The MERIT Program is a 3 year program of study,contemplation, and meditation. The program is designed for the dedicated dharma student who wishes to awaken to their true nature and experience peace, joy, and happiness. When this happens we can help others realize their own true nature of boundless love. MERIT is an acronym, highlighting; meditation, enlightenment, reflection, insight, and transformation. Each of these components can lead us towards ultimate liberation.
Meditation This is the core component of this program & serious dedication and commitment to a daily meditation practice is highly recommended.
Enlightenment This is a path of awakening rather than a stress reduction program (although this may be one benefit we receive from our practice). This program is to fully embrace the awakened heart by living this vision fully into our lives.
Reflection We will be practicing both shamatha (concentration) and vipassana (insight) meditation techniques and encouraging contemplative investigation into the nature of reality We will be reading from both the Pali Cannon and selected Mahayana Sutras. There will also be some assigned writing.
Insight The MERIT program is founded on the Prajnaparamita, known as the transcendentwisdom teachings, which go beyond all forms of duality, psychology, and spirituality.
Transformation Opening our hearts is the key to transformation. When we do this, we are able to effortlessly let go of all our hindrances. Therefore, the MERIT Program emphasizes the practices of compassion.
You can participate in the MERIT program in two ways.
Residential Retreats or Online
The preferred method is to attend all, or a majority of the residential retreats. This direct experience of the teachings and the experience of retreat itself helps practitioners along the path.There will be 3 residential retreats each year for three years. If you are unable to attend a retreat you will be sent the audio teachings. In addition, participants will be asked to complete readings and write essays to deepen their understanding of the Dharma. The main focus, however is the on the experience of awareness.
Online MERIT Program
The alternate method to experience the MERIT program is through theOnline MERIT Program. This is meant for those who can't travel to the residential retreats for one reason or another. Those who choose the Online MERIT Program will receive the downloadable teachings, emails, and interviews with the teachers and are encouraged to come to at least one retreat a year. The main focus is also on the experience of awareness.
All participants are encouraged to go through the entire three year program either by attending the residential retreats, or through the Online MERIT Program. If circumstances arise that prevent this from happening you are encouraged to speak with one of the Dharma teachers. The commitment is completely up to you.
As part of the program you will receive the retreat teachings in a downloadable format. You will also receive a letter from one of the teachers between each retreat and will be able to have a tokbul (interview about your practice) with the Dharma teachers. A regular meditation practice is highly encouraged.