Want to learn more about meditation?

Doesn’t it seem like everyone is meditating these days?

Churches and synagogues host all sorts of meditation groups, and community-based meditation (and yoga) centers are opening all over.

I guess it’s no surprise given our stressed-out, racing-for-time, recession-weary culture.

tjndc5-5ftmfxpazk3x2wz89zn_layoutA few years ago, I wrote about an in-depth, three-year class in Buddhism for meditators who want to go deeper in the traditions and beliefs behind…sitting (that’s what meditators call it). It was a terrific program offered at the Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel.

I recently heard that the monastery has started a new three-year cycle, and I bet there are a lot of suburbanites out there who would love it.

The website explains:

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The program is┬ádesigned to give students an in-depth understanding of Buddhism and Buddhist practice in the three major traditions–Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.

The first year of the program provides a broad overview of Buddhism. The second year focuses on Buddhist sutras. The third year focuses on Buddhist philosophy and applications such as science, psychology, and psychotherapy.

New students may enter the program in any of the three years and, having completed all three years in any order, are awarded a certificate. An optional fourth year (by invitation of the teacher) prepares students to become lay Dharma teachers. Those who complete the fourth year satisfactorily may be ordained in the Dharma Teacher Order.

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If you have questions, there are a bunch of answers on the website.

The teacher is The Ven. Dr. Thich Tri Hoang, who was ordained in Vietnam at the age of 24. He is a terrific sense of humor and seems to genuinely enjoy teaching Americans from diverse backgrounds.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.