“Just as the great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt,

the dharma has one taste, the taste of freedom.” — The Uposatha Sutta

Instructor: John Clark. My email address is and phone number (504) 920-6523. An archive of about 350 of my texts can be found at

Location: The group will meet for three weeks on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at 7725 Cohn St. in New Orleans (see map below). Space is limited so please reply to if you would like to attend.

Course Description: This course investigates major issues in Buddhist philosophy. More importantly, it explores the Buddhist vision of an awakened life of mindful care for all beings and considers what this vision might have to offer to a world of personal suffering, social injustice, global conflict, and devastation of nature. We read classic Buddhist texts from India, China, Japan, and Tibet, drawn from the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions, and contemporary works coming from a variety of countries and traditions. We will investigate Buddhist views concerning the nature of reality, knowledge and value, and basic teachings such as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. We will study key Buddhist concepts such as Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, emptiness, dependent origination, impermanence, selflessness, suffering and liberation, and examine the Buddhist ethics of compassion and non-attachment. We will focus on developing a deep understanding of how Buddhist philosophy relates to basic human experience, our relationships to others and to nature, and goals such as freedom, happiness, and wisdom. This course is sponsored by La Terre Institute for Community and Ecology.


Text: Bercholz and Kohn, The Buddha and His Teachings (Boston: Shambhala, 2003). Copies can be ordered from the publisher and very inexpensive used copies can be found online. PDFs of the readings can be found at

Schedule of Readings

April 9             “The Life of the Buddha (3-25)

April 11           “Engaged Buddhism” (247-249); “Moral Conduct, Concentration, and Wisdom” (96-114)

April 16           “Moral Conduct, Concentration, and Wisdom” (114-121), “Karma and Its Fruit” (122-129); “The Practice of Recollection” (130-140)

April 18           “On Trust in the Mind” (147-152); “Unlimited Friendliness: The Metta Sutta” (141-142); “The Heart Sutra” (153-156); “The Bodhisattva Path” (168-176)

April 23           “The Enlightenment of Hui-neng” (192-204); “To Forget the Self” (205-210)

April 25            “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” (227-239); “Chase Them Away!” (289-294)