Curriculum Overview

What does the year-long curriculum consist of?

We use an online learning platform for our year-long Infinite Circle study group. The curriculum works to build three core competencies: connections to self (through study, reflective practices and compassion training), connections to others (through bearing witness, service projects, and study about the populations we serve) and connections to the system (understanding interdependence, engaging in political analysis, and cultivating perspective taking). The curriculum comes to life through monthly dialogue-based seminars and small group integration sessions, individual reading, reflection and creativity exercises, bearing witness and compassion training, and one-on-one interviews with a teacher.

CURRICULUM

The first year of the Infinite Circle is designed to take participants through a different topic each month for ten months. We will study:

  • “Community Engaged Zen Practice” as an outgrowth of “Socially Engaged Buddhism”
  • Our personal histories and relationships to money and the economy
  • The causes and conditions of economic marginalization and what we can do about it
  • Cultivation of a whole-systems-view of economic injustice, including its relationship to race, gender and the environment
  • Analysis of power and privilege in philanthropy and the opportunities and challenges for philanthropy in addressing economic justice
  • The place of activism, disrupting the status quo, and prophetic witnessing within social change

In addition, we will explore ideas related to “Beloved Community” and expand the notion of Sangha, as well as dharma-based approaches to understanding feelings of failure, resignation, being overwhelmed, imperfection and incompetence.

The curriculum also includes participation in monthly small group discussions and periodic bearing witness projects. For example, you may be asked to live on a food-stamp budget for a period of time, engage in generosity as a reflective practice, or bear witness to specific dynamics of the community in which you live.

This is an adult learning process. There will be no grades or paper writing requirements. However, there will be an opportunity to share a creative expression of what you have learned with your colleagues at the end of the program.

For those who continue, the second year will focus on the development of specific skills to lead dharma-influenced projects in marginalized spaces in your community.