Welcome, and thank you for embarking on the journey of studying and practicing the Dharma. This action is a wonderful way for you to realize the aspiration of living a more conscious and balanced life and it can serve to assist you, and others, in the quest for liberation from suffering.
People come to the Dharma Study and Training Course for many reasons. Some want to learn the history and philosophy of Buddhism. Some come out of a desire to learn to live a more satisfying life. Some see the turmoil and pain in world and want to explore a spiritual way in which to help diminish that. Some hope to share the benefits of their study and practice with others.
Becoming a student in the Dharma Study Course means making a commitment to the program of study, and learning how to live a more enlightened life. The path that you have undertaken is not always straight. Many of our students discover that commitment will change their views and behavior over time. Sometimes this can lead to questioning and even changing their old assumptions and conduct. Sometimes there is an internal resistance to these changes; sometimes there is resistance to them from the surrounding environment. Life sometimes presents its own challenges, and that may affect your ability to complete the full course of study. That, however, in no way diminishes either your positive impulse, or the courage it takes to continue on the Path in, or out, of the classroom.
I encourage you to take your study and practice seriously. We found that those students who do so benefit most. A few of our students embarked on a monastic life as a result of their participation in class. Others went on to develop and operate Buddhism courses for those incarcerated. Some students organized their own sanghas. A number of our students retained their original non-Buddhist religious affiliation but found that the course deepened their understanding and appreciation for that faith.
The course-work, while challenging, can be completed by anyone who works at it. Besides the formal aspect of study, the course is designed to allow you to find your own voice to express your understanding of the Dharma. We have made every effort to help encourage our students and assist them in their work. While I cannot, presently, be with you as much as I would like, our priests and lay Dharma teachers give generously of their time and talents to help you succeed in reaching your intellectual and spiritual goals. We have also taken great care to ensure that everything that is part of the course helps you to go deeper in understanding Buddhism, your own life, and the beauty inherent in the world.
Thank you for making the time to start on a path that for many has been a positive life-changing experience. We hope that the content of our website (following manual) will help you with your studies. We also hope that after ending formal studies our students will share their knowledge and practice with those who are in need, and make an effort to help others find hope and happiness.”
Venerable (Dr.) Thich Tri Hoang,
Founder and President, Dharma Teacher Order Inc.
Abbot, Pháp Nguyên Temple, Pearland, Texas