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Ways of Wisdom
Study Circle

Join us this fall

We will dive into the recently published In Love with the World: A Monk's Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, with Helen Tworkov.


"Vivid, compelling.... This book is a rarity in spiritual literature. Reading the intimate story of this wise and devoted Buddhist monk directly infuses our own transformational journey with fresh meaning, luminosity and life." —Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge


Scroll down for more details.

How we began

In the fall of 2017 and 2018, 15–20 people came together biweekly to explore the life stories and teachings of Buddhist women practitioners. Originally the Women of Wisdom (WoW) study group, we recently changed our name to emphasize that a "feminine" way of knowing and being isn't confined to one gender. In fact, how we define the feminine is a work-in-progress, drawing from traditional teachings, what we are observing in women teachers and our own experience, and what we are uncovering as we peel back the historical overlays of patriarchal cultures, including our own.

See notes and resources from our previous sessions:

Fall 2017

Fall 2018


Some guidelines for our meetings

  • sangha without borders: all backgrounds and affiliations welcome

  • grounded in personal experience, plain language

  • confidentiality: sharing our own stories, not those of others, both inside and outside the group

  • focus on listening, allowing space for emerging insight and quiet voices​ 


Fall 2019 Book Study: In Love with the World

At the age of 36, Mingyur Rinpoche slipped through the monastery gate in the middle of the night, leaving behind the comfort, safety and claustrophobia of the structures that had defined his spiritual life. As he ventured into the unknown, his experience paralleled the search for the life-giving, sometimes ruthless, wisdom of the feminine. Hers is the wisdom of naked awareness, birth and death, and the play of coincidence in everyday life. In this book study we will relate Mingyur Rinpoche's journey to our own, as well as to the collective journey now unfolding in our communities and our world.​​

When and where

Biweekly, October 3–December 12, 2019, 7:00–9:00 pm.

At the Nalandabodhi Centre, 6218 Quinpool Rd, Halifax, NS

No pre-requisite except reading the book.

Zoom option available. Click here to join

Donations at the door to cover space rental. Contact us with questions.

October 3
Letting go and letting wisdom arise

Reading: pp 3–47. Host: Susan

Quotes that stood out for us:

  • "I was dying to my old life.... The challenge was to let go of the resistance."

  • "The fear of letting go of familiar identities—of one's ego—is fear of freedom."

  • I had grown into them <identities> and I needed to grow out of them."

  • "Invite death. Serve tea and make friends with it. Then you won't have anything more to worry about."

Contemplation: What am I dying to now?

Practice: Sound meditation, p. 36

Some themes from the discussion:

  • Transitions, grief. We tend to move on to the next thing too quickly, without honouring and grieving who and where we've been, what has been lost. Grieving opens a space for rebirth.

  • Privilege. We don't even recognize it until it is challenged or disrupted. E.g., white privilege.

  • Trust. If you can't trust anything that is impermanent, what can you trust?

  • Self-compassion. We can't always drop our attachments right away. We need to pace ourselves, be gentle.

  • Fight-or-flight. When primal, survival oriented emotions like fear and panic are triggered, the practice is to go back to mindfulness of the body, awareness of sensations.

  • Aging. As we get older, we need fewer external disruptions to "add wood to the fire" of the work of letting go. Loss, dying and death become constant companions/reminders.

October 17
The gap: what happens when the masks fall away

Reading: pp 48–96. Host: Barbara. Notes: Molly

Quotes that stood out for us:

  • “Learn to ‘mind the gap’ ”.

  • “When I allowed the panic to happen, it would self-liberate…. Our problems do not need to be liberated by some outside force. If I stayed with the recognition of awareness, I would be ok.”

  • “You are here and you are not here, both.”

  • “The alienation from myself transferred to alienation from others.”

  • “Relating to other as other turned them into omens of calamity. For the fear to be eliminated, I would have to become the other, which was no different from dying as Mingyur Rinpoche.”

  • “Liberate ourselves by letting go of grasping.”

  • “What would it take to perceive a tree as a process rather than an object… What about the person we most love, or what about ourselves?”

Some themes from Mingyur Rinpoche and our discussion:

  • Bardo states: some we experience during and after death, others are moment to moment. Life is always changing, dying, becoming.

  • 6 realms: Rinpoche’s father Tulku Urgyen taught the realms as afflictions and states of mind we experience in this lifetime. Getting caught up in these keeps us from realizing our true nature.

  • We can train to slow down and watch our thoughts. Move beyond afflicted states. Learn to “mind the gap,” where we experience pure perception. Gap is another word for bardo.

  • It’s hard to see difficult situations as the buddha realm; difficult people as pure beings.

  • Suffering arises because we don’t like ‘now’. Wanting another now.

  • We have to exchange self for other, not put ‘other’ at a distance.

  • Have to go into things, not try to get away from them.

  • If we saw ourselves and others as a process, we’d be curious. Wouldn’t solidify, fixate.

  • Rinpoche’s recounting his experience blows our concepts of teachers having things all figured out.

  • When you die, all you take with you is your state of mind (a statement we recalled Pema

  • Chodron hearing from the 16th Karmapa)

  • Buddha families: the neurotic aspects can be flipped. Not solid. No need to cling to panic, anger, passion. Wake up to it, see it.

  • Our efforts to liberate panic may keep us in it. But we have had experiences of something opening, clarifying. Don’t act, don’t suppress. We can recognize anger is there, not take it personally. People’s anger isn’t always about ‘me’.

October 31

Momento Mori: Remember death

Reading: pp 97–132. Host: Debra.

November 14
Wisdom Flame potluck

Details TBC

November 28
Where the Buddha died

Reading: pp 135–194

December 12

Giving everything away

Reading: pp 195–253