Get Certified as a Meditation Instructor

Online Intensive Training:  Sept 19, 2020 – Mar 27, 2021

Apply for Meditation Instructor Training

The Meditation Instructor Training supplies the fundamental knowledge and experience necessary to lead meditation classes and one-day meditation intensives.

People all over the world have turned to Buddhist meditation as a source of wisdom. Meditation offers a powerful method to access a sense of spaciousness, peace and authentic presence.

The practical benefits of meditation are well documented. Research shows it improves mood, reduces stress (Brown & Warren 2003), it improves memory, visuospatial reasoning, sustained attention and executive brain function (Zeidan et al. 2010). It reduces sub-clinical depression and anxiety (Schreiner and Malcolm 2012). 

From a Buddhist point of view, when we know how to meditate, we learn how to work with mind and emotions. We have a practice for unraveling conditioned scripts and unconscious habits. Meditation is a pathway to discovering human goodness by making peace with our mind. Ultimately it is a method for getting free from dissatisfaction, resolving confusion and waking up to see reality more clearly.


Meditation Teachers Needed

Equanimity, calm, peace, inner strength, resilience, centeredness… there are so many reasons the world needs meditation teachers.

Meditation Teachers can offer important tools to society for relating to these tumultuous times.

Meditation promotes mindfulness and equanimity – the ability to let emotional states arise and pass without becoming overwhelming. With mindfulness, we are able to become aware of our mind-states, rather than carried away by them. It promotes the state of equanimity, the ability to respond skillfully to situations. Instead of responding with knee-jerk reactions, blame, resentment and anger we can choose healthier responses, such as loving-kindness and compassion.

There are so many places where meditation can be taught. It can add a profound benefit to temples, yoga centers, health centers, schools, corporations, communities and healthcare settings. This training offers meditation instructors copious knowledge, both practical and experiential – so that you can offer high-quality classes in any setting.


About the Training

The training includes a study of the postures for meditation, breathing techniques, the five key meditation techniques from Zhine, (also known “Calm Abiding), common obstacles to meditation, remedies for obstacles of meditation and more. We will also review the most important Buddhist teachings to support meditation practice – looking to the wealth of Buddhist philosophy for new perspectives on what is mind, how to work with thoughts and emotions, what is the body-mind connection and how body and mind can be harnessed for awakening.


About the Teachers

This course and its curriculum have been designed by Pema Khandro Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist teacher, and scholar. She is an American born Lama who specializes in the tradition of Tibet’s Buddhist Yogis and the Dzogchen teachings. Ordained in the Nyingma lineage, enthroned as a tulku, and trained as an academic, Pema Khandro’s teachings celebrate the dynamic coalescence of tradition and the modern context.  Pema Khandro is the founder of Ngakpa International, the Yogic Medicine Institute, and three residential centers. For more information visit www.PemaKhandro.org  Learn more about Pema Khandro here. 

Pema Khandro first taught the course in 2001. She has developed an online version of the course in order to give support and deep training to friends and students around the world, who may not be able to travel to attend in person.

The course will also be led by two of her senior students, Aruna Rig’dzin and Satya Shiva. Aruna and Satya have studied closely with Pema Khandro since 2001. They have attended this training five times, attended all of Pema Khandro Rinpoche’s courses and they trained intensively under her supervision. Since 2011, Aruna and Satya have been teaching assistants and leaders in the Buddhist Yogis Sangha and Ngakpa International.  Learn more about Aruna and Satya here.


180 Hours of Training
A Live & Online Format to Harmonize with Your Busy Life!

Self-Paced Curriculum Online – Begin Anytime (60 Hours)
Buddhist Foundations Series (20 Hours)
Buddhist Meditation Series (35 Hours)
Buddhist Ethics Training & Test (5 Hours)

Fall Quarter 2020 (70 Hours)
Sept 19  –  MIT Introduction & Orientation (4 Hours)
Sept 22-27  –  Live Meditation Retreat, Khandro Ling Virginia (30 Hours)
Oct 1 – Dec 19  –  4 Videos per Week with Journals, Quizzes, Homework, and Final Exam (36 Hours)
*Includes Study with Meditation Instructor Manual, 47-page digital download

Winter Quarter 2021 (50 Hours)
Jan 16  –  Practicum Orientation (3 Hours)
Jan 19 – Mar 18  –  Weekly Online Practice Groups (9 Hours)
Feb 13, 20, 27, Mar 6  –  Online Intensives with Aruna Rig’dzin & Satya Shiva (12 Hours)
Mar 20  –  Final Practicum with Aruna Rig’dzin & Satya Shiva (4 Hours)
Mar 27  –  Final Transmission with Pema Khandro, Vows, and Graduation (4 Hours)
*Includes 9 hours teaching practicum to Friends and Family
*Includes 9 hours teaching practicum to the public

*International students may inquire about other options if time zones do not permit the attendance of live online classes.


About the Format

Orientation & Introduction – Live Online

  • Welcome
  • How the Course works, Practical Overview and Questions
  • Meeting with each of the participants
  • Why Meditation Training? Why Online?
  • What is Mind? A Buddhist Point of View
  • Expectations
  • Q&A

Lessons & Practice Videos

  • Study the crucial points of meditation practice from home, at your own pace.
  • You will receive new video lessons each week covering the essential points of Meditation practice and Meditation Instruction.

Exams

  • Students will complete a weekly online quiz reviewing the major principles of the video lessons they have received.
  • Students will complete a final exam online at the end of the Fall quarter in order to progress to the practicum.

Daily Journal
Students will be required to submit journal entries documenting practice sessions. Students are expected to maintain a daily meditation practice of at least 24 minutes per day throughout the entirety of the course.

  • What time you started practicing, what time you finished practicing
  • What were the positive things about your practice today?
  • Name one challenge about your practice today?
  • Where did you practice?
  • Which practice did you complete today?
  • What did you learn or find beneficial about this video lesson?
  • What questions do you have about this lesson, your daily practice or other related questions?

Workshops – Live Online

  • Students will meet with the instructors for online workshops, discussion, and evaluation. During the workshops, every student will lead a meditation class and receive feedback from the instructors. This is led by Satya Shiva and Aruna Rig’dzin.
  • Students will also meet Online with their TAs and peers once a week to practice leading meditation

Teaching Practicum 

  • Each student will lead 9 hours of meditation classes to friends and family, and submit review forms. 
  • Once confirmed by instructors, each student will lead 9 hours of meditation classes in a local underserved community and submit review forms.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to organize and arrange these classes within their local community.
  • Students will be given instructions for which practices to lead and will discuss these experiences in the group workshops. 

Final Transmission & Graduation – Live Online

  • Students who complete all aspects of the training will be invited to the final transmission class and graduation with Pema Khandro Rinpoche.


Curriculum – 22 Lessons

Introduction Lesson Zero: What is Mind?

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
    • What is Mind According to Buddhist Thought
    • Understanding the factors of perception, experience, unconscious and identity
    • How the ten factors of mind take place
    • How does meditation work with the factors of mind?
    • Tibetan Yoga – Naljorpas – Remaining in the Real
  • Technical Overview Taught by Satya Shiva
    • Meeting the participants and expressing the purpose of the training
    • Overview of the Practicalities of the Course
    • Answers to Technical Questions

Lesson 1: How to Sit – The Seven Point Posture of Vairocana

  • Taught by Satya Shiva
  • Detailed introduction to the 7 Point Body Posture and Bodhisattva posture
  • A good seat – a good mind
  • Daily Practice
    • Guided Calm Abiding – 21 Breaths Meditation

Lesson 2: What is Meditation – Why Meditate? 

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Popular Goals for Meditation
    • Meditation for relieving stress
    • Health benefits for meditation
    • Meditation as a spiritual practice
    • Meditation as withdrawing the senses
  • Goals for Meditation in Buddhism
    • What is wakeful presence?
  • What is Calm Abiding Meditation?
    • Settling, Tranquility, and Equanimity
    • Why is calm abiding necessary?
    • Is calm abiding enough?
    • Is non-thought the goal? Why or why not?
    • The function of calm abiding
    • The benefits of finding calm when coping with change, illness and death
  • Daily Meditation
    • Calm Abiding 21 Breaths

Lesson 3: Tradition & Context of the Practice

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • The Orientations of Buddhist Meditation 
  • Tibetan Buddhism: Distinctions in the Practice
  • Tibetan Yogis and Contemplation (Nyingma Ngakpa)
  • Overview of frameworks of contemplative traditions
    • Why different methods to meet different needs
  • Calm Abiding vs Insight Meditation
    • Calm Abiding (Tib. Zhine, zhi gnas; Skt. Shamatha)
    • Sequence of calm abiding and insight
  • Preparing for Calm Abiding
    • The importance of enlightened intent (Skt. Bodhichitta)
    • Methods for cultivating enlightened intent
    • Lifestyle and ethical considerations
    • The goal of discovering self-existing wakefulness
  • The Body Context
    • Introduction to the mind-body relationship framed as winds, channels and spheres.
      (Skt. prana, nadi, bindu; Tbtn. rtsa, rlung, thigle)
    • The importance of phases of meditation practice
    • Brief introduction to the opening and closing contemplations
    • The Meditation Tradition & Establishing Context for Clarity & Calm
  • Daily Practice
  • Preliminary Practice 2: Double the Exhale
  • Calm Abiding Exercise 1: Twenty-one Breaths

Lesson 4: Ideal Place and Time

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Ideal Times to practice
  • Ideal Durations of Practice
  • Ideal Clothing
  • Ideal Seat
  • Teaching in Non-Ideal Conditions
  • Overview of the prayers for opening and closing the Practice
  • Ideal Place – Traditional & Modern Considerations
  • Preliminary Practice 4: Tactile Sensations

“If the conditions of tranquility are impaired, one may meditate intensively
for as long as a thousand years without achieving tranquil absorption.”
-The Bodhipathapradīpa

  • Daily Meditation
    • Finding a stable posture
    • Preliminary Practice 1: Regulating the breath
    • Calm Abiding Exercise 1: Twenty-one Breaths

Lesson 5: Mastering the Posture

  • Taught by Aruna Rig’dzin
  • Preparatory practices for sitting
  • Secrets to the 7 Point Posture
  • How to sit on the cushion
  • How to sit in a chair
  • Helping Others to Sit
  • Props as Sitting Support for Tight Hips or Back Problems
  • Half Lotus and Full Lotus
  • Correct placement of the ankle in half lotus and full lotus
  • Solutions for Pain and Body Limitations

Lesson 6: Preparation for Practice

  • Taught by Satya Shiva
  • Introduction to the preliminary somatic practice
  • Preliminary Practice 3:  Nine purification breaths
  • Why Inner Yoga Practices settle the mind

Lessons 7: Abiding in Peace and Calm

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Overview of the five main methods for finding calm
  • Common factors in all the Calm Abiding Methods
  • Structured exercises, unstructured spaces and non-elaborate meditation techniques
  • Importance of periods of non-guided meditation
  • What is ‘bad’ meditation, making sense of the dullness, agitation and impulses
  • Meditation as a space for encountering what we are

Lessons 8: Abiding in Peace and Calm

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Overview of the five main methods for finding calm continued
  • Overview of four of the five preliminary exercises for synchronizing body and mind
  • What is calm or tranquility? How is it distinguished from dullness?
  • Step by Step Detailed Instructions for the 5 Main Methods to teach for accessing meditative presence
  • Does meditation make the mind more busy?
  • Practicing in ease versus practicing in tension and aggression
  • Dealing with fidgeting and body movement, how much movement or stillness is required?
  • Discerning distractions as soon as they arise
  • The liberating power of focusing the mind
  • Defining mental freedom as the power to concentrate on chosen objects
  • Balance between effort and relaxation
  • Quality vs Quantity – why it’s important
  • What to do if the students are all distracted or struggling in the middle of the session
  • Sticking with one method at a time

Lessons 9: Abiding in Peace and Calm

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Overview of the five main methods for finding calm
  • Samten (Dhyana) meditative stability
  • Daily prayers opening prayers part 1 and Refuge prayer
  • Refuge prayer without the word Refuge
  • Concrete objects to tune into the non-concrete presence
  • Rigpa – the Intrinsic quality like the wetness of water
  • How to calm the emotional poisons which distort our vision, disturb our mind
  • Formless meditation instructions and theory

Lesson 10: Abiding in Peace and Calm

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Overview of the five main methods for finding calm continued
  • What is the difference between Tibetan Buddhist Meditation and other meditation techniques
  • How does lifting the gaze change the meditation
  • Meditating on an external object
  • The forceful aspect of Forced Calm Abiding
  • What is the Ah Thigle? What is the benefit of using the Ah Thigle as an Object
  • Step by Step Detailed Instructions for the 5 Main Methods to teach for accessing meditative presence
  • Tips for Instructing Meditation for beginners and advanced audiences

Lesson 11: Abiding in Peace and Calm

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Two factors that lead to the meditative state
  • The importance of enlightened intent (bodhichitta)
  • The intentional factor that leads to the meditative state
  • Subtle Body as Mind
  • Mind riding the Wind
  • The Five Vital Winds
  • Practicing with Body Speech and Mind
  • The Symbolism and meaning of Om Ah Hung Practices
  • Expressing enlightened intent in the opening and closing of practice
  • Calm Abiding Practice with Sending Light

Lessons 12 – 14: Obstacles and Antidotes

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Primary obstacles to meditation and their remedies
  • Considerations for preventing obstacles to meditation
  • Recognizing the source of obstacles
  • Working with special cases – tips for students with depression, addiction, and trauma
  • Uprooting every teacher’s worst obstacle
  • Cultivating ethics & Discovering consciousness as ethical

Lesson 15: Obstacles and Antidotes in Diet & Lifestyle

  • Taught by Satya Shiva
  • Dietary & Lifestyle Considerations for preventing obstacles to meditation

Lesson 16: Teaching Methodology

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Avoiding common pitfalls in teaching
  • Discovering your authentic voice
  • Integrating Meditation Teaching into your coaching practice, medical practice and other careers
  • Facilitating groups in welcomes, check-ins, and discussions
  • Avoiding sexist language and actions
  • Skills for addressing Racism & Bigotry
  • Remaining relevant

Lesson 17: Tips for Teaching in the Meditation Practicum

  • Taught by Aruna Rig’dzin and Satya Shiva
  • Finding places to teach classes
  • How to set up your 3 hour meditation practicum
  • The importance of serving under-served communities
  • Identifying and approaching underserved communities

Lesson 18: The Stages of Meditation

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Stages of developing practice
  • The nine stages of developing the meditative state of calm abiding
  • Signs of success on the path
  • Practices for adapting to the stages of meditation

Lesson 19: The Goal of Meditation

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • The Goal of Meditation as a Buddhist Practice
  • Advanced Considerations
  • Understanding the mind, perception and its objects
  • Non-self and open-ended experience
  • Non-conceptuality, bliss, and clarity
  • Working through meditative experiences without grasping

Lesson 20: Questions and Answers

  • Taught by Aruna Rig’dzi

Lesson 21: Instructor Parameters

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Secrets to Personal Discipline & Developing a Strong Practice
  • Working with students
  • Teaching Ethics – A Code to Live By
  • Scope of Practice

Lesson 22: Bonus Class

  • Taught by Pema Khandro

Final Words of Advice

  • Taught by Pema Khandro
  • Keeping a discipline after the course
  • Developing ongoing education
  • Values for a Meditation Instructor
  • Heart Advice for Meditation Instructors


Other Requirements
 

  • Submit Application
  • Submit Release of Liability Form
  • Completion of all homework and assignments
  • Daily practice throughout the duration of the course
  • Must attend all required classes and group sessions to graduate. Attendance of all live classes and meetings including: orientation, online practice sessions, weekend workshops, and final transmission class. (Video lessons may be watched at one’s own pace)
  • Missing Classes
    • If a student needs to miss an online session, they may attend the other session that week to make up the class
    • If a student needs to miss one Saturday online intensive, then they may elect to take all Tuesday and Thursday classes or will need to arrange a private session with the instructors at an additional charge of $108
    • If a student needs to miss the final Saturday workshop, they will need to arrange a private session with instructors for an additional charge of $108, in order to graduate and be certified
  • Complete teaching 9 hours of free meditation classes to friends and family, and 9 hours in an underserved community
  • Graduation is subject to approval by faculty
  • Tuition and dana (teaching donation) for the entire course (*see tuition below)
  • Successful completion of all quizzes and final exam, plus completion of the practicum
  • Daily practice and completion of the daily journals


2020-2021 Overview – Summary of Schedule

All times listed in Pacific Time
To Convert PT (Pacific Time)  to your timezone visit: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/cgi-bin/tzc

  • Coming Soon


Tuition

  • Regular Tuition: $2195 Registration, plus suggested teacher donations @ $108
  • Free Tuition for ‘Sustainer Members’: with a 1-year pledge @ $250/month
  • Other Member Discounts Available: See Membership for details
  • Registration Fee: $500 non-refundable deposit is due upon registration to reserve space in the course.
  • Openings: Course is limited to 30 students worldwide.
  • Financial aid considerations: The course costs are set at a minimum fee already, with financial aid built into all tuition rates. Because we are a non-profit organization, the costs of all activities and overhead of our organization must be covered by the participants of the courses. For those who are experiencing genuine financial hardship and wish to enroll in the course, two financial aid scholarships at a 50% discount are available. Financial Aid applications are available, applications must be received in advance


PREREQUISITES

  • Minimum of three years of meditation practice experience or equivalent
  • Ability to devote time and energy to the program, to attend and complete all course components, to take time away from work and other commitments in order to complete the study, practice and attend group sessions.
  • Ability to pay tuition and practice of Dana (teaching offering) in support of all program components (see tuition for details).
  • Maintenance of a harmonious relationship with Instructors, Pema Khandro Rinpoche, Buddhist Yogis Sangha, and Ngakpa International.


CONSISTENCY OF CONDUCT

  • Embodying Buddhist principles: generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, compassion, equanimity, respect for teachers and sangha, harmony with teachers and sangha.
  • Ethical integrity: upholding the five precepts and Commitment to Buddhist ethics – especially maintaining sobriety (in terms of being free from substance addictions) and refraining from sexual misconduct (includes refraining from romantic relationships with students and refraining from breaking vows or causing others to break their vows.)  Refraining from hate speech (including hate speech on social media).
  • Ethical commitment to refrain from engaging in sexual relationships with any students. If a relationship begins with someone who has been a student it will be only after they have ceased from being a student for at least six months and have already resumed working with another meditation teacher.
  • Psychological health and stability, a history of emotional and psychological development, a history of emotional and psychological stability and well-being for the previous ten years.
  • Continuing psychological and emotional stability and well being throughout the duration of the course.
  • A wish to lead, based on service, gratitude, humility, and kindness rather than ego-driven ambition or narcissism. This includes: a conscious awareness of one’s own limitations; understanding the scope of one’s competence and authority; the willingness to draw on support from teachers and other professionals; adopting the practice of referring when students have needs outside one’s scope of competency; attribution of credit to sources/teachers when repeating or using their works.
  • Personal and interpersonal maturity: ability to maintain a harmonious relationship with teachers and peers, emotional maturity to work through difficulties in practice and interpersonal difficulties, maintaining respect for past teachers and dharma community
  • Respect for diversity: Respect towards other religious views, expressing kindness towards all beings regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or sectarian affiliation; respect for all types of Buddhism.


FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What if I have to miss a portion of the Saturday Live Online Group Sessions?
A student can make up missed Live Group Session by purchasing a 1-hour private session with a facilitator.

At what point will I be ready to begin offering my free meditation classes to an underserved community?
You may begin the Teaching Practicum of three meditation classes in an underserved community at the halfway mark of the training, though it is recommended to schedule them after completion of all video lessons. Students must arrange and organize these classes for themselves.
 
What if I am not able to lead 9 hours of meditation classes in an underserved community within the time period of the training?
A student may schedule these 9 hours of meditation classes in an underserved community at any time that works for their schedule, however, they will not be certified as a meditation instructor until these hours are completed and confirmed by the facilitators. If the hours are not completed by the scheduled graduation, an extension of 30 days may be granted, however, all coursework, practice hours and make-up sessions must be completed within that timeframe.
What are the daily journal questions?
On the same page as the video lesson and meditation practice for the day, you will enter into the comments section, answers to the following questions:
 
1. What time did you start practicing today, and what time did you finish practicing?
2. What were the positive things about your practice today?
3. Name one challenge about your practice today?
4. Where did you practice?
5. Which practice did you complete today?
6. What did you learn or find beneficial about this video lesson?
7. What questions do you have about this lesson, your daily practice or other related questions?
 
Example entry:
  1. I started practicing this morning at 7:30am and finished practicing at 8am.
  2. My knee problems didn’t bother me, my body felt good and stable!
  3. My mind was very active today.
  4. In the meditation room upstairs by the window, I found the light helped.
  5. I did the 21 breath practice. Also, the preliminary exercise was double breathing.
  6. The part about enlightened intent – and redefining ourselves in terms of connected being as the basis of practice.
  7. Why don’t most Tibetan Buddhists do silent sitting meditation practice?
If I have the All-Access Pass (AAP) – can I still attend the training pieces that I chose even if I don’t want to become a Certified Meditation Instructor?
Yes. AAP who have been in good standing for at least 1 year may attend any and all portions of the MIT by watching the videos – except the workshops and exams. Live Workshops and exams are for registered students only.
 
What is an underserved community?
Underserved refers to communities that have less access to meditation, or do not currently have meditation classes. This is up to your discretion to determine which communities are underserved in your local area.

If I complete the training, will I automatically be a Certified Meditation Instructor and authorized to lead classes and one-day meditation retreats?

  • Graduation is subject to approval by the faculty.
  • Successful completion of all exams 80% or above, plus completion of the practicum.
  • Daily practice and completion of the daily journals 
  • Documentation and completion of 9 hours offering meditation classes to an underserved community.
  • Satisfaction of all prerequisites which includes:
    • Minimum of three years of meditation practice experience or equivalent
    • Ability to devote time and energy to the program, to attend and complete all course components, to take time away from work and other commitments in order to complete the study, practice and attend group sessions.
    • Complete payment of tuition and practice of Dana (teaching offering) in support of all program components (see tuition for details).
    • Maintenance of a harmonious relationship with Instructors, Pema Khandro Rinpoche, Buddhist Yogis Sangha, and Ngakpa International.
    • See CONSISTENCY OF CONDUCT section above

 

Apply for Meditation Instructor Training