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"Gateway to the Spiritual Path" is just like Buddhism for Dummies, but instead of reading about the road to enlightenment, you can learn how to walk it at this weekly workshop. Today's gathering is the first in a four-part series of classes that introduce folks to Buddhist theory, focusing on compassion, wisdom, and understanding. "Many overarching principles of Buddhism are common to every spiritual path — whether it be Christianity, Judaism, or Islam," says Bill Kirchner, president of Jewel Heart Cleveland, which hosts. "We're not trying to convince people to become Buddhists."

Next week's class, "Good Life & Good Death," centers on karma and reincarnation. "People in the West think karma is some kind of savings bank — a cosmic thing, like a tree is meant to fall on your head," says Kirchner. "We overmystify it, because it's pretty straightforward cause-and-effect. And reincarnation is not what people normally think. It's not, like, I'm going to wake up one day and say I used to be Cleopatra."

The final two outings, "Odyssey to Freedom" and "The Three Principles of the Path," look at the 14th-century teachings of Tibetan Buddhist Je Tsongkhapa and his moral code of discipline. "You can come hear about it [today], try to make sense of it, and decide why you agree or don't agree with it," says Kirchner.
Sun., May 28, 1-2:30 p.m.

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