The prerequisite experience for this course is the following:
1. 4 weeks of residential, teacher-led, silent Insight Meditation retreats (or equivalent experience).
2. Familiarity with Energy Body practice.
4. An understanding of emptiness and ways of looking as presented by Rob Burbea.
5. A Metta practice.
6. Interest in the key ideas of Soulmaking Dharma.
7. An open mind.
8. A keen interest in restoring, opening and expanding senses of sacredness.
Please read the information below about each prerequisite.
Some of you may already have some or all of these pre-requisites well established. If not, some of them can be met by listening to the talks listed below each prerequisite.
Prerequisites number 2 and 3 below are a longer-term development and if these are not already established in your practice, then this course will most likely not be helpful for you. If this is the case and you want to develop these and any of the other of the Soulmaking Dharma foundations, there are several pathways for development linked below the prerequisites.
- Insight Meditation residential retreat experience: minimum 4 weeks silent, teacher-led, residential Insight Meditation retreats. (If you are very well developed in the other 6 prerequisites and have close to four weeks of silent Insight Meditation retreat experience, or if you have developed a thorough knowledge of the Insight Meditation frameworks and know deeply the territory of spending time in silence with your own heart and mind, please detail thoroughly on your application the ways in which you have gained equivalent experience, and we will be interested to read and consider this.)
- Facility with energy body practice, including the following:
- capacity and confidence to abide in and with an awareness of the whole body
- familiarity working with the energetic patternings of clinging as they show up in your body and some skill with loosening these in the direction of samatha
- facility with opening to beautiful and difficult emotions with the whole body as a basis, including an understanding of emotions as dependent arisings
This prerequisite will be sufficiently well established if you feel you understand and have meditative skill and have practised over time with the ideas and practices presented in these talks:
- The Energy Body (A Little Bit of What, Why, and How)
- Energy, Image, Emotion (Part 1)
- Energy, Image, Emotion (Part 2)
3. Self-knowledge. Soulmaking Dharma asks a lot of the practitioner, including knowledge of one’s individual psychological patterns and the capacity to work in different ways with emotional and psychological processes as they are experienced in the field of the body.
4. Familiarity with emptiness, dependent origination and ways of looking as outlined by Rob Burbea. This view of emptiness differs considerably from most other views presented in Western Dharma. Some knowledge of, affinity for, and working familiarity with this way of applying an understanding of emptiness is an essential foundation for the opening of Soulmaking Dharma.
This prerequisite can be met by reading and practicing over time with the book and exercises in Seeing that Frees. If you do not have this practice background, you can also listen to the following recordings in order to see if you have an affinity with this view:
- Approaching the Dharma: Part 1 – Unbinding the World
- Approaching the Dharma: Part 2 – Liberating Ways of Looking
- Emptiness Clinic minutes 13:22-46:51
5 Metta: A love, appreciation and trust in kindness and practices of kindness.
6. Interest in and affinity for the orientations and key ideas of Soulmaking Dharma. If you haven’t already, please listen to the following talks to gauge your interest:
7. An open mind. The path of Soulmaking Dharma requires a willingness to allow the loosening of dominant or unquestioned frameworks through which we tend to view experience and practice. The following three-part series gives a good sense of the ways in which this course will ask for an open mind:
8. A keen interest in restoring, opening and expanding senses of sacredness, and a desire to know beauty more widely and to explore more resonances, richnesses and meaningfulness with regard to self, other and world.
Pathways for development
If you do not feel well-established in the prerequisites detailed above but want to strengthen them in your practice in order to be able to take the course in the future, there are several pathways for development.