The Bodhi Program is the second of Sukhasiddhi Foundation’s four-program series, which provides a path to the main practices undertaken during the Shangpa Lineage traditional 3-year retreat.

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The next Bodhi (Awake) Training Program will begin in January, 2018. Applications are being accepted now for those interested in joining the program.

Overview

This program introduces participants to the four Foundational (Ngöndro) practices of Vajrayana Buddhism. These foundational practices liberate confused habitual patterns and karma. They each work uniquely with the mind, speech, psyche, and body to open us spiritually in various ways while flushing psychological and ego issues to the surface for release. As the layers of illusion are peeled away, we begin to feel the awakened nature at the core of who we truly are. Compassion and wisdom arise spontaneously as that which fetters them unwinds.

vajrasattva_bodhipageThe Ngöndro practices are composed of four parts:

  • Refuge and the development of bodhicitta
  • Vajrasattva, which is a psychologically and spiritually sophisticated purification practice
  • Mandala practice, which entails offering the entire universe, including oneself, to awakening
  • Guru Yoga practice to usher in the blessings and transmission of the lineage

These four practices are profoundly transformative in and of themselves. They are also the primary requirement for moving into the advanced practices of the Shangpa lineage.

In addition to the Ngöndro practices, the Bodhi Program will offer Mahayana-level bodhisattva training and practices. It will also include classes in Buddhist philosophy, as well as further study and training in Vajrayana and Mahamudra. Together the teachings and practices are designed to reach and transform many levels of our psycho-spiritual system.

The Bodhi Program is an ongoing program which admits new students on an annual basis. At the beginning of each year, continuing students can renew their commitment (with the approval of the teacher) and new students may join the program. A one-year commitment is required. It generally takes a minimum of three years to complete the Ngöndro practices in full, but there are many options for doing Ngöndro, and completion is not a requirement of the program.

Program Curriculum

The program curriculum will be given through the following:

  • Five 3-day weekend retreats per year to be attended in person (dates are below)
  • Three 6- to 8-week classes per year – can be attended through video and audio recordings
  • Personal daily practice of the Ngöndro practices

2018 Weekend Retreat Dates (all Friday-Sunday, 9am-5pm) are:

  • January 26-28
  • April 6-8
  • June 1-3
  • September 14-16
  • November 9-11

Annik Brunet is the guiding teacher for the program, and guest teachers such as Lama Drupgyu, Lama Döndrup, and Ari Goldfield (and Lama Palden when she returns) will give empowerments and teachings on special topics during some of the weekends. You’ll have the opportunity to study and practice with a supportive cohort of sangha members. Sharing and inquiry will be an important part of our weekend gatherings.

Each student’s practice commitment will be determined on an individual basis, in consultation with the teacher. Those who aim to enter the next Shangpa program (estimated start date 2020) will take on a more intensive commitment, while others may choose to maintain their practice at a level that works best for their own circumstance.

In addition to attending weekend retreats and classes, students are required to:

  • Schedule two interviews with the guiding teacher
  • Maintain membership in Sukhasiddhi Foundation
  • Attend the annual Sukhasiddhi residential retreat, usually scheduled in June (can be attended as a commuter)
  • Attend required empowerments when scheduled

Benefits

meditating_bodhipageBodhi means “awake” and refers to bodhicitta and the bodhisattva path. Bodhicitta, the awakening heart and mind, is the intention to attain awakening and to directly connect with our innate, awakened nature of love and wisdom for the benefit of ourselves and all beings. Tibetan Buddhism provides a structured, progressive approach to developing and revealing our awakened nature.

Participation in an in-depth program such as this includes a commitment of time, financial resources, and most importantly, one’s dedication to practice and awakening. Although the commitment is considerable, the benefit to one’s growth and awakening is immeasurable.

This program offers its participants:

  • Instruction and support for doing the Foundational Practices (Ngöndro)
  • In-depth study of more advanced Buddhist teachings through a structured curriculum
  • Study and practice with a supportive cohort
  • Instruction and mentoring from a qualified teacher
  • Empowerments appropriate to the Bodhi level of practice

Upon completing the Ngöndro practices, Bodhi students will be eligible to apply for the Shangpa program, the third in Sukhasiddhi’s four-program series. The next Shangpa program is expected to start in mid 2020.

Vajrayana practices are designed to bring up the fears, anxieties and frustrations that obscure our awakened nature, and without experience in working with these obstacles, practitioners can have a difficult time. Therefore, the right foundation is important to participate in this program.

Program Prerequisites

The Bodhi Program requires that participants have either:

  • Completed the study and practices of Sukhasiddhi’s two-year Dharma Training Program (includes Chenresig, Tonglen, Tara, Extraordinary Practices) or of other equivalent Buddhist study and practice;

–or–

  • Begun the Shangpa Ngöndro or begun or completed Ngöndro within another lineage.

To remain in the program, participants must attend the five retreats in person, attend or view the weekly class series, and attend the annual retreat.

It is understood that circumstances may arise that prevent personal attendance at one of the weekend retreats or the annual retreat, such as illness or family emergencies. Some accommodations may be made in very specific cases and with the teacher’s agreement. However, a pattern of absence is disruptive to the coherence of the group, and will indicate that the program is probably not meeting the participant’s needs. In this case, the participant and the teacher will determine if it is appropriate to continue.

Financial Requirements

  • The fee for the 5 retreats and 3 weekly classes is $350 a quarter, $1,400 a year.
  • Membership in Sukhasiddhi Foundation is $40-$85 per month, or $480 – $1,020 annually. Of course, we welcome membership at higher sustaining rates as well.
  • The annual retreat is a minimum of approximately $450 for commuting without meals to $1,250 for a single room and meals, plus a teacher dana offering, suggested of $200-$1,500.
  • Suggested donation for individual meetings with the teacher is $108- $175.
  • Out-of-town participants will need to arrange transportation, meals, and a place to stay during the four 4-day non-residential retreats.

The total annual cost of the first program is therefore in a range from $2,750 to $4,500, with travel, meal and hotel costs in addition to these fees.

All fees paid to Sukhasiddhi Foundation are tax-deductible as religious contributions, except for the residential retreat meals and lodging.

Withdrawal Policy

Participants may find that the program is not appropriate for their circumstances, and decide to leave the program. This is completely acceptable, but should be done in the appropriate manner, by first discussing your decision with the guiding teacher and then ensuring that all of the fees and dues are current.

Application Process

To join the program, interested participants must complete an application form and will then have an interview with a Sukhasiddhi teacher. After acceptance, participants will be given an orientation to Sukhasiddhi Foundation and complete a program agreement.

If you are interested in participating in this program, or if you have questions, please Contact Us.

Teachers

annikbrunetAnnik Brunet has studied Eastern philosophy and meditation for more than 25 years and has practiced Tibetan Buddhism since 1995. After completing the Shangpa lineage practice program and the teacher training program, she was authorized by Lama Palden as a dharma teacher. Annik also holds a master’s degree in photography. Her life-long impetus has been to explore the mystery of phenomenal appearances, and the practice of art as a means to cleanse the doors of perception. This quest eventually led her to the path of direct access Vajrayana offers. Annik is committed to facilitating the exploration and actualization of the openness and kindness that reside at the heart of every being.

Sukhasiddhi teachers Lama Döndrup, Lama Drupgyu, and Lama Palden, and guest teachers such as Ari Goldfield, may teach portions of the program. Please visit the Teachers page for their biographies.