In-Depth Meditation Training08/05/2023 2023-09-03 15:50
In-Depth Meditation Training
The IDMT is a training designed to provide meditators with long-term support and guidance to help them progress in their meditative practice. The full range of traditional Buddhist methods will be gradually introduced in ways fit for a modern Western audience. As the style is appropriate to the practitioners, it will provide the opportunity to experience a genuine taste of the nature of reality and bodhicitta (the mind of awakening). Although grounded in the theory and practice of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, with a drop of Theravada, the training will prioritize the needs and levels of practice of the participants. The training will run over the course of four years divided into several modules. It will be offered in English, with French translation available.
This course is a response to Lama Zopa’s Rinpoche’s insistence that true fruition of our precious human life is the generation of bodhicitta, recognizing that a practitioner will need a good meditative practice to be able to accomplish this.
Extensive content: we will offer you weekly guided meditations combined with in-depth lectures that will cover a wide range of topics over the course of four years:
- Foundational Vipassana (insight meditation)
- Yogacara (Mind-Only School)
- Madhyamaka (Middle Way – Consequence School)
- Tathagatagarbha (exploring our buddha nature)
- Mahamudra (investigating the ultimate nature of the mind)
- Kriya Tantra (transforming everyday experiences into opportunities for spiritual growth and realization).
To put these ancient techniques in a contemporary context, we will give special attention to the psychology of meditation, through topics such as spiritual bypassing (using spirituality to hide from our problems), identity, narrative (the role of stories in our mental makeup and practice), language philosophy and ritual.
Training concentration and insight: you will train in both shamatha (concentration) and vipassana (insight). Together we will gradually explore and investigate both the nature of self and phenomena as being impermanent and selfless, empty of imaginary nature and of inherent existence, our buddha nature, and the union of bliss and emptiness respectively.
Open heart and mind: while various forms of insight meditation will take center stage, the goal is to provide contemplations that will open your heart, through such topics as compassion, the precious human life, definite emergence, bodhicitta and devotion. These are often, but not exclusively, taken from the sutras and Lamrim texts on the gradual path to enlightenment.
Engaged: to avoid that your practice becomes disconnected from the real-world issues you experience, attention will be given to how the Dharma can inform us on how to engage with our everyday challenges, avoiding dogmatism, political bias, or polarization, and be of benefit to the world that we are all a part of.
Supporting materials: you will be provided with a reader that focusses on instructions from the Buddha and other foundational texts. This will be complemented with numerous essays and practical advice on a range of topics such as the arhat and bodhisattva ideals, the role of ritual, identity formation, metaphor in Yogacara, Buddhist epistemology, theory of narrative and so on.
The IDMT comprises weekly online sessions of a 60-minute guided meditation, a 90-minute lecture with ample opportunity for Q&A. After registration at one of the affiliated Buddhist centers, you will receive access to the Online Learning Center on The Buddha Project website. Here you will find access to the Zoom sessions, the supporting materials, and recordings of past guided meditations and lectures.
To get the most out of this course, it is recommended to participate in all sessions, or watch the videos on the website. However, it is possible to join during the semester. For dates, see the pages of the respective centers below.
Depending on the affiliated centre and interest of participants, these classes will be embedded in practice days, guided by experienced students, which will provide a supportive environment for joint practice and discussion.
This course is beneficial for practitioners who want to further develop their meditative practice, by receiving in-depth meditation instructions and by getting a deeper understanding of the (philosophical and psychological) foundations of meditation. It will provide a complement for those who study Buddhism, to investigate and verify experientially the various subjects taught by the Buddha.
To participate you will need a basic understanding of Mahayana Buddhism, although the course will introduce many of the foundational topics. A basic understanding can mean having completed an FPMT Discovering Buddhism course or Basic Program or having obtained a similar level through other means.
The course will start in September 2023 and will be in English, with French translation available. Sessions will be every Saturday, depending on which Buddhist center you registered at, the timings are:
- Amsterdam and Marzens 3:30-6.00 pm
- Leeds 2:30-5:00 pm
- New York 9:30-12:00 am
The 2023/2024 season will run from September 2 to November 25 and from January 27 to June 29. After each semester there will be an opportunity to take part in a week-long retreat in one of the affiliated centers.