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9 Week Study Course for
"Ethics For the New Millennium"

By His Holiness the Dalai Lama


Starting a Study Circle

About Study Circles
The Dalai Lama Foundation supports the study circle model to support ethics and peace education in a setting that combines hope and inspiration with a sense of community and personal reflection.

We believe if we are to build a world in the twenty first century where every sunrise promises reduced suffering, increasing concord and more widespread peace, we must begin in a small way, at a personal, family, and community level. As we develop a stronger understanding and practice of ethics, we will influence whatever surrounds us, whether as a parent, an employer, a community leader, or a policy-maker.

Study groups are a proven format for making the vital process of ongoing study and education come alive. These groups offer a forum for honest and respectful interaction that helps us to practice ethics and nonviolence in a very tangible way.

A study circle is simply a gathering of friends who are interested in learning more about a topic and how it can be applied in their lives. You do not have to change your life and you do not have to commit to taking any major action. However, most people find that their study does lead to personal, internal change and invigorates them to engage in some level of action.

The great thing about the study circle format is that you don’t need to be an expert to start or lead a group. Our hope is that you will find this Study Guide may serve as an inspiration and map to setting out on your own course of exploration with your friends and colleagues. This Study Guide reflects the experiences of one group of six friends who have been meeting for over a year. The fun comes in creating your own culture, proceeding at your own pace, strengthening your bonds with your study partners, and enjoying your own learning style.

Study Materials
• Our first course of study is based on the book Ethics for the New Millennium by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

• To accompany the Dalai Lama’s book we have developed a Study Guide that gives a summary of each chapter's key concepts, as well as suggestions for discussion questions and practice exercises.

Getting Started
• Gather a group of friends who are interested in studying together. We've found that a group of four to ten people is about the right size. Find a home or comfortable environment for meeting.

• Set a regular meeting time. This is an accelarated timeline to fit within the Season for Nonviolence, so we recommend meeting once a week. The Dalai Lama Foundation suggests that once or twice a month is about right for most groups.

• Choose a date for your first meeting and send out the invitation with the Warm-Up Session assignment (see below).

• Order the recommended book for everyone: Ethics for the New Millennium by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

• Download the Study Guide for Ethics for the New Millennium or include the link in your e-mail invitation.

• If you need help to get your study circle started, email us at studycircles@dlfound.org

• We'd also love to hear about the experiences of your circle and get your feedback on our materials and ideas.

Meeting Format
There is no right or wrong way to structure your meetings and you will naturally adopt a format that feels most comfortable for your group. Here's a sample format that's worked for us.

• Before the meeting, read the assigned book chapter, review the Study Guide for that chapter, and reflect on the discussion questions.

• We enjoyed bringing snacks and having tea and coffee available as people arrived.

• In order to set the stage for the conversation to follow, take a few moments to share your motivation for coming together. What is it that animates you, personally to explore this subject? What do you seek to learn? To share?

• Have the facilitator start by summarizing the chapter's key concepts.

• Lead into a group discussion based on the questions you've selected.

• Near the end, go around the room to share final individual observations and commitment to any personal practices or actions based on the material you've covered.

• Close with one person giving voice to your hopes for how your work together may be of benefit to yourselves, your families, community, and our shared world.


Copyright©2004, The Dalai Lama Foundation
On the web at http://www.dalailamafoundation.org
You may make any number of copies of this Study Guide, for free non-commercial distribution,
as long as our copyright, web address, and this full notice appear on all copies.