Introduction to Buddhism
At this stage, you have attended a number of Spirit Rock programs, including half and full day events, over a period of six months or more. You are familiar with meditation and the basic principles of Buddhism. We recommend that you complete the class series Introduction to Insight Meditation or its equivalent led by a Spirit Rock teacher or affiliated sitting group before attending the programs at this level.
Central to this stage is Essential Dharma: Core Buddhist Teachings, a 3-part, multi-week class series offered several times a year. This course provides a comprehensive overview of the Buddha’s teachings.
Other recommended program and class topics include the Four Noble Truths, the Five Hindrances, the Three Characteristics, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, and the Divine Abodes or Brahma Viharas.
During this time you should plan to attend a silent residential retreat. This experience will give you a new understanding of the power of sustained meditation practice. We also recommend that you attend the Essential Dharma Retreats. This is a pair of 5- and 7-night residential retreats which, when taken together, will give a thorough grounding in the central teachings of the Buddha and to the practice of Insight Meditation.
Recommended books at this stage include:
Try to develop a regular sitting practice of at least 20 minutes per session. This will allow you to discover the benefits of mindfulness for yourself and help you to integrate the practice into your daily life.