You and the Five Fields of Knowledge

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Welcome to our new website and to our first blog post! If you find yourself reading this it’s probably because, like us, you have a passion for knowledge and a deep desire to live a truly meaningful life.  So thanks for checking out the site, and clicking around to see what we’re about.

We’re on the cusp of a new era at NalandaWest, beginning with our 2013 programming, which includes, as a prelude, a December Open House and teaching.  All of our programs are inspired by the Five Fields of Knowledge: Creativity; Communication; Health & Well-Being; The Mind; and Direct Insight, as originally taught at the ancient Nalanda University in Bihar, India.

Simply reading the names of the Five Fields vividly evokes the archetypal qualities of the Creator, Caregiver (or Healer) and Sage. They include creative expression, innovation, child-rearing, meditation — all potential avenues for uncovering wisdom in the everyday.

But what are the Five Fields really about, and what makes them relevant for us? Exploring these central questions could easily take a lifetime of listening, contemplation, and dialogue. And that‘s the whole point of NalandaWest and this blog. We invite you to engage with us in a community reflection on what makes life meaningful, at the deepest levels.

We’ll start by listening to teachers from diverse traditions presenting some aspect or aspects of the Five Fields of Knowledge. The Five Fields are like five essential nutrients for a balanced life. Taking them in, together we receive nourishment, and the taste of wisdom. The experience may be intoxicating, disquieting, or it may just blow us away with amazement. But whatever it is, we can approach our experience with curiosity and a desire to learn, as well as gratitude for the opportunity to take a thoughtful look at ourselves and our world.

When you attend our programs, either in person or online, you’ll experience thinkers and artists that inspire us all to broaden and deepen our understanding of ourselves in relation to the rest of the universe. This year, we’ll hear from a doctor, a poet, a lama, a yogi, and a warrior, who will each share their unique perspective on what it means to be alive in this intense time of change.

But our exploration doesn’t end when the program is over. We hope you’ll join us on Facebook and Twitter to keep the conversation going, and the wisdom flowing! By extending our collective contemplation through mindful use of social media, we can begin to go beyond theory. We don’t want to stop at only acquiring knowledge in the Five Fields – we want to apply it to our lives. The Five Fields are much more than a novelty. They have the capacity to nourish all aspects of our inner and outer world.

How can you get started or get involved? Send us your ideas about artists and thinkers you’d like to see us host, or consider becoming more connected with our Seattle community and rent our facilities to put on your own program or class. To receive our posts regularly, sign up for our newsletter. We’ll send you pithy quotes full of wisdom-goodness and early announcements of special offers and NalandaWest events.


Watch this brief video to learn more about the Five Fields of Knowledge, and then let us know: Of the Five Fields, which one are you most curious about? What questions or insights do you have about it? Tell us below!