Our free Seattle classes do not follow any particular “series” of instructions. The format is purposely designed that way so that visitors can walk into a class on any Saturday of their choosing, and not be baffled by unfamiliar terminology. Each class is its own self-contained block of “Truly Useful Buddhist wisdom” which can be immediately applied in your daily life.
The classes are extremely informal and you are welcome to come dressed as comfortably as you wish. During class, anyone is welcome to ask the teacher anything that comes to mind. If questions are too “off topic”, the instructor will invite you to stay after class to ask your particular questions, or will arrange a time during the week to meet with you personally at the temple.
Around 11am on Saturday the temple has its weekly service in the beautiful upper floor of the temple, and visiting students are welcome to attend and sit with the instructor. The service lasts about an hour and a half and is followed by a free community home-cooked lunch of traditional Vietnamese family-style cuisine. All students are welcome to attend the service and the lunch, but are never under any pressure to join those extra activities. If you simply want to stay only for the class, that’s perfectly all right … you can even arrive late and leave early if your schedule is tight!
Interest in Buddhism is growing steadily worldwide, especially in people seeking answers during this current global age of clashing ideologies, fanatical strife and senseless violence. The number Buddhist practitioners is growing at a phenomenal rate in many parts of the world … particularly in the USA. Most remarkably, in many countries in Asia where it was once forcibly displaced by Communism, it is making an amazing comeback.
Why is this interest growing so quickly? Perhaps it’s because more and more people are now recognizing certain facts about Buddhism, which we routinely touch upon in our classes:
It’s a religion of true peace that has never advocated any violence in its name.
Buddhism is one of the oldest religions of the world. Yet, it has the distinguished honor as the only religion that has never had a holy war. Nobody has gone to war to vanquish unbelievers or to convert others to Buddhism. No one has been put to the sword, or hanged or otherwise punished for not believing in Buddhism. There is no concept in Buddhism about defeating evil, or willfully altering the course of another person’s destiny. Even among different Buddhist sects, there is a remarkable spirit of friendliness and cooperation.
It’s a religion that emphasizes compassion, acceptance and kindness.
Buddhism has always been a great civilizing force. It tamed the nomadic and violent hordes of Asia and brought art, culture and civilization. Buddhists are known for their kind, accepting and non-judgmental ways. Today, as Buddhism spreads to new lands, it is not brought by aggressive missionaries intent on converting others but is typically established by the initiative of local people who invite instructors to share the teachings.
It’s a religion that provides a clear path for spiritual and personal development.
Buddhism is not a collection of myths and stories that test our rationality. It does not present itself as a mystery that can only be understood by priests or certain preferred peoples. Instead, Buddhism presents itself as a clear and credible path that anyone can undertake according to his or her own understanding and ability. It is a method that can be applied giving results that can be experienced immediately.
It’s a religion that teaches us to take full responsibility for our actions.
Buddhism does not attempt to explain the problems in the world as part of a mysterious plan of a deity. It does not blame fate or any divine being for whatever good or bad we experience in life. Instead, it teaches that we are accountable for the results of our past actions and that we are the masters of our own destiny. Buddhism insists that mankind take responsibility for its own actions.
It’s a religion that has no room for blind faith or unthinking worship.
Many religions present a set of dogma and then insist that people believe them, even when such dogmas appear strange or have been explained by science to be false or without basis. Buddhism has no place for such doctrines. It does not require blind faith but actually encourages its adherents to think, to question, and to develop acceptance based on understanding.
It’s a religion that welcomes questions and investigations into its own teachings.
Being totally self-confident, Buddhism opens itself to query and scrutiny. There is no concept of blasphemy or heresy in Buddhism. You can expect your questions on Buddhism to be answered with rationality, respect, honesty and candor.
It’s a religion that says sincere followers of other beliefs are also rewarded in the afterlife.
Buddhism is not like a football team or a political party. You don’t join it for the purpose of condemning others. Buddhism teaches that what we do now determines what happens to us in the future. This is a natural law in accordance with scientific principles and applies to everyone regardless of their religious label.
It’s a religion that is very much in harmony with modern science.
As scientific knowledge progresses it continues to undermine the foundation of many religions, despite the attempts of religious leaders to hinder and deny scientific knowledge and misinform their adherents. On the other hand, there is no scientific fact that contradicts Buddhism. Buddhism is the only religion that does not attempt to bend the facts to suit its faith. Indeed, much of modern science, particularly in the fields of psychology and physics supports the tenets of Buddhism.
Albert Einstein said “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.”
Classes are held every Saturday from 9-11am (the classes are free, and you can arrive late if that’s more convenient) at the Vietnam Buddhist Temple (gathering place of some of the friendliest people in Seattle). It’s very easy to find us:
Coming either North or South on I-5, take the Dearborn exit and follow any “Dearborn” signs. Turn either Right on Dearborn (if you were traveling North on I-5) or turn Left on Dearborn (if you were traveling South on I-5). In less than a half mile, turn left on Ranier Ave S, and a quick right onto S King Street. The temple will be on your right and has a bright red metal fence and a bright red and yellow building with a big, white statue in the courtyard (you can’t miss it). Park anywhere on the streets surrounding the temple (parking is free). Classes are held outside by the large bell on sunny days, and are held inside on rainy/cold days. Just ask anyone you see, and they’ll happily take you to the right spot.
Our classes do not follow any particular order, and were specifically designed that way such that you can drop in ANY Saturday and you’ll not be lost or confused. These Buddhist introductory classes are geared towards using the teachings of the Buddha in your everyday life such that you can immediately see useful results. Each class ends with practical suggestions for you to use throughout the following week such that you can personally test and verify that the teachings easily increase your “Overall Life Excellence”. The age of our students range from young teens to seniors … EVERYONE is welcome! If you have private questions you’d like addressed, just ask the instructor to stay after class is finished and you can ask ANYTHING that’s on your mind.
If you have any questions, just drop us an email by using this simple form: