impermanence, dissatisfaction and absence of essence. Meditation in action. The attitude of impartiality.
- Mindfulness directed at feelings. The three types of suffering. Understanding as a subtle form of grasping. Parallels between the Buddhist analysis of experience and the phenomenological contributions of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty. Origin and nature of feelings.
- Mindfulness directed at the mind and its contents. The mental dimension. The nature of ignorance.
- Mindfulness directed to the phenomenal world.
- Cultivating a universal perspective. Empathy. The disadvantages of selfishness The advantages of altruism. The mental attitude of exchanging oneself with others. The practice of giving and receiving. The three dimensions of consciousness. Transforming problems into a path to happiness.
- Appearance and reality. Emptiness and dependent arising. The illusory nature of self and “mine”. The illusory nature of the world. Lucid dreaming and dream yoga: techniques for recognising the dream as a dream, transforming dreams and seeing through dreams.
- The mystic. The dream analogy and the metaphor of spiritual awakening.
H.H. DALAI LAMA. (2000). Dzogchen. The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection. (P. Gaffney, Ed., Thubten Jinpa, & R. Barron, Trads.) Ithaca. New York: Snow Lion.
H.H. DALAI LAMA. (2002). Advice on Dying and Living a Better Life. (J. Hopkins, Ed., & J. Hopkins, Trad.) London: Rider.
H.H. DALAI LAMA. (2006). How to See Yourself as You Really Are. A Practical Guide to Self-Knowledge. (J. Hopkins, Ed., & J. Hopkins, Trad.) London: Rider.
H.H. DALAI LAMA. (2009). Becoming Enlightened. (J. Hopkins, Ed., & J. Hopkins, Trad.) London: Atria.
H.H. DALAI LAMA, & Berzin, A. (1997). The Gelug/Kagyü Tradition of Mahamudra. Ithaca. New York: Snow Lion Publications.
HOPKINS, J. (1987). Emptiness Yoga. The Tibetan Middle Way. (J. Wilson, Ed.) Ithaca. New York: Snow Lion Publications.
HOPKINS, J. (2001). Cultivating Compassion. A Buddhist Perspective. New York: Broadway Books.
LEKDEN, K. (1998). Meditations of a Tibetan Tantric Abbot. (J. Hopkins, Ed., & J. Hopkins, Trad.) Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.
WALLACE, B. A. (2005). Genuine Happiness. Meditation as the Path to Fulfillment. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
WALLACE, B. A. (2006). The Attention Revolution. Unlocking the Power of the Focus Mind. Sommerville MA: Wisdom Publications, Inc.
WALLACE, B. A. (2011). Minding Closely. The Four Applications of Mindfulness. Ithaca. New York: Snow Lion Publications.
Juan Manuel Cincunegui holds a BA and PhD in Philosophy from the Universitat Ramon Llull and a PhD in Citizenship and Human Rights from the Universitat de Barcelona. He is currently working on a third doctorate in Sociology at the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies at the Universitat de Barcelona.
Between 1992 and 2000 he studied Buddhist in various institutes and monasteries in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. He was ordained a Buddhist monk by H.H. Dalai Lama. He did several years of solitary retreat and has served as instructor, interpreter and lecturer in Buddhist centers in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
He is founder and teacher of Mind, Life and Society. A center for the study of consciousness, ecology and social and political ethics. www.mentevidaysociedad.org
He is currently a lecturer at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) on the Master’s Degree in Humanities: Contemporary Art, Literature and Culture, where he teaches Contemporary Philosophy. He also teaches on the Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies and the Master’s Degree in Interreligious, Ecumenical and Intercultural Dialogue at the Institut Superior de Ciències Religioses de Barcelona (ISCREB-URL), where he teaches Philosophical Anthropology, Religions and Human Rights, Buddhism, Sociology of the Religion and Psychology of religion.
Personal website: http://www.juanmanuelcincunegui.com/