Zen Compassion Plus Teacher Training
Learn to teach a four-week course that introduces, shares and guides students through the shimuryo zammai – the four boundless meditations of loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.
This is why we’ve called the course Zen Compassion Plus – because most compassion courses only include one practice (loving kindness or metta). Here we have a broader spread of offerings. The four week course you’ll learn can be presented as a foundation for new students, or as an adjunct for more experienced practitioners. Over our time together, we’ll explore the sources of these practices, how they are taught, how to help students effectively apply them, and how to help with problems that may arise.
This course will offer a powerful and resonant extra tool in your kit to help your students flourish on the inner journeys. These practices are powerful, pleasurable and time-tested with hundreds of years of practical application behind them. We’ve already established they work tremendously well in the modern world. Not only will they benefit your students, We are sure you will find then four meditations powerfully transformative in your own life and practice.
Prerequisites: The course is suitable for teachers or trainee teachers of meditation and mindfulness, Zen and otherwise. You would need to be qualified or in the process of qualifying in a meditation and mindfulness teacher training (not necessarily with Zenways). For example, you might have attended the Zenways MMTT module 1-1 (but not necessarily submitted the coursework).
The four boundless meditations
Yes, meditation and mindfulness can help us to deal with our issues and penetrate right to the source of our suffering to find a truer basis for living. But a huge number of people find this work difficult because of the weight of negative thoughts feelings and experiences they are carrying. To counter this, the tradition shows there is a deep value in establishing a positive basis within our being. The Japanese Zen master Torei (1721-1792) drew out a suite of four profound and simple meditation practices called shimuryo zammai – four boundless meditations – which create an all-encompassing rebalancing of the negative tilt within the human system. It is certainly possible to go a long way without these practices, but when you create this positive inner foundation the path of progress becomes smoother and more rapid.
The four boundless meditations are loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. These practices counter unkindness, jealousy, callousness, hatred, agitation and other states which if unchecked can be extraordinarily harmful to body and mind as well as poisoning our relationships with ourselves, others and the world.
Zen master Torei took this ancient system of practice, taught it extensively to his students and wrote voluminous and detailed commentaries on the work. Yet his efforts remain little known in the western world. In this course you will learn about Torei’s teachings and how you can offer them in an accessible and powerful way to your students.
The above image is of the bodhisattva of compassion, Kannon, and was brushed by the late Shinzan Roshi.
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