One practitioner’s four(ish)-year journey to become a professional in Mindfulness and Secular Buddhism, without getting all mysterious and solemn about it.
Here’s what happened: it’s the late 2010s, my mindfulness practice is going well; I am ready to take it to the next level. I search for an advanced academic program that will guide me through the aspects of Mindfulness and Dharma that interest me. No joy.
After some wringing of hands, I decide to hack my own program. I grill my super-smart-doctorate friends, and concoct what I’m now calling an “Independent PhD in the Philosophy of Mindfulness”. The premise: four-ish years of research, practice, teaching, and discussion that will culminate in a book no one will read. :)
In broadest strokes, it seems to me a PhD consists of four aspects: Studying a thing (Scholarship), Doing a thing (Practice), Talking about a thing with smart people (Discourse), and Teaching a thing (Teaching). I’ve formatted my Independent PhD in the Philosophy of Mindfulness (henceforth known as “Dharma PhD”) with this structure.
I have a daily practice which, in 2022, is mostly focused on Metta and Jhānas (á la Leigh Brasington and Bhante Vimalaramsi). I participate in several (online) retreats each year, and have been accepted into Bodhi College‘s Committed Practitioners Program. Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully the coronavirus will be settled enough that I can attend. :fingers_crossed:
Practice is the most important, but, for me, scholarship is the most engaging. I’m interested in learning Pāli and making my own translations, and am ingesting the scholarship of others at a rapid rate. If you want to know what I’m working on right now, check out the blog and the podcast.
Scholarship is the most engaging, but Discourse is the most fun. :) This website, the blog, and the podcasts are me broadcasting in order to meet other folks who dig this stuff. If that’s you, send word! Or if you’re feeling shy, follow the podcasts or subscribe to the blog. Then, when you feel more comfy, reach out.
I absolutely love teaching this stuff. Nothing beats the joy of watching a practitioner come into an “Aha!” moment, learning to work with their mind. With Coronavirus and a cross-country move I’ve taken a break from teaching. (I’m also starting to think about teaching through a networked/community lens, rather than a hierarchical/guru lens… more on that later.)
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