Schedule

2024

Meditation Mentoring Program (MMP)

Chris is currently working individually with students through his Meditation Mentoring Program, which now includes a monthly group meditation practice period and discussion.

This group is intentionally kept small, and requires an application. Currently there are a few spaces available.

Meditation Mentoring Program

 

Meditation class and dharma discussion. Beginners and experienced meditators welcome.

March 23, Saturday. 9:30-11:00 am

Info and registration (space limited)

Center for Mindfulness & Insight Meditation, Wenham, MA.

Meditation class and dharma discussion. Beginners and experienced meditators welcome.

March 27, Wednesday. 7:00-8:30 pm

Info and registration (space limited)

Center for Mindfulness & Insight Meditation, Wenham, MA.

The Way Things Are: Insight & Equanimity Retreat

Half-day retreat option: 9:00am-12:30pm
Full-day retreat option: 9:00am-4:00pm

Center for Mindfulness & Insight Meditation, Wenham MA
72 Grapevine Rd

Registration at CfMIM

Description
As meditators we gradually increase our ability to meet life with less resistance helping us to see more clearly the “truth”, the way things really are. Equanimity, upekkha (Pali) is both a mind state and a skill to be developed, supporting the mind in remaining stable and balanced when faced with both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. In this insight meditation retreat CfMIM guiding teacher Chris Crotty will include equanimity teachings as a supportive practice for the development of insight (vipassana) meditation. 

This retreat is open to beginners and experienced meditators from any tradition. Held mostly in silence with instructive talks from the teacher, the retreat will include time for questions and discussion at the end.  

There is both a half-day and full day option: The shorter, half-day option, is a good format for those who are new to retreat, while the full-day format offers students a more immersive retreat experience and is encouraged.

Information: Natural Dharma Fellowship

Monday April 15, 2024
5:00-6:30pm

Info and Registration click here

A Refuge Within
The notion of refuge has its origins in early Buddhism and remains a formative aspect of the Buddha’s teachings today, and in all lineages. One perspective is that refuge is something we “take”, as in the ceremonial “taking refuge” in the Three Gems or Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha). Another view is that refuge is something that we cultivate within our own mind and heart. In this class with Buddhist teacher and chaplain Chris Crotty we will explore how external and traditional forms of refuge provide a container for the inner development of mental qualities such as concentration, mindfulness, and wise action, the very things that fortify our own sense of confidence and trust in ourselves, the world, and the Dharma itself. Upon this foundation an emphasis will be placed the idea of ultimate refuge being a defining characteristic of our own mind. 

Meditation class and dharma discussion. Beginners and experienced meditators welcome.

April 17, Wednesday. 7:00-8:30 pm

Info and registration (space limited)

Center for Mindfulness & Insight Meditation, Wenham, MA.

Pariyatti Workshop: Integrating Practice & Study
Saturday May 18 2024
9am-4:00pm

Registration info at The Center for Mindfulness & Insight Meditation

Pariyatti (Pali) means to study or learn. In this workshop led by CfMIM guiding-teacher, Chris Crotty, students will have an opportunity to begin exploring ways to integrate Buddhist teachings into the path of meditative development. First, we will consider how study offers both context and practical instructions for meditation. Second, we will examine how meditation practice tests, clarifies, and confirms the Buddha’s teachings, helping to render them personally relevant and meaningful. Through the integration of practice and study the dhamma is said to unfold naturally.

As a foundational program which introduces the Pali canon and covers basic concepts related to studying suttas and commentaries, it is encouraged for anyone who is curious about study or who wants to attend future Pariyatti Workshops at CfMIM. Beginning later this year a series of Pariyatti workshops will begin to be offered and this workshop is the introduction for those programs, and is therefore highly recommended though not required. (This foundation Pariyatti Workshop was offered initially in 2023 and is being offered again for those who could not attend. For those who attended in 2023 and wish to register again this 2024 May workshop will feature new material and all the contemplation exercises will be based on new teachings).

Pariyatti Workshops will include periods of meditation, instructional talks and teacher presentations, mindful communication, and time for personal reflection. Tea, coffee, and light snacks will be provided; please bring your own lunch.

 

No prior experience necessary; everyone is welcome–beginners and experienced meditators encouraged to attend.

 

Drop-in class, everyone welcome.

Information: Natural Dharma Fellowship

Title: Subtle and hard to see: The meaning and mystery of Dharma 

The Buddha taught the Dharma (Pali: Dhamma), imparting a knowledge sought by countless meditators for thousands of years. This ancient path, with its origin story forged in the forests of a distant land, maintains its appeal today for the many ways it offers hope and direction for life’s most enduring questions. In this way the true Dharma is timeless…but what is it really? How do we practice something that is subtle and hard to see?  

The term Dharma has become something close to ubiquitous, yet its true meaning is often elusive, its direct experience just out of reach…until it is not! Join Buddhist teacher and chaplain Chris Crotty for an exploration of the meaning and implication of Dharma in our practice, our sangha, and our whole lives. 

Metta: Loving-kindness Meditation Retreat
1/2-day retreat

June 1
9:00-12:30

Registration: CfMIM

Metta (Pali) means loving–kindness, friendliness, or benevolence. Metta meditation and related teachings are integral to early Buddhist thought and practice, and are instrumental to a holistic experience of the Dhamma. As a cultivation practice metta makes concentration strong, enables the mind to see the inherent goodness in the myriad forms of life, and supports the development of insight.

This retreat is for anyone who wants to explore metta as an independent meditation practice, or who wishes to complement their vipassana, insight, or mindfulness practice with this ancient “heart practice.” Open to beginners and experienced meditators, everyone is welcome to attend. This retreat will also offer walking meditation instructions with the option of spending time meditating outdoors in the quiet tree–bordered property at CfMIM.

Becoming Buddha: The Meaning and Practice of Waking Up (Workshop)

Cambridge Insight Meditation Center
10:00am–5:00pm

Two registration options:
In-person
Virtual

Description

Buddhism is a cultural phenomenon, the ism that came in the wake of Siddhartha Gotama’s awakening. Buddha is the honorific title Siddhartha took connoting the freedom from suffering that is possible through meditation practice and the cultivation of insight. Ultimately, the notion of Buddha (one who is awake) transcends both the institution and the historical figure, is not restricted to time or place, and is available to anyone under suitable and supportive conditions.

This workshop explores two related questions: What does it mean to be awake and what conditions support awakening? Integrating periods of meditation, examples from the Buddha’s life and the Therigatha, poems of the first Buddhist women, we look to those who came before us on the path as well as to our own direct experience to better understand both the meaning and implication of Buddha for our own life and practice.

In addition to sitting and walking meditation, this day-long workshop will include dhamma reflections by the teacher, time for individual student reflection, teacher-led discussion, alternating between periods of silence and mindful speech.  

 

Knowing the Mind: Insight Meditation Retreat

CfMIM
August 3, 2024
9:00am–12:30pm

Registration: CfMIM

Program Description
At the beginning of Buddhist text The Dhammapada it is written, “All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind…” implying the significance of mental activity for our mental and spiritual health. What arises in our mind–greed or generosity, anger or kindness, wisdom or delusion–has a profound impact on our wellbeing in the present moment, as well as our ability to understand the Dhamma over time. Despite this we do not have to be subjected to unskillful habits of mind and their results. How do we reconcile this distinction? The answer lies in the practical skills associated with insight (vipassana) meditation through which we mature our understanding of how the mind works. As we gradually alter how we respond to what arises in the mind, stress associated with mental activity is decreased, and sometimes alleviated altogether. In this way we begin to understand the power of moment to moment awareness and the freedom it provides.

This retreat, open to beginners and experienced meditators, offers a close look at the third foundation of mindfulness, citta, literally mind or mental activity. Retreat will be held mostly in silence alongside teacher led meditation instructions for both sitting and walking meditation, supportive dhamma reflections, and a question and answer period. Coffee and tea will be provided. 

 

A Year of Refuge: A Nine-Month Immersion in the Triple Gem

Program Dates:
-Retreat I: November 1-6, 2024
-Retreat II: January 31 – February 5, 2025
-Retreat III: May 2-7, 2025
-Retreat IV: August 8-13, 2025

Barre Center for Buddhist Studies

Program Overview
The premise of refuge is that we learn to use traditional practice forms to shelter the mind from all that hinders clear seeing, and in turn, insight that leads to our own wisdom becomes the ultimate sanctuary, sheltering us from life’s many forms of suffering while empowering us with a greater capacity for skillful living. A Year of Refuge borrows from the tradition of taking refuge in the Triple Gem–buddha, dharma, sangha–by establishing a nine-month immersive practice and study opportunity for dedicated practitioners who seek to experience the fruit of the Dharma more fully in their own lives. 

Participants in A Year of Refuge will work closely with Chris Crotty, and with each other, to establish and maintain a container for exploring the dharma which integrates the support of community, the determination of self-sustained practice, and teacher guidance. Throughout the program participants are provided opportunities to engage in the framework of the Triple Gem as a basis for deepening their meditation practice, and as a form for studying a wide range of Buddhist teachings with the goal of better understanding their relevance to their own personal lives. We will learn how to use our meditation practice to better understand Buddhist teachings, and learn how to use Buddhist teachings to expand our practice. With this foundation in place we will ask critical questions pertaining to the integration of the Dharma in our personal lives and the wider world.

Program Format
Participants will be supported by:

  • Four residential retreats
  • Monthly teacher-led sessions between residential retreats (Zoom)
  • Individualized daily meditation practice based on experience level
  • Monthly reading assignments and reflection questions
  • Monthly Kalayanamita (spiritual friendship) dyads (Zoom)

Retreats
Retreats will be structured thematically around the Triple Gem: buddha, dharma, sangha. These three gems will serve as an organizing principle or framework upon which a range of related dharma teachings and topics will be explored.   

Residential Retreat commitment
Full participation is required in the four residential retreats. Retreats will blend periods of silent meditation emphasizing the simplicity and quietude of renunciation, along with dyads, small group discussion, and teacher-led periods of reflection. All forms of mindful communication will be held in the spirit of contemplative practice, aimed at enriching both meditative development and peer relationships. It is expected that participants will eliminate the use of their phone and other forms of technology for the duration of the retreat. The last day of each retreat will include specific practices and activities to support the transition from the retreat environment to program activities that take place at home and between retreats.    

Meditation commitment outside of retreat
Participants are required to develop an on-going daily meditation practice that may include insight (vipassana), loving-kindness (metta), compassion (
karuna), and the Five Recollections. Chris will work with each student to help them establish an approach to daily practice that reflects their experience level and lifestyle. Daily meditation practice between retreats can accommodate various work schedules and commitments, though students are expected to dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes per day to their meditation practice for the duration of the program. Keeping a meditation journal is encouraged.  

Other Expectations
This program is designed specifically to help practitioners who want to create more structure and time in their lives for dharma activities. In addition to daily meditation practice between retreats, students will be expected to complete reading assignments, engage with reflection questions by keeping a journal, and participate in dyads and group discussions. Participants should plan for two-four hours per week for these activities. (Students who are interested in spending more time studying and reading can elect to take advantage of an optional supplementary reading list).   

Prerequisites:
-A minimum of one silent, teacher led insight meditation retreat consisting of at least seven nights in duration. 

-A daily meditation practice or a sincere commitment to beginning and sustaining a daily meditation practice for the duration of the twelve month program.   

Who this program is for
This program is for dedicated students who meet the prerequisites and who want to:

1) Deepen their meditation practice by addressing common challenges that meditators face and gaining insight into personal habit patterns.

2) Expand their understanding of core Buddhist teachings through both self-directed and teacher-led reading and reflection. This study component of the program will emphasize discernment and focused reflection based on short readings rather than consuming a lot of material.

3) Establish and sustain a spirited and cheerful sangha aimed at mutual support. Together we will explore new ways to experience the Dharma by working closely with peers to co-create a learning community grounded in spiritual friendship, collaboration, and encouragement. 

Residential Retreat Descriptions
Retreat I: Taking Refuge in the Buddha

This retreat examines the archetype of Buddha as a representation of one’s own awakened potential, and as a starting point to consider how those of us practicing today might find in the legacy and teachings of the historical Buddha time-tested guidance to cultivate our own mind. Examples will also be drawn from the spiritual biographies of other notable practitioners. This retreat will also look to the canonical story of the Buddha’s encounters with aging, sickness, and death in order to better understand their relationship to aspiration and motivation.   

Retreat II: Taking Refuge in the Dharma

This retreat explores the ideal of living in accordance with the dharma, described in the suttas as “subtle and hard to see.” How do we live and practice in accordance with something subtle and hard to see, and not yet fully realized? This second retreat explores the whole of the Dharma as an integrated system of practice, study, and personal reflection that leads to a way of seeing and perceiving self, others, and the world around us, which leads to greater freedom. Though we “study” the Dharma this retreat will ultimately support students to recognize their own direct experience as the greatest source of insight. 

Retreat III: Taking Refuge in the Sangha 

This retreat explores the potential of sangha, the community of practitioners who support each other’s progress on the Path. More broadly we will reflect on the role of relationships (work, family, friendships) in our lives to provide valuable–and sometimes challenging–opportunities to see and transform our habits. In this way, all of life’s relationships become vehicles for transforming our mind and heart, improving our ability to engage all of life with greater equanimity and joy. In this retreat we will also consider the role of loving-kindness and compassion in the formation of skillful relationships, and in the purification of our own mind.   

Retreat IV: Incorporating the Fruit of the Dharma

Returning to the question, what does it mean to live in accordance with the dharma?, the final retreat will be a time to focus on incorporating what we have learned through A Year of Refuge (as well as how we have learned). Using the Ten Perfections (Paramis) as a guide–alongside journaling, dyads, small groups, and teacher-led discussion, we will carefully and systematically reflect on our own practice throughout the year. As part of the final retreat each student will have the opportunity to reexamine the traditional model of taking refuge in the three jewels in light of their own experience  Both individually, and together as a community, we will support each other in establishing supportive guidelines for continuing to live and practice in a way that is both personally meaningful and aligned with the highest goals of Buddhist practice. 

Dates for monthly online meetings
Monthly on-line teacher-led sessions will be on Tuesday of the second week of each month from 6:30-8:30 EST. Peer dyads will be once per month at a time convenient for both students. 

Dates for monthly teacher-led group sessions:
Dec 10, 2024

2025: Jan 7, Feb 11, March 11, April 8, May 13, June 10, July 8

Information: Natural Dharma Fellowship

Sunday Sept 8, 2024
10am–12:00pm

Longing & Aspiration: Nurturing the Desire to be Free
It is said that desire plays a role in the creation of dukkha, suffering and distress. But what about the desire to be free of dukkha, to experience the liberating insight of the Awakened Ones? Both early Buddhist teachings and the Mahayana tradition are replete with accounts of aspiration and longing which motivated meditators to seek the deepest freedom possible. Join Buddhist teacher and chaplain Chris Crotty for an evening of meditation and dharma discussion in which we look to the stories of those who came before us, as well as our own direct experience, in order to better recognize the difference between skillful and unskillful desire, as well as how to relate to desire more broadly with wisdom. 

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