Living the Dharma Program

The intention of this program is to help participants deepen their formal practice and to integrate the dharma into their daily life. This program supports a shift from seeing the dharma as something we fit into our lives, to seeing our life through the lens of the dharma. This is the movement from having a spiritual practice to having a spiritual life. This is not about changing our lives, but rather changing our relationship with life. The Buddha teaches that through practice and understanding we can have less suffering, and the path points the way toward deep contentment and ease. This program is offered in support of each of us living fully, with an open heart, expanding kindness, and wisdom and care for the world. The program includes elements of study, reflection, discussion, one on one teacher support, and retreat.

Susie HarringtonSusie Harrington and Jeanne Corrigal will co-teach this program, in a unique way. Susie developed this program, modeled after Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Dedicated Practitioner Program (DPP), as a way of making the program accessible and financially feasible to a wider community. The core content of the program will be provided through pre-recorded dharma talks and guided meditations from Susie Harrington. Jeanne will be the live and in-person teacher, facilitator, and practice talk teacher. This program requires a one-year commitment. The full program is two years, with the option to commit for the second year at the end of the first.

Elements of the Program

(described in more detail following this list)

  • Monthly homework, dharma Buddy meeting, monthly group meetings with Jeanne, and ten half hour practice talks per year with Jeanne. The time commitment for this will be approximately 6-8 hours per month, with extra optional readings.
  • Three weekend residential retreats and two daylong retreats per year.
    • For the first year, the residential retreats are:
      November 23-25, 2018
      April 5-7, 2019
      November 22-24, 2019
      The dates for the two daylong retreats will be set closer to the time of the course.

Topics covering essential dharma:

  1. First Year
    • The Four Noble Truths
    • The Four Foundations of Mindfulness
    • Awakening in the Body
    • Generosity
    • Wise Speech
    • Eightfold Path
    • Paramis
    • Relational Practice
    • Diversity and Privilege
    • Money, Work, and Livelihood
    • Working with Emotions
    • Qualities of the Heart: Metta, Karuna, Mudita, and Upekkha
  2. Second Year
    • Dependent Origination
    • Transcendent Dependent Origination
    • Fetters and Entanglements
    • Illness, Death, and Compassion
    • Karma
    • Creativity
    • Socially Engaged Buddhism
    • Intimacy, Relationships, and Authentic Communication
    • Emptiness and Awareness
    • The Bodhisattva Path and Awakening

Monthly Homework

A wide range of topics are covered in the homework. Some topics will be more oriented towards understanding the fundamental teachings of the Buddha, while others will be more about life integration. There will be questions to consider and reflect upon and suggested meditations. Bringing the reflections and practices into daily life situations will be the consistent theme throughout. Each month will have 2-6 short readings, including a mix of suttas from the Buddha, and from modern writers. Additional reading will be optional for those with more time or interest in a given topic.

Monthly group meetings

Once a month there will be a 1-hour group discussion with Jeanne, to explore the monthly homework topic. These will be in person for local practitioners; for practitioners who live outside of Saskatoon, we will set up a group Skype or Google Hangout meeting.

Dharma Buddy

Each person will be paired with at least one other person in the program and talk at least once every two weeks. This is an opportunity to discuss and work with the homework material and practices more intimately and in depth. This is a wonderful part of the program as it is where we can deeply and vulnerably explore our personal experience. The length and setting are up to the dharma buddies.

Individual practice talks

Each participant will have a half hour phone, Skype, or in person practice talk ten times during the year (approximately once every 5 weeks) with Jeanne, to explore practice and the monthly topic. Participants will be able to use an online scheduling tool to choose their times.

Retreats

The retreats are an integral part of the program. The retreats will provide us with an opportunity to delve more deeply into topics, as well as create a community of support and deep dharma friends. The community we form and the long-term dharma friendships are a deeply enriching part of the program. There will be three weekend residential retreats per year exclusively for the program participants. There will also be two daylong retreats. On these retreats there will be a mix of silent practice, participatory and relational exercises, and discussion.

Program Requirements

  • At least one year of practice and at least one weekend or longer residential retreat.
    • If you do not have residential retreat experience, registration may be possible after a conversation with Jeanne.
  • Commitment to practice 6 days/week at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Commitment to all elements of the program – absences are inevitable, but the commitment to participation will deepen your experience as well as support the deepening of the group.
  • Commitment to the financial requirements and to the support of the teacher.
  • In addition to these commitments, you are encouraged to attend a minimum of one residential retreat (of any length) in addition to the program retreats, during the period of the program. This will greatly support your practice.

Program Cost

Participants commit to one year of the program, to begin with. The full program is two years, with the option to commit for the second year at the end of the first.

The following estimated costs are for one year of the program (costs are subject to change):

1) $590 expenses, with optional additional $50 for scholarship contribution. This includes:

  • $220 – Three weekend residential retreats at Ancient Spirals, 10 miles south of Saskatoon
    (plus potluck food cost to be determined)
  • $ 20 – Two daylong retreats at McFarland House, Saskatoon
  • $300 – Administration fee, which will be shared between Susie Harrington, Jeanne Corrigal, and the program administrator/manager.
  • $ 50- additional cost to cushion for possible rise in above venue rates. This amount will be used for food costs at the Ancient Spirals retreat if it is not used during the program.
  • Optional – $50 scholarship contribution

2) Teacher support for Jeanne. In accordance with the tradition, Jeanne offers the teachings without a fee, (including the retreats, monthly homework, monthly group meetings, and 10 individual practice talks per person. This is a substantial commitment for Jeanne, and participant support through dana (also in accordance to tradition) will allow Jeanne to offer this program in all of its elements.)

There is no set donation for the teachings, and you may offer whatever you wish. At the same time, in Asia practitioners usually know the amounts that are needed to support a teacher, and so we offer this suggested guideline in the spirit of this tradition, and we will see what happens in this happy experiment. It is helpful to know that each retreat takes a teacher twice the length (or more) of the retreat to prepare for it.

  • Non-residential day long retreats: It is very helpful if these can somewhat average about $80 a person. Please feel free to offer less than this in order to ensure your participation, knowing that your presence and any financial contribution are valued. Please feel free to offer more, if you are able and it brings you joy to support others and the retreat in this precious way.
  • Residential retreats: It is very helpful if these can average about $200 a person. Please feel free to offer less than this in order to ensure your participation, knowing that your presence and any financial contribution are valued. Please feel free to offer more, if you are able and it brings you joy to support others and the retreat in this precious way.
  • Monthly homework, meetings, and practice talks: It is very helpful if these can average about $40 a person each month. Please feel free to offer less than this in order to ensure your participation, knowing that your presence and any financial contribution are valued. Please feel free to offer more, if you are able and it brings you joy to support others and the retreat in this precious way.

Application

Please fill out the online registration form at: TBD
and make your expense payment by e-transfer, or by cheque. You can choose to make your payment in full upon registration, or in two installments, one with your application, and one by September 30, 2018.

The application period will be from January 5 – March 15, 2018. We will let you know if you are in the program by March 31, 2018. Those who are not accepted into the program will have their fees refunded in full.

The program will have a minimum of 14 and a maximum of 18 participants. Please consider your ability to commit carefully. Because the fees are set to cover basic expenses, cancellations greatly affect the group and the funds we have to cover venues. Cancellations after September 30, 2018 will be refunded except for a $30 cancellation fee. Depending on the number of retreatants and the financial circumstances of the program, cancellations after October 30 may not be able to be refunded.

With Appreciation

This program is adapted by Susie Harrington from the Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Dedicated Practitioner Program (DPP). While many changes have been made, gratitude is extended to Sally Clough and Eugene Cash for developing that program and allowing us to use some of the materials they developed.

Program teachers

Susie Harrington teaches meditation nationwide and is the guiding teacher for Desert Dharma, which serves many communities in the Southwest near her home in Moab, Utah. She has trained in the Insight tradition since 1989, and in 2005 was invited into teaching by Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, and Guy Armstrong. Her teaching is deeply grounded in the body and often emphasizes the expression of mindfulness in speech and daily life. Susie brings the skills of inquiry, relational dharma, and the psychological/spiritual interface from her training in Hakomi Therapy and the Diamond Approach. Believing nature to be a profound teacher, and a gateway to our true self, she often offers retreats outside. For more information about Susie Harrington, see: www.desertdharma.org

Jeanne Corrigal has been practicing since 1999, and teaching since 2012. She is a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioner Course and Community Dharma Leader Program, with Guy Armstrong as her mentor. She is currently a teacher trainee in the 2017-2021 Insight Meditation Society teacher training program, with Joseph Goldstein. She joyfully teaches and leads with the Saskatoon Insight Meditation Community, and other communities in Canada. Jeanne is also a certified MBSR teacher. She feels especially moved by lovingkindness and nature practices. Jeanne is Metis, and one of her first teachers in loving presence was Cree Elder Jim Settee.