Opportunity to join a modern monastery

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Daniel Andersen Thorson, modified 6 Years ago.

Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 17 Join Date: 8/5/14 Recent Posts
Hey y'all,

Wanted to share this opportunity with you in case anyone wants to join in the fun. emoticon

The Center for Mindful Learning (where I live and work) is expanding! We are looking for a handful of new residents who want to dedicate their lives to rigorous meditation practice and effective social justice. This is a truly unique and awesome opportunity to deepen your practice in a community of likeminded individuals.

Here's a link to learn more:

http://www.centerformindfullearning.org/moving/

And I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about this.

Thanks!
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Bill F., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 558 Join Date: 11/17/13 Recent Posts
Don't think your link works, bruh. I looked up the page. Looks very cool and five years ago I would have jumped at the opportunity. Too many local responsibilities anymore.
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Daniel Andersen Thorson, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 17 Join Date: 8/5/14 Recent Posts
Thanks! Fixed those links.
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. Jake ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Sounds cool!
I live just outside of Montpelier. It looks like you guys are somewhere in my neck of the woods. My partner and I and some friends who share many of the values of your organization would probably love to visit. Where are you at? Are there better times to visit? Join in sitting practice? Etc.
-Jake
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Daniel Andersen Thorson, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 17 Join Date: 8/5/14 Recent Posts
. Jake .:
Sounds cool!
I live just outside of Montpelier. It looks like you guys are somewhere in my neck of the woods. My partner and I and some friends who share many of the values of your organization would probably love to visit. Where are you at? Are there better times to visit? Join in sitting practice? Etc.
-Jake


Hi Jake,

Yeah, we're pretty close by! We have public retreats on many Saturdays, including the weekend of Feburary 7th. Once we move (in March) we may offer longer retreats, workshops, etc.

We also have a potluck every Sunday and a morning sit every weekday from 8-9AM. You can find more information about local events here.

Thanks,
Daniel
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Simon T., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
Daniel Andersen Thorson:
Hey y'all,

Wanted to share this opportunity with you in case anyone wants to join in the fun. emoticon

The Center for Mindful Learning (where I live and work) is expanding! We are looking for a handful of new residents who want to dedicate their lives to rigorous meditation practice and effective social justice. This is a truly unique and awesome opportunity to deepen your practice in a community of likeminded individuals.

Here's a link to learn more:

http://www.centerformindfullearning.org/moving/

And I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about this.

Thanks!


It's seems you have set up a very nice project! I'm curious of how you manage to get financed and what is your financial structure, as you are pretty much laypeople in the U.S. with some financials needs (for instance, healthcare). At 2500$ per year per resident, it's very low cost for a U.S. based center. Do you live on a diet of rice and potatoes and live in hut?
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Daniel Andersen Thorson, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 17 Join Date: 8/5/14 Recent Posts
Simon T.:

It's seems you have set up a very nice project! I'm curious of how you manage to get financed and what is your financial structure, as you are pretty much laypeople in the U.S. with some financials needs (for instance, healthcare). At 2500$ per year per resident, it's very low cost for a U.S. based center. Do you live on a diet of rice and potatoes and live in hut?
We get financed through a mixture of donations, grants and profits from programs we've created as part of the service portion of our training, for example, mindfulness software for schools.

And we subsist on a diet of rice and beans and sleep on the floor.

And finally, regarding healthcare, we live in Vermont...so that's 'covered'. ;)

-Daniel
Andreas, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 216 Join Date: 11/4/14 Recent Posts
Rise, beans and sleep on the floor? Why? Because its cheap?
I thought the buddha said asceticism of any form didnt work ;).
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Daniel, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 17 Join Date: 8/5/14 Recent Posts
Andreas:
Rise, beans and sleep on the floor? Why? Because its cheap?
I thought the buddha said asceticism of any form didnt work ;).

Yup, because it keeps costs low. No ideological reason. If/when we can capture more resources we'll upgrade our situation (private rooms, actual beds, etc).
John M., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 135 Join Date: 2/11/12 Recent Posts
Sounds like a real (contemplative) adventure, I'm digging the spirit of the thing. Wish I could join in!
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. Jake ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 698 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
Daniel:
Andreas:
Rise, beans and sleep on the floor? Why? Because its cheap?
I thought the buddha said asceticism of any form didnt work ;).

Yup, because it keeps costs low. No ideological reason. If/when we can capture more resources we'll upgrade our situation (private rooms, actual beds, etc).
Oh shnikes! I can see why you  do the pot lucks ;) 
Inspiring project. I'll be in touch.
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chris ., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 52 Join Date: 5/31/12 Recent Posts
Daniel:
Andreas:
Rise, beans and sleep on the floor? Why? Because its cheap?
I thought the buddha said asceticism of any form didnt work ;).

Yup, because it keeps costs low. No ideological reason. If/when we can capture more resources we'll upgrade our situation (private rooms, actual beds, etc).



Do any of you receive social assistance (aka. welfare) payments? If not, why not - is it considered negative from a moral perspective?

I've never really considered doing so, but it has briefly crossed my mind, that a small group of like-minded practitioners could easily pool resources and survive comfortably in a smaller town on the money that social assistance provides. A few years of hardcore practice, and then return to society and work, or whatever is in the cards.
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Daniel, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 17 Join Date: 8/5/14 Recent Posts
chris .:
Daniel:
Andreas:
Rise, beans and sleep on the floor? Why? Because its cheap?
I thought the buddha said asceticism of any form didnt work ;).

Yup, because it keeps costs low. No ideological reason. If/when we can capture more resources we'll upgrade our situation (private rooms, actual beds, etc).



Do any of you receive social assistance (aka. welfare) payments? If not, why not - is it considered negative from a moral perspective?

I've never really considered doing so, but it has briefly crossed my mind, that a small group of like-minded practitioners could easily pool resources and survive comfortably in a smaller town on the money that social assistance provides. A few years of hardcore practice, and then return to society and work, or whatever is in the cards.

We're in the process of investigating this. There are a couple Vermont educational grants that we're seeing if we qualify for. If you or anyone else knows about Vermont educational grants / social assistance and can help us assess our qualifications let me know. 

-Daniel
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Ryan Kenneth Johnson, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 129 Join Date: 2/19/14 Recent Posts
What's your typical schedule like? How often do you meditate on a regular day? And how do you tally time, just formal sitting or is walking included? How often do you guys go on full retreat mode versus general monastic living? Have you gotten Shinzen Young's autograph? Can you get me his autograph? Thanks!

I was planning on applying to the center about a month back now that I've graduated college. I'm still somewhat interested, although I've landed an extremely rare opportunity to work part time and take plenty of time off for retreats every year so I'm effectively someone who lives a lay life with monastic hours, so I've become mixed on still applying. But education is a topic I care about and putting mindfulness in schools is one of the two legs of education that I think could really power things up, along with an as of yet utilized compuer revolution, a la Alan Kay http://www.vpri.org/pdf/m2007007a_revolution.pdf, which is a different topic, but I see as kind of the mindfulness/science synthesis for education analogous to Shinzen's mindfulness/science teaching emphasis. 

Irregardless, good luck!
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Daniel, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 17 Join Date: 8/5/14 Recent Posts
Ryan Kenneth Johnson:
What's your typical schedule like? How often do you meditate on a regular day? And how do you tally time, just formal sitting or is walking included? How often do you guys go on full retreat mode versus general monastic living? Have you gotten Shinzen Young's autograph? Can you get me his autograph? Thanks!
1. Here's a detailed look at our typical schedule.

2. See number one. Usually ends up being between 2 and 5 hours. 

3. Practice periods can include walking, though most of us just sit straight through.

4. We go into full retreat mode once a month for one week.

5. Haven't gotten his autograph, but he come around quite often. Maybe I should get him to sign my Zafu. ;)

6. Mu.
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Simon T., modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 381 Join Date: 9/13/11 Recent Posts
You schedule look to be a nice adaptation of the usual monastary schedule. I find waking up at 5AM more pratical and realistic than the common 4AM of Asian center. Also, moving lunch at 1PM is in my opinion a more sane approach than the typical 11AM lunch. Would you say that live basically like monks except for the robe? Those might seems like unimportant questions, but I'm curious to know what's are you approach to dressing. My personal taste would be to go with a typical lay monastic outfit (unicolor, relaxed, plain and sober) for simplicty and comfort, but dress normally when going out.

The idea of a laypeople monastic setting is interesting. I'm curious to know if you had discussed the idea of implementing a full monastic code from any of the numerous traditions. Considering that you are doing work in the community, like in school, staying as laypeople, or presenting yourself as such, is probably essential to avoid any pushback from the community and avoid being perceived as religious, and avoid all kind of awkardness and limitations outside of the community. Still, I remember a Thai monk that was studying Law in the U.S. that made an interesting point. He considered his robe has his uniform. In a way, it was part of his "marketing" for the Dharma. But him being Thai, it helps with the social understanding. Caucasian wearing the robe in the West could be perceived differently. Kornfield make a good point about that when he tell his story of coming back to the U.S. wearing the robe and wondering if he looks like a freak.

Do you formally take the precepts or at least commit to them informally, inside and outside the center? Let's say, taking part to a dinner during an activity outside the center, or maybe some of you are in a commited relationship? And it being mix environment of laypeople...you know...

I'm trying to frame how developed is the community mindset, as opposed of being bunch roommates, with each of you having his own life outside of the community. I think one of the strength of the monastic code is the spirit of community, which is somewhat enforced by a set of rules and a community leader. In that sense, do you follow a more democratic coop-style of management or is there someone that play as an authority figure, if not in the absolute sense, in an informal sense.

Without some sort of a structure of power (for lack of a better term), I'm skeptical that a lay community can scale to a significant size. It has to remains a small community of people that are also very good friends and each willing to make an effort to maintain the community. It seems that religious monastic community get around that problem using one of two approach. Either most of the chores are taken care of by non-ordained people (sadly, often women who are being refused ordination as it is the case in Thailand), or by being a bit more authoritarian and demanding obedience to the abbot, as in the case of Christian monastics. So that way, even the grumpy monks can still live in the community.
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Daniel, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 17 Join Date: 8/5/14 Recent Posts
Simon T.:
Would you say that live basically like monks except for the robe? Those might seems like unimportant questions, but I'm curious to know what's are you approach to dressing. My personal taste would be to go with a typical lay monastic outfit (unicolor, relaxed, plain and sober) for simplicty and comfort, but dress normally when going out.

The idea of a laypeople monastic setting is interesting. I'm curious to know if you had discussed the idea of implementing a full monastic code from any of the numerous traditions. Considering that you are doing work in the community, like in school, staying as laypeople, or presenting yourself as such, is probably essential to avoid any pushback from the community and avoid being perceived as religious, and avoid all kind of awkardness and limitations outside of the community. Still, I remember a Thai monk that was studying Law in the U.S. that made an interesting point. He considered his robe has his uniform. In a way, it was part of his "marketing" for the Dharma. But him being Thai, it helps with the social understanding. Caucasian wearing the robe in the West could be perceived differently. Kornfield make a good point about that when he tell his story of coming back to the U.S. wearing the robe and wondering if he looks like a freak.
Our dress code is dark, simple clothing with no text on it. No robes, lots of sweatpants (when not working in schools, etc). emoticon

Do you formally take the precepts or at least commit to them informally, inside and outside the center? Let's say, taking part to a dinner during an activity outside the center, or maybe some of you are in a commited relationship? And it being mix environment of laypeople...you know...
We take the 5 precepts and chant them first thing every morning. There is one person here in a relationship outside of the center, but the precept as it's formulated for us is no unskillful use of sexual energy, not celibacy.

I'm trying to frame how developed is the community mindset, as opposed of being bunch roommates, with each of you having his own life outside of the community. I think one of the strength of the monastic code is the spirit of community, which is somewhat enforced by a set of rules and a community leader. In that sense, do you follow a more democratic coop-style of management or is there someone that play as an authority figure, if not in the absolute sense, in an informal sense.

Without some sort of a structure of power (for lack of a better term), I'm skeptical that a lay community can scale to a significant size. It has to remains a small community of people that are also very good friends and each willing to make an effort to maintain the community. It seems that religious monastic community get around that problem using one of two approach. Either most of the chores are taken care of by non-ordained people (sadly, often women who are being refused ordination as it is the case in Thailand), or by being a bit more authoritarian and demanding obedience to the abbot, as in the case of Christian monastics. So that way, even the grumpy monks can still live in the community.
We don't really have lives outside of the community. emoticon

There are rules and a strict schedule. Our teacher, Soryu Forall, has final say over nearly everything, just as an abbot would have in a more traditional monastery. On a spectrum I'd say it's way closer to 'traditional monastary' then 'bunch of roommates living together'.

Hope those answers are helpful! Thanks for your curiousity.

-Daniel
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
They have sent out for some needs today:
If you have a truck or a van and would like to help us on the 26th, 27th or 28th of this month, please let us know and well work it out from there.  

If you have any extra boxes you would like to get rid of. We could use some ASAP. Feel free to drop them off at the center any time. (Let us know when you are coming).

We will be building some bunk beds for the residents and could use some basic tools ( hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches etc ...) and power tools ( cordless power drill, circular saw etc ..) We would be happy to borrow them for the next 2 weeks or if you have any you would like to donate we could make use of them in the future as well.

Other items we are looking for:

A reliable 8, 12, or 15 passenger van.
A large capacity clothes dryer. 
Large slow cooker. 
Large rice cooker. 
Large electric hot water kettle.
Large storage bins or boxes.
Bunk Beds.
A Ping Pong table. 

We also are looking to rent one of our 2 Bed Room apartments at 179 N Prospect for March 1st. You can find the information here: http://burlington.craigslist.org/apa/4892833434.html . Please share if you know someone looking for a place. A potential sublet for March 1st to May 31st is available for a reduced price. 
 
Thank you for your continuing support, we look forward to moving through this next phase together and finding better ways to be of service to the world. 

PS. As we have mentioned our Sunday night practice will still continue in Burlington, same time same place. 
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Daniel, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Opportunity to join a modern monastery

Posts: 17 Join Date: 8/5/14 Recent Posts
Thanks for sharing this Katy! emoticon

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