Trainings & Intensives

Spirit Rock’s Dharma Trainings and Intensives offer in-depth study of the teachings and practices of the Buddha and the Insight Meditation lineage. Part of the new Dharma Institute, these programs range from four months to four years, and focus on a wide range of topics, such as the core teachings of Buddhism, professional development and continuing education in the healing arts and leadership, death and dying, Buddhist psychology, and teaching the Dharma.

After you’ve attended many Spirit Rock programs as well as a number of retreats, and the teachings of the Buddha have become integral to your daily life, you may feel ready to deepen your understanding and practice by participating in a training or intensive. Some of these programs have prerequisites, while others are open to all practitioners. All of them build saṅgha as you join a cohort of 50-100+ other dedicated practitioners to explore and deepen on the path.

Dharma Institute programs are centered around a core sequence of Buddhist Study and Practice programs: the Living Dharma Program (LDP), the Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP), and Liberation, Emptiness, and Awareness Practices (LEAP). To these foundational programs, trainings in Leadership & Professional Development, and Practice in the World expand the scope of your practice off the cushion and into every aspect of your life.

They are designed to speak to the variety of methods, interests, and areas of focus needed and pursued by different practitioners. Please reach out to us at [email protected] with any questions, and we can help you find which training is right for you. A listing of currently open trainings is at the bottom of this page.

If you are enrolled in a training, click here to go to the Online Learning Platform.

Buddhist Study & Practice

Immerse yourself in Dharma practice & insight.

Our cornerstone Buddhist Study and Practice trainings support passionate beginners and lifelong practitioners to bring the power of the Buddha’s teachings into daily life and retreat practice. Rooted in the Early Buddhist tradition and our Insight Meditation lineage, these trainings and study classes will transform your practice and understanding of the Dharma.

Living Dharma Program (LDP)

Length: 8 Months, generally September - April
Location: online
Prerequisites: Suggested
Teachers: Dawn Mauricio, Mark Coleman

This program is to be held entirely online and is designed for meditators and Buddhist practitioners wishing to engage wholeheartedly in a deep exploration and practice of Dharma through the study and teaching of the Buddha’s “Noble Eightfold Path.” Using the classic Buddhist teachings of sīla, samādhi, and pañña (ethics, meditation, and wisdom), we will look at how we cultivate mindfulness, kindness, and balance given the inner stresses of modern life, and the outer challenges of social inequity and the pressure of climate change.

This will be a practical, experiential, and meditative program exploring the Buddha’s teachings on the eight limbs of the Dharma path: Wise Understanding, Wise Motivation, Wise Action, Wise Livelihood, Wise Communication, Wise Effort, Wise Mindfulness, and Wise Concentration. Through the support of these teachings, we will inquire how to live and respond to life with awareness, wisdom, and compassion.

In this journey, we will create a vibrant learning community to study, meditate, and inquire into these key areas of Buddhist teaching and how to make these teachings practical and relevant in our current social milieu. Our meditation practice and what is happening around us politically, socially, and globally are not separate. As we explore the Eightfold Path teachings, we will apply what was taught 2600 years ago to what we live and experience in our contemporary lives.

Program Includes:
-
Monthly large group sessions, online (recorded)
- Monthly small group breakout sessions (during large group sessions)
- One small group meeting with a teacher (during large group sessions)
- Q&A sessions
- Affinity small groups (optional)
- Study group sessions (optional, self-facilitated)
- Daily and monthly home practices, reflections, and readings

Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP)

Length: 2 years, including 5 retreats
Location: on-land & online
Prerequisites: Yes
Teachers: Various

The Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP) is an innovative program for committed practitioners of Insight Meditation to study the earliest Buddhist teachings of the Theravādin tradition over a two-year period, which includes five 7-day in person retreats for study, practice and connecting in Saṅgha. Participants will commit to maintaining a formal daily meditation practice, monthly coursework, group meetings and regular contact with a mentoring teacher. The program supports a deepening understanding of the Dharma, a strengthening of practice and an integration of compassion and wisdom into our daily lives.

We use the Dharma, our meditation practice and our Saṅgha to explore the ways suffering and freedom are created in our own hearts as well as exploring the gross and subtle manifestations of social suffering, and its impact on personal and collective well-being. Our intention is to create a diverse and vibrant community of dedicated practitioners who support one another in waking up and in bringing more wise compassion into the world.

Program Includes:
- Five 7-day retreats
- Monthly readings, practices, & reflections
- Monthly teacher-led group meeting
- Monthly meetings with Dharma “buddies” in the program

Deep Dive Dharma: Liberation and the Sure Heart's Release (DDD)

Length: 9 months
Location: online
Prerequisites: Suggested
Teachers: Pamela Weiss & Erin Treat

Deep Dive Dharma is an online program for experienced practitioners on essential Buddhist teachings of liberation. Through meditation and interactive inquiry, we will explore the Three Characteristics, Emptiness, Suchness, Dependent Origination, the Two Truths, Nature of Mind, Awareness, and Awakening. The heart of the program is bringing these complex teachings alive in our daily lives through embodied relational inquiry. One of the unique features of this program is the exploration of both Theravāda and Mahāyāna teachings.

The program will begin and end with half-day bookend sessions. A new topic will be introduced on the first Wednesday of each month in our large group meeting. A second monthly optional session will include interactive inquiry and time for discussion. Comprehensive readings, reflections, and practices will be offered each month to support the integration of the topics into daily life. Our aim is to build a strong relational field and establish a robust Saṅgha together.

The program is intended for experienced practitioners familiar with fundamental Buddhist teachings such as the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the Foundations of Mindfulness. It is not intended for those new to practice.

Program Includes
:
- Teachings: Monthly large group sessions
- Practice: Monthly interactive inquiry sessions
- Saṅgha connection: Monthly self-organized sessions with small group saṅgha
- Affinity groups (optional)
- Home practices: Readings, journaling, reflections

Liberation through Emptiness and Awareness Practices (LEAP)

Length: 1 year, including 3 retreats
Location: on-land & online
Prerequisites: Yes
Teachers: Various

The purpose of LEAP is to bring the liberating teachings of the Buddha to life both on retreat and in our daily practice. The retreats will be held primarily in silence to allow for a deepening of practice, but there will be regular sessions of interactive exercises and study. The curriculum is structured to gradually deepen our embodied understanding of emptiness, awareness, and liberation as practitioners in ways that are responsive to the diverse and at times challenging conditions of contemporary life.

The program is founded on the understanding that liberating the heart leads to deepening compassion. Compassionate response to the pains of the world is the expression of the liberated heart. While we will, at times, address how the Dharma may support us in deconstructing oppressive social structures, this is not a training in how to apply Dharma teachings and principles to the rectification of social injustices. Instead, the topic of compassionate action will be included in some monthly group and homework discussions as we explore how deep practice affects and informs our response to suffering in the world.

The retreats will focus more on silent, intensive practice than DPP or CDL, emphasizing the potential of deep retreat to open into new insight and understanding. During the retreats, we will also organize other aspects of the program, such as a Dhamma buddy system, monthly study groups, and mentoring with teachers. There will also be the parallel intention throughout the program to develop a community that can continue after the program ends.

Program Includes:
- Five 7-day retreats, with group and 1:1 practice meetings
- Mentoring teacher meetings
- Affinity groups
- Regional/small groups
- Dharma buddies/pods
- Written assignments/reflections

Leadership & Professional Development

Earn Continuing Education Credits while you practice

Mindfulness and lovingkindness support well-being in every aspect of our lives, including work, relationships, community, and the broader culture. Spirit Rock offers training in specific professional and personal topics, all centered around how the Dharma can inform, deepen, and apply to other fields of inquiry and engagement in the world. These courses build on a foundation of self-care and meditation to bring the skills and wisdom of the Dharma to our lives at work. Continuing Education Credits (CECs) for care professionals, Yoga teachers, and others are available for some of these training programs.

Mindful Leadership Program (MLT)

Length: 4 months
Location: online
Prerequisites: None
Teachers: Nikki Mirghafori, PhD & Marc Lesser, MBA

This certificate training program is open to and designed for leaders and aspiring leaders in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. We will cultivate mindful and compassionate leadership skills and practices to embody our care for ourselves and others, with a mindset of service to community and the world.

A core pedagogical approach of this program is participating in and co-learning with a supportive community of like-minded peers both in the large group and small group monthly meetings. Through lectures, group discussion, guided meditations, readings, reflections, experiential exercises, and personal meditation practice, we will cultivate skills and behaviors that can be applied directly to our personal and professional lives. Developing and incorporating these intentional practices, we will strengthen professional relationships and workplace environments, expanding our impact beyond our own learning for the broader benefit of our work and organization(s).

Some included themes are:
- Mindful, compassionate, values-aligned leadership
- Cultivating well-being: self-care, rest, and resilience
- Self-awareness and self-management: emotional intelligence and working with difficult emotions
- Transforming professional and personal relationships through embodied, skillful communication
- Coaching and mentoring: compassionate accountability
- Courageous conversations
- Empowering and inspiring people and teams
- Fostering and co-creating belonging
- Training in three realms: personal, relational, and organizational

Program Includes:
- Monthly large group meetings
- Regional/small groups
- Q&A sessions
- Written assignments/reflections

Buddhist Psychology Training (BPT)

Length: 4 months
Location: online
Prerequisites: Suggested
Teacher: Matthew Brensilver, PhD

Deepen your understanding of meditation and nourish your work with clients in this four-month training designed for clinicians, counselors, mindfulness teachers, and others providing mental health support. Join a community of peers for an in-depth exploration of mindfulness, Dharma, and science that will support both your personal practice and your work with others.

This program is designed with mental health professionals in mind, but is open to anyone with a sincere interest in the integration of Buddhism and psychological science.

Through meditation, Dharma talks, discussions, small group explorations, and clinical case studies, you will develop greater confidence in applying mindfulness-based interventions with clients while enhancing your understanding of Buddhist psychology and meditation practices that illuminate our minds, foster goodness, and transform habits that compound suffering. This training is ideal for those who wish to explore their own minds and hearts as a springboard for best serving their clients, rather than those who are primarily seeking coaching on the implementation of mindfulness-based treatment manuals.

As counselors, we know that only when we’ve truly made ourselves a patient can we become a healer. Through our practice, we become the patient and come to understand, affirm, and ultimately, transform ourselves. This transformation then ripples outwards to our clients and community. This training brings both sides of ourselves—patient and healer—together as we practice and learn in community.

In the course of our time together, we’ll dive into the scientific research on mindfulness and its increasing prominence in psychotherapeutic interventions, exploring data regarding the efficacy of mindfulness and the mechanisms through which mindfulness confers its benefits. We will also examine the convergences and tensions between clinical research and Buddhist psychology and consider ways to integrate mindfulness into treatment. We’ll explore possible contraindications of mindfulness and how to tailor the intervention to individuals. Please join us.

Program Includes:
- Monthly large group meetings
- Affinity groups
- Q&A sessions
- Written assignments/reflections

Dharma Yoga Mindfulness Training (DYMT)

Length: 1 year, including 3 retreats
Location: on-land & online
Prerequisites: Yes
Teachers: Anne Cushman, MA, Leslie Booker, Djuna Devereaux, Rolf Gates

This yearlong Dharma and Yoga certificate program integrates Buddhist wisdom teachings and meditation practice with āsana, prāṇāyāma, and somatic movement. In the teaching of Yoga and embodied meditation, Dharma and Yoga are interwoven as one path to awakening. The training includes silent retreat, community connection, and structured support for deepening your personal practice. Our approach is centered on accessible and trauma-informed practices that nourish belonging and provide systematic grounding in the essential practices of these two great traditions.

This program offers 175 CEUs for Yoga teachers through Yoga Alliance. Note: The program does not certify Yoga teachers to lead Insight Meditation courses, daylongs, or retreats, which require further training.

Participants will:
- Gain skills and understanding in the foundational teachings and practices of Dharma and Insight Meditation
- Advance personal practice and teaching skills in Yoga āsana
- Learn practice and teaching methods that support a loving connection to embodiment, honoring of boundaries, and a sense of belonging
- Refine techniques to support all bodies in āsana
- Gain understanding of how trauma impacts embodied experience

Program Includes:
- 3 retreats (2 on-land, 1 online)
- Optional affinity groups
- Small groups
- Written assignments/reflections
- Q&A sessions in between retreats (every other month)

Community Dharma Leaders (CDL)

Length: 2 years, including 5 retreats
Location: on-land & online
Prerequisites: Yes
Teachers: Various

We live in a complex, demanding and divisive world. As an antidote to personal, socio-political and environmental suffering, Buddhist teachings can provide a wise, loving, generous ground from which we can respond to the profound challenges of our time—climate change, immigration, animal rights, growing economic disparity, and entrenched systems of racism, misogyny, and oppression.

The Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leaders program (CDL) develops the next generation of Dharma leaders with the capacity, resilience, and needed skills to carry the Dharma forward. This training cultivates the inner resources to skillfully address these and other issues. Grounded in ancient Buddhist wisdom, graduates of CDL will learn to embody, articulate, share, and cultivate the Dharma within diverse, multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and multicultural communities so that it is accessible for all who seek refuge.

The foundation of the training is rooted in the Early Buddhist Theravāda tradition, and the program is designed to encourage innovative ways to live a life of Dharma and to integrate and offer these timeless teachings in and for our contemporary world.

CDL provides training for future Dharma leaders who reside both nationally and internationally. Our aim is to support the Dharma in becoming fully accessible. This includes the participation of young adults, communities of color, a more inclusive class structure, and other underrepresented communities.

This is a Spirit Rock, Theravāda-based training program to develop community leaders. Priority will be given to those supporting leadership within Theravāda and Insight Meditation communities.

Program Includes:
- Five retreats (4 on-land, 1 online)
- Mentoring teacher meetings
- Affinity groups
- Regional/small groups
- Written assignments/reflections

Practice in the World

Engage with every part of your life and our world

Cultivating a balanced and grounded heart and mind is supportive of insight, a healthy life, and engagement with community and culture. In these programs, we cultivate emotional regulation and deepen in embodiment and joy throughout our lives, building the resilience needed to meet our challenging times. In an era of climate crisis and intersecting oppressions around race, gender, class, and religion, the Dharma offers a middle way toward a more peaceful and sustainable future. Weaving together individual and collective approaches to healing and liberation, our practice truly becomes “for the benefit of all beings.”

A Year to Live (YTL)

Length: 1 year
Location: online
Prerequisites: None
Teachers: Vinny Ferraro, Frank Ostaseski, Pam Dunn

This year-long program, based on the book A Year to Live by Stephen Levine, is designed for people of all ages and life stages. In community, we will focus on waking up and living life more fully through the exploration of death as spiritual practice.

In our largely death-denying modern culture, few are encouraged to actively contemplate the inevitability of our death, or the idea that it could happen at any time. The Buddha recommended that we do just that, not to frighten us, but rather to use death as an object of contemplation to help us awaken to the fragile, fleeting, and precious nature of our lives.

Ultimately, this is a year-long practice in forgiveness, gratitude, and letting go. Through guided meditations, inquiry, and small group discussions, we will be guided through a process of living this year as if it were our last. All are warmly welcome!

Program Includes:
- Monthly large group sessions
- Monthly home group sessions
- Affinity groups
- Q&A sessions
- Written assignments/reflections

Upcoming Trainings & Intensives

Training Online

September 28 - April 12, 2025 Times variable - see details.

Deep Dive Dharma: Liberation and the Sure Heart's Release

Deep Dive Dharma is an online program for experienced practitioners on essential Buddhist teachings of liberation. Through meditation and interactive inquiry we will explore the Three Characteristics, Emptiness, Suchness, Dependent Origination, the Two Truths, Nature of Mind, Awareness, and Awakening. The heart of the program is bringing these complex teachings alive in our daily lives through embodied relational inquiry. One of the unique features of this program is the exploration of both Theravāda and Mahāyāna teachings. This is intended for experienced practitioners already familiar with fundamental Buddhist teachings.

Pamela Weiss

Pamela Weiss

Erin Treat

Erin Treat

Learn to your heart's content

Stream our curated collection of guided meditations and Dharma talks, read articles by our diverse teachers, take self-paced courses, and more.