Cloud Dharma Study
Weekly Teleconferences

Announcing the Cloud Dharma Discussions for 2017! Second Trimester May 2 - August 29
Inside Vasubandhu's Yogacara by Ben Cannelly. Wisdome Publications, 2016

We will take a look at one of the seminal teachers in the Soto Zen lineage.  He was born to a Brahmin family sometime between 316 CE and 500 CE and lived in Kashmir where he lived and was a prolific writer and commentator.  Ben Connelly takes us inside the cryptic verses in “Thirty Verses on Consciousness Only” to an exploration of how this early Mahayana writing can be valuable in our practice today.

Ben Connelly spoke to the Atlanta Soto Zen Center earlier this year.  So some of our fellow Silent Thunder Order members have had the experience of listening to this teacher who brings a voice from our Zen past into the present.  Please join us as we explore our personal paths in Zen with the guidance of Vasubandhu and his commentator Ben Connelly.

Schedule for Discussions

Week Date Chapter Pages
1 5/2


1. Self and Other 

2. The Eight-Consciousness Model

2 5/9 

3. Store Consciousness

4. Aspects of the Buddhist Unconscious

3 5/16

5. Mind Makes Self and Other

6. Stuck on the Self

4 5/23

7. Seeing Through I, Me and Mine

8. The All

5 5/30 No Discussion
6 6/6

9. Mindfulness of Phenomena

10. Five aggregates, Five Universal Factors

7 6/13

11. Cultivating Seeds of Goodness

12. Being with Suffering

8 6/20

13. Taking Care of Suffering

14. Not Always So

9 6/27

15. The Water and the Waves

16. On Thinking

10 7/4 Fourth of July Holiday - No Discussion
11 7/11

17. Projection Only

18. The Process of Consciousness

12 7/18

19. The Ripening of Karma

20. Three Natures


The suggested donation is $10 per teleconference if you are able. A donation in any amount is gratefully received. Dana in gratitude for the teaching should be donated by each participant weekly or monthly. Your donations allow Taiun to continue teaching and practicing full time for our benefit so please return his generosity by donating promptly and consistently.
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To Participate
You will need to use the Skype software. You can learn more and download the free software from If you wish to take part during a teleconference, contact the coordinator listed above.

General Format to be Followed
1) The Anchor, or person assembling the group, will connect participants about 7:55 pm EST.
and then turn over to the Moderator for the night. The Moderator, the person conducting the discussion, will introduce the topic for the night, Moderator announces that a timing bell rings every 10 minutes to keep the group on track. Finally, the Moderator asks the Teacher (Taiun/Tesshin/Zenku) if they would like to make some brief introductory remarks. Generally only 3-5 minutes.

2) There may be a question posed by the Moderator. This is meant to encourage introspection and examination of the practice of zazen.

3) The discussion is conducted in the form of a seminar with the Moderator posing a question for discussion. A response can be a comment, observation, or a reaction to the reading. While the Moderator will ask everyone at some point if they want to say something, it is perfectly alright to say you have nothing at this time. Your presence is as important as making comments.

Note that one persons comment/question may lead other participants (but not the Teacher, at this point) to ask for clarification, or it may lead to posing another point of view. This is the point where dialog between participants is appropriate. This does not imply that any views are wrong, but it does imply that we are jointly seeking a better understanding. Offering comments based on our own personal experience, or on what other teachers have offered is appropriate. It is not appropriate to dismiss or disparage another's comments. It is best to keep a "wide view" of the practice.

After all have a chance to comment on the question the Teacher will comment on the discussion and offer their own understanding of the content, the context, the history, or other views of the issues/question at hand.

This keeps the discussion open to all, but allows each person to participate meaningfully.

No one has to participate who does not want to, but all will be asked if they have a comment.

Finally, if there is a large group be mindful of the length of your comment. We would like to give all an opportunity to participate.

4) The Moderator, as possible, announces the end of the evening's discussion by asking if the group is ready to chant the Four Great Vows.

5) Not everyone has the same schedule and some may have to leave early. Please feel free to simply disconnect when you need to.

For Participants
Respect the offerings of all participants; speak either from your own personal experience or from what you have understood in your reading. Assume good will and good intent on the part of all. Be prepared to listen attentively with a non-judgmental mind and remember that the practice of Zen is distinctly personal.

Dharma Study Committee