Dhamma Contemplation is a simple, contemplative practice that enables us to enter into the Buddha’s teachings. It can be practiced individually, yet as a group practice it is singularly powerful at revealing layers of meaning in these profound early texts.
The Dharma Contemplation process has similarities with the Christian tradition of Lectio Divina and the Zen group practice of Renga. Participants begin by contemplating a short excerpt of the Buddha’s teachings and over the course of five distinct practice phases engage one another, speaking the truth and listening deeply. Participants move from engagements with just the words of the text, then to the emotional resonances it evokes. This leads to a cognitive investigation of the meaning and finally, setting the text aside, to an exploration of present moment experience: how has this life been touched by the Buddha’s words. The process is more poetic than academic though the talents of the thinking mind are included.
In Dharma Contemplation (dhamma in Pali) the wisdom we are contemplating comes directly from the Buddha via his oral teachings, which have been passed down in the Pali texts for two thousand years. Just as we can experience intimate and elucidating contact with a good friend or teacher—mind to mind, heart to heart—we can do so with the Buddha via his legacy in a remarkably direct way: human to human, Buddha to Buddha. Dharma Contemplation provides a structure to help us realize this capacity.
For more information, please visit our group practice and resources page or download Gregory Kramer’s book, Dharma Contemplation: Meditating Together with Wisdom Texts.