The Three Paths of Practice HEALING, TRANSFORMATION, AWAKENING
The Florida Community of Mindfulness (FCM) offers Buddhist teachings that are relevant to the realities of day-to-day life and lead to personal transformation. While practicing in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, we take inspiration and guidance from the full breadth of Buddhist teachings. We are creative and experimental in our forms since we desire to be relevant and accessible to American culture, issues, and vernacular. We apply the Buddhist teachings based on their appropriateness to the individual(s) being taught and practice skillfulness in their application.
As an engaged Buddhist community, our understanding and practice of the Buddha’s teachings – the Dharma – has developed organically over the past two decades. The 2,600-year old Buddhist lineage offers a deep and rich trove of traditional teachings and meditation practices. Through the interplay of this lineage with the needs, aspirations and aptitudes of our modern Western community, a natural unfolding of Dharma practice has evolved.
Under the guidance of our teacher, Fred Eppsteiner, FCM has created a three-part developmental path for Dharma practice and personal transformation: the Mindful Living Path, the Dharma Path, and the Wisdom Path. Its purpose is to take the practitioner from a life of unsatisfactoriness, superficiality, emotionality and egocentricity to a life of meaning, depth, stability of positive emotions, and selflessness. These paths can be understood, by analogy, to wishing to drink a bowl of a pure and nourishing liquid.
The Mindful Living Path: Beginning Your Practice
First, we make sure the bowl is clean (diminish the mental projections and the endless neurotic meanderings of our minds, heal our psychological wounds, and lessen narcissistic thinking). The study and practices of the Mindful Living Path focus on developing a solid foundation of mindfulness and experiencing significant emotional healing (read more).
The Dharma Path: Deepening Your Practice
Once we have achieved some degree of mindfulness and emotional stability, we can pour the pure liquid (the teachings and practices that help transform our suffering and lead to a life of goodness, clarity and ease) into the bowl. The study and practices of the Dharma Path focus on uprooting the misperceptions that are at the root of our suffering and turning our minds towards the Dharma (read more).
The Wisdom Path: Expanding Awareness
Finally, we can drink deeply to receive the full nourishment (deeply experience the essential nature of ourselves and all life). The study and practices of the Wisdom Path help us to realize who we truly are and to live a life of liberation and selflessness (read more).
The Three Paths can be used to both 1) gauge one's level of aspiration and current experience, and 2) to clearly lay out a program of study and practice. Our teacher has provided guidance for each stage of the path, including core teachings, practices, readings and activities. In our community, the undertaking of each path is guided and supported by the teacher and senior students who act as mentors to newer members, thus ensuring the transmission is direct, personal and appropriate to each student’s level of development.
An introductory talk by Fred about the Three Paths can be accessed via this link. A self-assessment tool that FCM members can use to find where they are on the Three Paths can be accessed via this link (be sure to log in first to access this link).
Florida Community of Mindfulness, Tampa Center
6501 N. Nebraska Avenue
Tampa, FL 33604