In-Depth Meditation Training
with Venerable Losang Gendun
Saturdays, 9:30am–12pm* EST/EDT ONLINE
Term 2: Jan 27, Feb 3, 10, 17, 24, Mar 2, 9, 16*, 23*, 30*, Apr 6, 13, 20, 27
Term 3: May 11, 18, 25, Jun 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 & Jul 6
* 10:30am-1pm on Mar 16, 23, 30, due to differences in daylight savings around the world.
Term 2: January 27 to April 27, 2024
The main topic of our first year’s second term will be the famous Mahasatipatthana Sutta. Defined by the Buddha as the direct path to liberation, it not only forms the basis for traditional and modern variants of insight meditation, but also practices ranging from Mahamudra and Dzogchen to Ch’an/Zen. Even after his Awakening the Buddha often practiced this form of insight meditation as an expression of his newfound state and to encourage us, the ones who follow in his footsteps.
On the basis of our practice of shamatha we will now explore of the characteristics of samsara – impermanent, selfless and unsatisfactory – and its cause ignorance, to see how this our understanding points towards ultimate freedom.
In the sutra the Buddha shows how to apply the principles of the Dharma to our embodied, affective and cognitive experience, indicating a new way of life that, empty of center, is boundless and of permanent empowered freedom and wellbeing. Building on the breath we will further explore meditation on the four elements, feelings, mind, the four noble truths and many other topics.
To complement the IDMT course we will also offer:
- Meditation Retreats – week & weekend retreats on vipassana, compassion, and mahamudra, offered both at the centers and online.
- Yogi Bootcamp – an intensive, guided 1-year meditation training with weekly personal interviews (call) for a small group of international students.
- Practice days guided by Ven. Gendun and experienced students of Ven. Gendun
For more information about the content of the course, download the course description (PDF) here.
This course is a collaboration between 5 FPMT Buddhist centers: Shantideva Center New York (US), Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds (UK), Institut Vajrayogini in Marzens (FR), Yeshin Norbu Stockholm (SW) and Maitreya Instituut (NL) and therefore the course will be attended by an international group of Buddhist practitioners.
Term 1: 2023
Began in the fall of 2023, the In-Depth Meditation Training (IDMT) is a new and comprehensive course whose goal is to provide meditators long-term support and guidance with their meditative practice.
This course examines traditional Buddhist methods of practice presented in ways appropriate for the modern Western mind. While grounded in the theory and practice of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the training aims to be responsive to the needs and levels of practice of the students.
This course is a response to Lama Zopa 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.
The training will run over the course of four years. Each year is divided into several terms. You can register for the whole term or individual sessions. New students starting in term 2 will have access to preparation materials prior to the first session.
In-Depth Insight Training (IDMT)
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 participants.
To get the most out of this course, we recommend you join in all sessions, or watch the videos on the website. However, it is possible to join on a drop-in basis (at least for the inaugural semester, starting September 2023).
Extensive content: you will receive 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, the course 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.
The course offers a combination of:
- Practical focus: emphasizing direct, personal experience through meditation while involving all three traditional practices of hearing, contemplating and meditating. It aims to help you navigate your meditative journey successfully, both on and off your cushion. It will help you make progress amid your daily, often hectic life. Diverse topics necessary for your level of practice, and that of your fellow practitioners, are illustrated and explored in guided meditations.
- 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.
- Engagement: 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 focuses 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.
How to participate:
- The course consists of weekly online sessions of a 60-minute guided meditation, a 90-minute lecture with ample opportunity for Q&A. Sign up for a whole semester or drop-in on a class by registering below.
- After registration, 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.
- Depending on the interest of participants, these classes may be embedded in practice days, guided by experienced students, which will provide a supportive environment for joint practice and discussion.
Who might want to participate:
- 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 FPMT’s Discovering Buddhism course or the FPMT Basic Program or having obtained a similar level through other means.
Short Video: Focus of In-Depth Meditation Training
Ven. Losang Gendun of IDMT discusses the power of shamatha (calming/enhance the mind) and vipassana (seeing directly) in helping to liberate us from suffering. He also talks about the benefits, limitations, and roles of Buddhist scriptural tradition and reasoning on the path to enlightenment.
Short Video: What is Meditation – Really?
Ven. Losang Gendun of IDMT shares how meditation on and off the cushion create a beautiful cycle that helps us learn how to see the world anew, with curiosity and delight.
Recording of Q&A Session
Ven. Losang Gendun introduces the IDMT course and answers people’s questions.
A discussion group is scheduled for Fridays, Mar 15, Apr 5, May 17 & Jun 14, 7-8pm ET. This optional (free) session is for students to share their thoughts, questions and challenges they would like to discuss with the other students. There will be a facilitator who will guide the group with questions that Ven. Gendun has prepared. The Zoom meeting link will be provided to registered students.
This is an online-only event that is administered using Zoom.
After registering, the system automatically sends a confirmation and/or a receipt email that contains the Zoom meeting link and/or other instructions. If you don’t immediately receive the system email(s) or you have any other questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
*Zoom is an interactive video-conferencing tool that allows participants to see one another and ask questions. You will need a computer, a tablet or a smartphone with the Zoom application to attend. If you are using Zoom for the first time, please login earlier to allow any necessary installations on your device.
Registration / Schedule
Suggested: $16 per session
Since IDMT is hosted in partnership with other FPMT centers, it is not included under Mandala membership.
Finances should never be a barrier to the Dharma. If the suggested donation (which is based on 15 Euros/session) is too high, any amount will be greatly appreciated to support teacher offerings and other expenses. Ordained Sangha are invited to join for free. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate.
This registration is for term 2, lasting 14 weeks from Jan 27 to Apr 27. You can register for all sessions at once or over time by selecting the relevant dates. To set up a payment plan, email email@example.com
Schedule: 60 minutes of meditation and 90 minutes for lecture and Q&A.
The sessions are recorded by The Buddha Project. By registering for this event, you are agreeing to give your consent to this process. To protect your privacy, we recommend being conscious about any personal information you share during the sessions. To further enhance anonymity, you may want to consider turning off video or naming yourself using abbreviations.
Time zone: US Eastern Standard Time (GMT/UTC-5)
For questions regarding registration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Once you have an account the materials and recordings can be found at: www.thebuddhaproject.eu
Dana for the Teacher
About the Teacher
Buddhist teacher Ven. Losang Gendun is a Dutch monk.
He previously worked in IT, refugee organisations and commercial management. After having practiced mainly Theravada Buddhism for twenty years, he became a monk in the Tibetan tradition in 2006.
At Nalanda monastery in France, he studied Buddhist philosophy for nine years, and practised under the guidance of several teachers, such as H.H. the Dalai Lama, Geshe Losang Jamphal, Ganden Tripa Lobsang Tenzin Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. In total, Ven. Gendun spent over four years in retreat, and he specialises in Tibetan Lojong and Mahamudra methods, alongside Vipassana-shamatha meditation as taught in the Theravada Forest Tradition.
Ven. Losang Gendun has been teaching for fifteen years in the Netherlands, France, Monaco, the US and UK. He is active in the area of interreligious communication, and collaborates closely with a number of Benedictine monasteries and a Turkish Mevlânâ Sufi organization.
His main aim is the translation of traditional methods in contemporary terms, to make them accessible for a Western audience. For that purpose, he founded The Buddha Project, an initiative to provide meditators with personal guidance and long-term support, in collaboration with a group of international researchers to investigate perceptional and semiotic evolution induced by contemplative practices.
Currently, he is the resident teacher at the Maitreya Institute Amsterdam and visiting teacher of Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds.