Practitioners groups are on-going groups for CSS members who want to dedicate themselves to practicing the teachings of the mystics from the major religious traditions. These groups meet once a week starting in October and ending in the summer. For exact meeting dates, times, and locations, please see the CSS calendar. Practitioners may sign up for multiple groups. The Foundation Studies course or Distance Studies Course is a prerequisite to attend other practitioners groups.
Practitioners groups are not "drop-in" groups. To attend a group, you should register in the Fall when making your membership pledge. If you need to take a leave of absence from a group, or need to be absent, please let the teacher know in advance. In addition to these on-going year-long practitioners groups listed below, CSS teachers may also offer shorter duration classes, workshops, or seminars, which last a few days or a few weeks.
2023-2024 Practitioners Groups
(All times below are US Pacific time)
Foundation Studies Class
This year, the Foundation Studies class will be taught by David. See the Foundation Studies Class page for more details.
Distance Studies Course
The distance studies course is a self-directed course of study following a set curriculum, with guidance from a CSS mentor. This is an alternative to the Foundation Studies Class. For details, see Distance Studies Course.
Practitioners Group (Todd)
Location: CSS Meeting Hall with hybrid Zoom
Days and Times: Wednesdays from 3:00 - 4:30 PM Pacific, October 4 through June 19
Description: We will be reading and discussing excerpted manuscripts, with an emphasis on practices of meditation and precepts, and will begin with readings and practices to help us tap into our intrinsic nature of love and compassion. Most of these manuscripts listed below are from Cha’n and Zen Buddhist authors, and a few are from the Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedanta. The tentative list of books from which manuscripts have been extracted for this year are as follows:
A few mystical poems and quotes, to begin.
Awakening Thru Love, by Lama John Makransky, On Receiving Love.
The Faith to Doubt, Stephen Batchelor- Reflections on meditative opening, unknowing and non-dual listening.
Peaceful Heart, Dzigar Kongtrul- Discussion and practicing with the virtue of Patience.
Free Yourself of Everything, by the abbot of the Tao Ch’an Center in Wiesbaden, Germany, Zen Master Wolfgang Kopp. This writing embraces the mysticism of many of the ancient Chinese masters, as well as teachings from Christian and Hindu mystics.
The Fundamental Ambiguity of Being Human- Pema Chodron- On Uncertainty and the ground of unknowing.
Encouraging Words, Zen Master Robert Aitken- Just a few pithy quotes regarding fear, death, and other aspects of delusion.
You are Still Here, by Zen Priest Kyogen Carlson- On dissatisfaction, Hungry ghosts, death and birth.
Silent Illumination, by Guo Gu, Chan Master- on Resting as Silent Illumination, with quotes from Zen master Hongzhi
Wake up to Your Life, Ken Mcleod- On various aspects of insight meditation, and a look into death.
The Heart of Prayer, Rupert Spira- On devotion and surrendering to one’s nature as Presence.
I will be sending all readings out via email attachments to all participants, so there is no need to purchase texts.
Practitioners Group (Andrea)
Days and Times: Mondays from 6 - 8 PM, Oct. 2 until summer.
Description: This class will be a continuation of our study of 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva (a being who is on the path of awakening for the benefit of all sentient beings), with the book Brave Generous Undefended by Barbara DuBois. For those continuing and for new students who can catch up and have a meeting time 5:30 - 6 PM, then 6 PM - 8 PM class continues. New students are welcome to listen to last years recorded teachings.
Practitioners Group East (David)
Days and Times: Tuesdays 5:00 - 6:30 PM, starting late Sept./early Oct..
Description: The Tuesday ("East") group is reading and discussing Salvadore Po’s book "Liberation Is: The End of the Spiritual Path." We read and discuss each chapter’s contents each week. So far people have enjoyed this procedure, as Po’s writing is stimulating, and different from much of what’s available regarding the spiritual path.
Practitioners Group West (David)
Days and Times: Thursdays 7:00 - 8:30 PM, starting late Sept./early Oct..
Description: The Thursday ("West") group is reading and discussing Nisargadatta Maharaj’s book “I am That.” We read and discuss this book, which is now considered a modern spiritual classic, and which stimulates much conversation.