Monastic Academy

thumbnail
Michael Fogleman, modified 5 Years ago.

Monastic Academy

Posts: 19 Join Date: 9/15/13 Recent Posts
I've been training at the Center for Mindful Learning for over a year, and it has been transformative for my practice and my life. I have a very stale practice log here on the DhO - I couldn't possibly keep the log up to date with all of the shifts that have happened in my practice. Practicing every day, and interacting every day with a teacher, one-on-one, all while living in a supportive community has that effect. We practice what we call "Awakening and Responsiblity" - integrating a rigorous mindfulness and meditation practice with responsible action in the world, so that they are mutually supportive. You may have heard our teacher, Soryu Forall, talk about this on Buddhist Geeks last year.

We've just re-launched the website for our residential program, which is now called the "Monastic Academy". If you're interested in deepening your practice, or in being of service to the world, please check it out, and send it along to anyone who might be interested. I'm also happy to take questions in this thread if you have them.
thumbnail
tom moylan, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Monastic Academy

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Hi Michael,
I checked out the site and to be honest I am sceptical.  The information is scant on details of costs (if any), teachings / curricula, types of expected service etc.

It being in California pushes my 'cult' and 'manipulation' buttons too.

That the only choice is to "Apply", comes across as a Rand Corporation 'illusion of choice' tactic.

Tell me I'm wrong and paranoid and please give us some details about what is going on there.

I'll check out the Geeks Podcast now.

Thanks

Tom
thumbnail
Michael Fogleman, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Monastic Academy

Posts: 19 Join Date: 9/15/13 Recent Posts
Hi Tom,

Thanks for taking a look and sharing your response. I can see why you might feel skeptical, and it's really useful feedback! You're not paranoid- we are an intentional community based around meditation and spiritual teachings, so that does always risk looking like a cult. But we are a real organization, with a qualified teacher, a team of respected advisors (including Shinzen Young, creator of Basic Mindfulness, and Chade-Meng Tan, of "Search Inside Yourself" fame), and an established track record of doing deep practice and real service to the world. 

Soryu Forall, our teacher, has done extensive in several traditions, including Rinzai Zen (under Shodo Harada Roshi) and Ambedkar Buddhism. He started CML in 2008, and our residential program in 2013, which is currently based in Vermont. Take a look at our old website, which will continue to exist as the kind of parent website to the Monastic Academy website - the address is centerformindfullearning.org. CML has had several successful programs - a weekly meditation event and regular one-day retreats serving our Vermont community (you can watch some of these online here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCXKkfupAajVC-7cD08hkjw); a software program teaching mindfulness to children in schools (Modern Mindfulness, modmind.org); Mindful City, a partnership with the city of Winooski, VT, to bring mindfulness to the government, schools, and businesses in that city; and, most recently, Work/Flow, our co-working program which welcomes guests to our Center for a month, during which time they can do a retreat with us and work on their own career or projects (http://www.centerformindfullearning.org/cowork). 

We'll be launching a second location in California next year, and need to recruit new residents for that. The Monastic Academy website is our attempt to inform and recruit these residents. We hope it will spark interest in people who want to do deep mindfulness practice and also be of benefit to the world, through modalities like entrepreneurship and social activism. That's why the "Apply" choice is so prominently displayed. emoticon

Just to answer your particular questions, the program has a $6,000 one-time fee, although we offer substantial financial aid to applicants, so that it is unlikely that anyone would pay the full cost. That is, again, a one-time fee, so you can stay as long as you like, not pay any more, and receive a modest monthly stipend. 

We use Shinzen Young's Basic Mindfulness system as a common framework and language of practice, although everyone can and does do dramatically different practices. For myself, my practice has been heavily influenced by Upasaka Culadasa's system; another practitioner here uses a lot of Reggie Ray's materials. Soryu will work with each of us with different techniques and emphases. 

Expected service is everything from the standard monastic fare - sweeping, mopping, cooking, weeding - to more involved, project-based learning. Several people here are responsible for running ModMind, our schools program. Others are managing our recruitment efforts, that I mentioned above; some people help manage the finances of the organization. I've worn a lot of hats here, including being an assistant to Soryu as well as doing work on the business development process that lead to our co-working program, but I currently do a lot of logistical work: planning our retreats, managing guests, etc. We all jump in to help as we are able and as it makes sense.

Let me know if you have any other questions!
Chuck Kasmire, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Monastic Academy

Posts: 559 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
tom moylan:

It being in California pushes my 'cult' and 'manipulation' buttons too.


We love our cults out here and if these folks do turn out to be a genuine cult they would certainly be more than welcome. We see them as sort of our pets. But it looks to me like this place is in Vermont (the other california). Also, on the FAQ page it says they want $6,000 for initial training.
thumbnail
Michael Fogleman, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Monastic Academy

Posts: 19 Join Date: 9/15/13 Recent Posts
Hi Chuck, our current location is in Vermont - we'll be opening a second location in California next year. The initial training fee is $6,000 on paper, but we offer significant need-based scholarships.
thumbnail
Michael Fogleman, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: Monastic Academy

Posts: 19 Join Date: 9/15/13 Recent Posts
Also, if any one who is interested and considering residency at CML, we're hosting two open houses to visit and get a taste of life here. The first open house is Thursday 6/23 - Monday 6/27, and the second is Thursday 6/30 - Sunday 7/3.

Breadcrumb