Mission25/06/2023 2023-08-10 15:41
This Project is also the result of a Buddhist teacher’s personal struggle to carve a path through sectarian tendencies, and cultural biases, to have personal experience of the Dharma beyond intellectual understanding. This project is also a way to repay the immense kindness of the teachers who generously shared their wisdom and guided him on his path.
Although every aspect of The Buddha Project is necessarily well grounded in the theory and practice of both the Gelug Tibetan Buddhist and Theravāda traditions, the practitioner takes central stage. The destination of the path, full awakening, is the same for every practitioner. At the same time, the road to get there varies from person to person. Some progress by calm, some by insight, some through reasoning, and some through faith. The Buddha always intended methods to fit the journey of the individual practitioner. Eastern methods need to be translated to make the vast Buddhist knowledge accessible to practitioners with a Western background.
The Buddha Project strives to be comprehensive by offering five complementary branches:
- In-Depth Meditation Training: a four-year online course revolving around the major Buddhist perspectives of Theravada, Yogacara, Madhyamaka, and Tantra. It offers weekly guided meditations, lectures, and room for questions and dialogue.
- Retreats: four to six annual retreats (both live and online) in various locations, focused on Vipassana, Compassion, and Mahamudra.
- Yogi Bootcamp: a one-year intensive, personal meditation training with periodic instructions and individual online interviews.
- Buddha Research Project: a collaboration with researchers of the Universities of Nîmes and Lausanne, and Mind & Life Europe, to investigate changes caused by long-term meditation in perception, lived personal experience, social relations, and the formation of meaning.
- Burning Bush Project: collaborative activities to create joint learning with contemplatives from various religious traditions and humanistic approaches.
The primary aim of The Buddha Project (TBP) is to create access for a modern Western audience to the full range of traditional Buddhist contemplative and meditative methods. Both in a style that is appropriate to Western Buddhist practitioners, and with the necessary long-term support, safe environment, and conducive community to help them progress. It also seeks to embed Buddhist contemplative practices in the Western cultural context through methodology, scientific research, and collaboration with other contemplative traditions, both religious and humanistic.
TBP was initially conceived as a response to advice from Lama Zopa, the co-founder of the worldwide Tibetan Buddhist organization, the FPMT. He cautioned that without realizations of the path to enlightenment, for which a meditative practice is essential, Buddhism might become a mere academic interest. It is also inspired by Sayadaw U Pandita, a Burmese Buddhist monk and meditation master well-known for his deep understanding of the Buddha’s teachings, and his insistence that nirvana can be achieved in this very life.
TBP’s current form has grown through a decade-long continuous dialogue with students about their challenges and needs in their practice and attempts to meet these.