The Shravasti Meditation curriculum was designed by HH Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche as a nonsectarian introduction to meditation for 21st Century practitioners and a life long practice. It begins with Calm Abiding Meditation, Insight Meditation and Bodhicitta (Loving Kindness and compassion) using the Sutra on Mindfulness of Breathing as a structure. This modern meditation system incorporates the views of Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana in a clear and accessible format which he named Shravasti, after the sacred site where Buddha transmitted most of the Sutras. This profound practice segues naturally into advanced understanding such as Mahamudra or the completion stages of Vajrayana.
Khenmo Drolma was trained personally by His Holiness Chetsang Rinpoche to teach this curriculum. In 2018 she traveled to Taiwan and again in 2019 to Maylasia to join a select group of teachers invited to attend a retreat with H H Drikung Kaygon to train in this curriculum.
Why His Holiness Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang created this curriculum:
“Among the three tools the Buddha taught for cultivating wisdom tools (i.e., listening, contemplation, and meditation) meditation is often neglected. Many people dedicate their entire life to studying Buddhism but fail to practice what the Buddha taught. There are many meditation approaches. For example, we Tibetans, have the common and uncommon preliminaries. During the traditional three-year retreat, various approaches to meditation are also taught. However, most people mainly focus on completing the required number of accumulations while neglecting the essence of these practices: keeping our mind undisturbed!
Many practitioners have attended advanced teachings on Dzogchen or Mahamudra without being able able to meditate with a single-pointed mind for 10 or even 5 minutes. Meditation is not easy. You should start with calm-abiding to stabilize your mind and if possible attend a Shravasti Meditation retreat, not only to receive teachings, but to whole-heartedly engage in meditation practice and increase your ability to stabilize your mind. The Shravasti Meditation is an integrated meditation approach that relies directly on the Buddha’s words as the source of instruction. It is based on the Anapanasati Sutta (Discourse on Mindfulness of Breathing). ” HHDKCR
What is the Curriculum/Training?
From 2017 – 2019 His Holiness invited small groups of international Tulkus, monastics, and lay leaders to attend teacher trainings in the Shravasti curriculum, presented as a 7-day residential silent retreat. These are the ideal conditions that we hope to create worldwide as a nonsectarian Buddhist meditation system. In such a setting, students immerse themselves in a strict schedule, experiencing the meditation from 5:30 am to 8 pm. Students keep the monastic practice of not taking an evening meal. Each morning begins with reading the Sutra on Awareness of Breathing, the combination of yogic exercises and meditation. There are four meditation sessions each day structured around the Sutra’s 16 contemplations on breath practice; along with 30 minutes of walking meditation in the early afternoon. One or more Dharma talks per day provide insight into the subtlty of Buddha’s instructions. The focus on the meditation practice for an intensive week provides a thorough foundation for continued practice. The Shravasti system is intended to be a complete practice path.
Khenmo Drolma is currently teaching the Shravasti curriculum online through retreats and Dharma talks on the Sutra on Mindfulness of Breathing, trusting that interested students will create the ideal 7 day retreat as they come to value the wisdom of this profound practice.
Khenmo, a former college professor, is exploring how to integrate the fundamentals of Dharma and experiential learning in a sequential curriculum. Expert in analyzing how western students learn, she brings relatable examples and paces the meditation sessions to allow the experience to be integrated. She presents Dharma talks on the various topics His Holiness included within in the training such as the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, Bodhicitta, Impermanence, Perception and Emotions. Companion to the Sutra are the breathing and yogic exercises. Khenmo, using videos created by His Holiness for this purpose, teaches the somatic experience of meditation, an expansion of Mindfulness of Body. She also offers an introduction to Mahamudra investigations from HH Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche’s text Mahamudra. Over time, the cumulative effect of multiple short retreats also provides a firm foundation for life long practice and learning.