A Bigger Sky:
No Part Left Out

Live Online Course

March 2nd, 2021 - March 28th, 2021

How can we reimagine Buddhism through a feminine lens, and reconnect with our wholeness?

Watching the moon at midnight,
Solitary, mid-sky,
I knew myself completely
No part left out.

—Izumi Shikibu

 

The teachings of the Buddha were passed down in an oral tradition for several hundred years after his death. Male monastic scribes infused his words with patriarchal bias and wrote women’s experiences and perspectives out of the narrative. Reweaving women’s stories back into these teachings is an act of reparation that can offer each of us a fuller understanding of awakening today.

During this four-week program, we will share stories and myths of ancient, archetypal Buddhist women, drawing inspiration from their nurturance, intuition, fierce compassion and embodied wisdom. Engaging these qualities can allow our practice to ripen and encourage us to more bravely and resiliently address the racism, misogyny and divisiveness we face in society.

Through guided meditation, dharma talk, readings, reflections, and integrative personal practice, we will discover a wider, more inclusive sky; a sky that supports the liberation of all beings, without exception.  

People of all genders are welcome.

Module 1 – Balancing Energies

Patriarchy harms us all, creating cultures that value masculine over feminine energies.

Traditional Chinese Medicine describes that when these energies fall out of balance, we experience the conditions we are facing today—individual stress and ill health, cultural inequity and divisiveness, and environmental chaos and disorder. 

In this module, re-visioning the story of the Buddha’s awakening, we will explore how to balance masculine and feminine energies within our lives.  

Module 2 – Hearing the Cries

Mahapajapati, the Buddha’s aunt who raised him after his mother died, was the founder of the Bhikkhuni (nuns’) sangha.

During this module we will use her words from the Therigattha poems to study how she balanced tenderness and care with tenacity and grit.

We will also study Ananda, the Buddha’s attendant, as an archetype of someone who “hears the cries” of the world, and finds the courage to advocate on behalf of those who are underrepresented or oppressed.  

Module 3 – The Great Mother

Prajna Paramita is defined as “wisdom beyond wisdom,” the dynamic interplay between form and emptiness, birth and death, knowing and the unknowable.

In this session, we will use the motherly archetype of Prajna Paramita to explore the power of darkness, mystery and not-knowing.

Instead of meeting these qualities with fear or aversion, we can embrace them to help us move beyond the limitations of the cognitive mind, and discover the “bigger sky” of our potential.

Module 4 – Life as Practice

The Buddha abandoned his wife Yasodhara when he left home in pursuit of awakening, and her story was often overlooked in earlier texts. In some instances, she remains nameless. 

Later texts bring Yasodhara to light; unlike the Buddha who “went forth” to seek enlightenment, Yasodhara is understood to have pursued a path of awakening at home while caring for her son, and tending the hearth and garden.

In this final session, we will take up the question: What if living fully immersed in the world was understood as a different but equally valid path toward freedom and peace? 

Testimonials

I have been blessed to have known and studied with Pam Weiss for over eighteen years. Using stories, poems, and personal examples from real life, Pam shares her deep knowledge and understanding of the Dharma and makes it come alive. An amazing teacher from the beginning, her ability to teach in ways that connect powerfully with the mind, heart, body, and soul just grows and grows.

- Kathy Burke
Santa Clara, California

Pam has been my teacher and coach for many years now. After every session I wonder what it is she does to make me feel so seen. It is as if, afterwards, I understand new parts of my personality and life. It is like being in an old fashioned darkroom where exactly the right amount of exposure creates the most magnificent photos. I don’t understand the chemical process, just as I don’t understand how Pam brings the best of me forward, but I am totally and forever grateful for having her as my teacher and coach.

- Flemming Christiansen
Copenhagen, Denmark

Pam possesses rare qualities as a teacher. My studies with her are ongoing for 20+ years now. Embodying the heart of a bodhisattva is an exquisite teaching that brings hope and wisdom. I can attest that students of all levels will find her teachings accessible. I find with each class I take with Pam, I come away refreshed and inspired in my own practice.

- Ellen Connelly
Bainbridge Island, Washington

Live Online Course Details

4 Live Q&A Sessions

Each Sunday, join Pam and your coursemates live to discuss personal experiences, ask questions about the teachings, and receive insightful feedback and guidance from your teacher.

Contemplative Exercises

Deepen your understanding of the teachings through thought-provoking assignments.

5 Hours of Pre-Recorded Video Teachings

Filmed in high definition, Pam’s videos provide an intimate feel to keep you engaged as you tune in through body, mind and heart.

Guided Meditations

Whether you have little or lots of meditation experience, Pam will help you to strengthen your skillset through a variety of mindfulness techniques.

Schedule

Dates

Course launch: 2 Mar (no meeting)
Interactive 1: 7 Mar (LIVE 60 minutes)
Interactive 2: 14 Mar (LIVE 60 minutes)
Interactive 3: 21 Mar (LIVE 60 minutes)
Interactive 4: 28 Mar (LIVE 60 minutes)
Note: Interactives will be recorded for those who cannot attend

Times


9am PST, 12pm EST, 5pm GMT, 6pm CET
9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 4pm GMT, 5pm CET*
9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 4pm GMT, 5pm CET*
9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 5pm BST, 6pm CEST

*Due to clocks changing in the US,
Interactive 2 and 3 will start 1 hour earlier than normal for those outside of N. America only

About Pamela Weiss

Pamela Weiss is a Buddhist teacher authorized in both Zen and Theravada, and author of the 2020 book, “A Bigger Sky: Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism.” She is a guiding teacher at San Francisco Insight, a member of the Spirit Rock Teacher Council, and co-leader of the Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader program. Pamela is also an executive coach, entrepreneur, and pioneer in bringing Buddhist principles and practices into the workplace. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and little dog, Grover.