New Dharma Training Program is the doorway to deeper practice.
by Lama Döndrup
One of the fundamental teachings in Vajrayana Buddhism is reflecting on the preciousness of our human birth. Of the six realms described in the Buddha’s teachings, the human realm is where awakening is most possible. In the human realm, we experience difficulty and suffering, but for many of us, that suffering is not so all-encompassing that we are overwhelmed by it for the whole of this lifetime. Our pain has the potential to serve as a source of motivation to seek out a spiritual path to better relate to our distress and hold it in the context of a larger perspective.
The pitfalls of comfort and choice
Though we certainly experience adversity and pain, many of us live a privileged existence. It is to our great benefit to not be lulled into complacency by the many comforts and freedoms we enjoy, but to use these abundant circumstances of this lifetime to deepen our wisdom, cultivate compassion, and find ways to benefit others. In addition to the blessing of living in comfortable conditions in a beautiful location, we simultaneously have unprecedented access to a wide variety of spiritual paths and psycho-spiritual offerings.
A benefit of having this feast of offerings available is that we can taste many traditions and find the one that resonates most deeply with us. A pitfall to this is that we can end up continuously sampling different methods and never fully dive into one path. But to truly experience the fruits of any tradition, it is necessary to fully engage and absorb ourselves in the teachings and practice so that we can move toward a living, experiential understanding of the wisdom that is being offered.
For those who wish to take a deeper dive and absorb themselves in systematic practice and study with individual guidance from a qualified teacher, Sukhasiddhi offers a series of programs from the entry level teachings through all of the practices of the Shangpa Kagyu Lineage.
Support for diving into spiritual practice
The first of our progressive program offerings is the Dharma Training Program. This program is designed to provide participants a strong, experiential foundation in the fundamental teachings of the Buddha from a Vajrayana point of view. The Dharma Training Program is designed to optimize a deep dive into this path while allowing the flexibility needed to tend to everyday commitments. Our aim is to present authentic teachings and practices in a way that allows us to experience their wisdom and relevance to daily life. To facilitate this, the DTP curriculum will be delivered in 10-week modules beginning in January of 2020. Each module consists of a seven-week Sukhasiddhi Sunday Series, three monthly Dharma Practicums, one one-on-one meeting with a Sukhasiddhi teacher, and one daylong or online meeting.
The heart of each module will be the seven-week Sukhasiddhi Sunday series that I will be leading where participants will learn a specific meditation practice and receive teachings that are a part of the DTP curriculum. These topics will be further discussed in three monthly sessions with Lama Pat that specifically are geared towards integrating these teachings and practices into daily life. Additionally, each DTP participant will have the opportunity for individual guidance in a one-on-one interview. Additional daylong classes or online meetings will provide the opportunity to receive teachings on another curriculum topic and another opportunity to check-in about your practice and study.
Participants are asked to commit to a full module but have the freedom to sign-up for modules as their schedule allows. All DTP participants will be given a list of the curriculum requirements, and completion of the program will occur when you have received instruction on all of the teaching and practice topics. Upon completion, you will be prepared to move on to the Bodhi Program if you wish, and if, in consultation with a Sukhasiddhi teacher, it is decided that this would be the best next step on your path.
If you are new to practice, have practice experience in another tradition, or if you would like the opportunity to further deepen your current Vajrayana practice, consider joining me in this journey through these life-changing teachings and practices. More information and access to an online application can be found on the Sukhasiddhi Foundation website.