Article Index

Meditation Component

1. Daily Meditations

Daily meditations are an obligatory part of the program and are important for keeping the students grounded, inspired, and integrated with the teachings. They are a necessary preparation for longer retreats and will make it possible for students to fulfil the MP completion retreat requirement in a responsible manner. Within each academic year the students will go through one cycle of all the lam-rim topics, whereby the students take their turns in guiding lam-rim meditations. 


"During the program, do students do lam-rim meditation? Meditation should mainly be on lam-rim. Encourage them to develop the experience of meditating on lam-rim during the program...then there will be one year [of retreat], but even during the program the students will get some lam-rim meditation done. That would be good, to go gradually through the lam-rim, from guru devotion up to emptiness...when the subject is calm abiding just go over the outlines without doing the real calm abiding...otherwise do analytical meditation from guru devotion up to emptiness. Forty minutes would be great."
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Interview with Ven. Joan Nicell, October 2000

 At the end of every meditation, five minutes will be set aside for students to write a very brief account of their meditation. Keeping a meditation log is a means for students to monitor their progress in understanding how to meditate as well as the basis for an annual written evaluation that indicates a student’s understanding of particular topics of meditation covered. This evaluation is submitted to the Teaching Assistant and is the basis for a confidential interwiew intended to give an indication of where feedback and support for the development of students’ practice is needed. Both the written evaluation and the interview are part of the meditation component. 

2. Retreat Requirement

"There has been some discussion about a one year meditation on lam-rim either during or after the Masters Program. One year retreat would give the students a lot of insight, it would be really helpful, because in this way they can immediately do some practice. It would also give them some kind of satisfaction because, having studied, then they would have the opportunity to meditate. That would give them more satisfaction in their life, then when they go out to teach they would be happy. They would have much more to offer through their experience."

Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Interview with Ven. Joan Nicell, October 2000


"From now on, all Masters Programs should have a one-year retreat as part of the program."
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Interview with Merry Colony, IOF, Taos, October 2003

MaitreyaThe three month-long retreats during the program help prepare students for their final retreat, giving them some retreat experience so that they can arrange, structure and conduct this extended individual retreat in a responsible and successful manner. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has given repeated and extensive advice on the need and benefits of a total of one year of retreat as a requirement to complete the Masters Program and has also indicated the ways to do the retreat. A focus on lam-rim meditation remains throughout, while the inclusion of preliminary practices and a daily sadhana practice is also recommended.

Students will be supported with the arrangement of their final retreat; Lama Zopa Rinpoche's retreat instructions and other support materials will also be made available.

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