On-land Programs and COVID Safety Protocols. Learn More


Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP7)

April 2022 – May 2024
with Tempel Smith, Bonnie Duran, Kaira Jewel Lingo, Gullu Singh and John Martin


Thank you for your interest. 
The application period for this training is now closed.


Program Dates: April 2022 – May 2024

With the following in person retreats held at Spirit Rock Meditation Center:

  • Retreat 1:    April 30, 2022 to May 6, 2022
  • Retreat 2:    November 11, 2022 to November 17, 2022
  • Retreat 3:    April 15, 2023 to April 21, 2023
  • Retreat 4:    November 11, 2023 to November 17, 2023
  • Retreat 5:    April 28, 2024 to May 4, 2024


  • A minimum of 50 nights residential retreat practice in the Insight Meditation (Vipassana) tradition
  • A minimum of 5 years daily dharma practice
  • A letter of recommendation from a sponsoring teacher (someone who currently teaches at the Insight Meditation Society, Spirit Rock, Gaia House or is a recognized vipassana teacher), knows you and your meditation practice, and is supportive of your application to DPP
  • For those who identify as white, completion of a White Awake multi-week program, either through Spirit Rock or through other respected organizations
  • Personal and interpersonal maturity regardless of age, including:
    • Maturity displaying emotional and relational intelligence, including the capacity to work with personal suffering
    • Interpersonal maturity, to navigate relational difficulties with peers and teachers
    • Interest and capacity to interact with people who will have different histories, stories and views than your own and a willingness to engage and discover with others

Meet the Teachers:

We asked the DPP7 teachers for reflections on their own Dharma path. Click below to learn more about our wise and deeply practiced teaching team.



The Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP) is an innovative program for committed practitioners of Insight meditation to study the earliest Buddhist teachings of the Theravadin tradition over a two-year period which includes five 6-night in person retreats for study, practice and connecting in Sangha.  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 sangha 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.

Please note: DPP is not a teacher training program. Spirit Rock does periodically offer programs such as the Community Dharma Leaders Program, which trains participants in leading community dharma communities, the Dharma & Yoga Training Program for aspiring yoga teachers, and the Mindful Leadership Program geared toward leadership in social and environmental justice.


  • Attendance at all five 6-night retreats
  • Completion of monthly readings, practices and reflections with personal engagement with the eight-fold path in the six months between retreats.
  • Attending a monthly teacher-led group meeting. Traditionally DPP groups have formed in San Francisco, Marin County, the SF East Bay, Redwood City, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver, BC and have met in person and now groups may be offered by zoom.  The groups are asked to support the teachers with dana.
  • Monthly meetings with dharma “buddies” in the program
  • Maintain regular contact with mentoring teacher focusing on formal practice, DPP homework, and personal dharma development and integration. Mentoring meetings may be offered monthly or every other month, in person or by zoom at the teacher's discretion, and will be offered held on a dana basis. We encourage you to reach out to teachers (including your sponsoring teacher) to see if they might be willing to mentor you in DPP. If needed we will support you in finding one.
  • Interest and commitment to increase individual awareness of structural oppression internalized oppression and privilege (class, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.)
  • The practice of dana (generosity) to support program teachers, group leaders and mentoring teachers
  • Meeting all financial obligations outlined in this application relating to program fees
  • Access to email and the internet, either through your own computer, through a DPP buddy, or through a family member or friend who would be willing to pass along all the messages related to DPP.


With the spread of mindfulness outside of traditional Theravadin countries, often taught by teachers with little direct contact to the Pali teachings, every generation must take time to find the roots of their understanding in the recorded words of the Buddha and his earliest community. If we study alone, we often feel a limited understanding of these ancient texts, yet together they can come more alive. Also, many past students of DPP have forged life-long friendships from within the program.

During free time around non-silent meals on the retreats, and any time in the months between retreats, students are encouraged to organize self-led student groups on topics of shared interests. This is to further extend the Dharma presented formally by the program teachers and to raise topics not covered in the formal DPP curriculum.

All who meet the prerequisites are welcome to apply. Spirit Rock and the organizers of DPP7 are deeply committed to creating a community of practitioners from diverse backgrounds and cultures – a mix of races, genders, ethnicities, classes, sexual orientations, ages, and abilities – to support each other’s Dharma practice.


The retreats include periods of silent meditation combined with teachings offered in seminar or workshop-style, interactive, participatory and creative with periods each day for discussion, interaction and social connection. To practice developing a strong sense of community, instructions will be offered on mindful speaking and listening to support us working skillfully with issues that commonly arise in community.

Example Retreat Schedule

Example DPP7 Retreat Schedule

PLANNED RETREAT TOPICS (Subject to revision)

Schedule of Retreats

1st Retreat: Four Noble Truths, April 30 - May 6, 2022
Topics: Opening Program, Creating Sangha, Four Noble Truths, Eight-Fold Path, Ethical Living, 10 Paramis, and Socially Engaged Buddhism

2nd Retreat: Samatha Meditations, November 11 - 17, 2022
Topics: The Wisdom of Self Regulation, Mindfulness of Breathing, Divine Abodes, Four Right Efforts, Wise Concentration /Samadhi, Jhana Factors, Chanting

3rd Retreat: Four Foundations of Mindfulness, April 15 - 21, 2023
Topics: Body, Vedana (Pleasure & Pain), Citta (Heart/Mind), Mental Patterns, Impermanence, Suffering, and Non-Self, Intra- and Interpersonal Awareness.

4th Retreat: Paṭiccasamuppāda/Dependent Co-Arising, November 11 - 17, 2023
Topics: 5 Aggregates, Conditionality, Past and Future, Karma, Interdependence, Buddhist Cosmology, Abhidhamma

5th Retreat: Full Liberation, April 28 - May 4, 2024
Topics: 3rd Noble Truth, Nibbana, Cessation of Suffering, Progress of Insight, Stages of Awakening, Seven Factors of Awakening


June 1 – September 1, 2021 – Applications accepted between these dates. Incomplete applications cannot be processed.
September 1, 2021 – Deadline to submit application. All applications sent after this date will be put in a waitlist reserve to only be reviewed if space opens up in the program.
October 1 - 15, 2021 – Notification of your status will be sent between these dates via email.
November 1, 2021 – Commitment and payment deadline; 25% deposit required at time of acceptance. $100 non-refundable fee for all applicants, if cancel prior to Jan 1, 2022.

A few things to consider and gather before getting started:

  • This is an online application only. You will receive a copy of your submitted application upon its completion.
  • Allow yourself at least 30 minutes to complete this entire application.
  • Gather details on your previous retreat experience; you will have to list your retreat time; Example format: date (month/year), location of retreat (what center), teacher(s), style of retreat (metta or vipassana, etc.), # of nights.
  • Digital photo of yourself (headshot/"selfie"); take or choose a digital photo of yourself to be attached at the end of the application.
  • Get prior approval from your sponsoring teacher before listing them on the application. You will be asked to submit a letter of recommendation from the sponsoring teacher.
  • The form is compatible with mobile, tablet and computer devices.


Participation in DPP requires a financial commitment. Payment plans are available for all levels of the sliding scale. Scholarship support is available to help with payment of fees but it will be limited.

Upon acceptance into DPP and to secure your spot, ALL participants will be asked to pay a minimum deposit of 25% (based on the rate you select). Should you need to cancel prior to Jan 1, 2022, all of the deposit is refunded except for $100 non-refundable fee.

You may pay the entire program fee in full or set up an installment plan for the remainder of the balance (after the initial 25% deposit). The payment plan will start Jan 15, 2022; and debit over 12 monthly installments during the first year of the program. Installments can only be set up on credit cards. We no longer set up installments on checking accounts.

Sliding Scale:
Supporter - $16,900 (guaranteed single room)
Benefactor - $13,700
Sustainer - $10,700
Base - $7,700
Scholarship Sliding Scale:
Scholarship Rate 1 - $5,700
Scholarship Rate 2 - $3,700

Tuition includes:

  • Accommodations and meals at all five residential retreats
  • All handouts and program materials
  • Access to social media and online community building groups

Tuition does NOT include:

  • Teacher support (dana)
  • Transportation costs to/from your home to Spirit Rock
  • Dana for mentor teacher support and monthly group teacher support



Participating in DPP7 will require your commitment of both time and financial resources. If you need to withdraw from the program, the following fee structure will apply.

$100 non-refundable, flat fee for all applicants on or before Jan 1, 2022 (deducted from a 25% minimum deposit)
10% fee* = Jan 2 - Feb 28, 2022
15% fee* = Mar 1 - Apr 28, 2022
25% fee* = Apr 29 - Nov 9, 2022
45% fee* = Nov 10, 2022 - Apr 13, 2023
65% fee* = Apr 14 - Nov 9, 2023
85% fee* = Nov 10, 2023 - Apr 26, 2024
No refunds = On or after April 27, 2024
*Fee deducted from refund; fee is a percentage of the total amount agreed to pay.


Tempel Smith teaches Mindfulness, Insight and Metta meditation with an emphasis on Buddhist psychology and mind-body awareness. He spent a year as a monk in Burma with Sayadaw U Pandita and Pa Auk Sayadaw. Tempel serves on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council, organizes the Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP) and Living Dharma retreats for Spirit Rock and teaches classes in the East Bay.

Bonnie Duran met the Dharma in 1982 when she sat a month at Kopan Monastery in Nepal and learned Vipassana in Bodh Gaya India. Since then, she has taken teachings from many western teachers including Joseph Goldstein, and Jack Kornfield, as well as Thai, Burmese, and Tibetan Monastic teachers.. Bonnie is a graduate of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS)/Spirit Rock Meditation Center (SRMC) retreat teacher-training program. She is now a core-teacher of the IMS Teacher Training Program, the SRMC Dedicated Practitioners Program and is on the SRMC Guiding Teachers Council. Bonnie teaches long and short retreats at IMS, Spirit Rock and in other communities, and is also involved in Native American spiritual practices and traditions. Bonnie was introduced to the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist tradition through her partner and is now happily studying and practicing in that tradition as well. 

She is a contributor to Hilda Gutiérrez Baldoquin book, Dharma, Color and Culture: New Voices in Western Buddhism and has written for the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Tricycle, and the Turning Wheel. Dr. Duran is a Professor in the Schools of Social Work and Public Health at the University of Washington and is also faculty at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute. Her academic work is primarily with Tribal, Urban Indian and International Indigenous communities. 

Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher and lived as an ordained nun for 15 years in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing, and is now based in New York. She provides individual spiritual mentoring and leads retreats internationally, offering mindfulness programs for educators, parents and youth in schools, in addition to activists, people of color, artists and families. She mentors with the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program, was lead teacher for Mindful Schools’ year long training for educators, teaches teens and adults with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, and is a guiding teacher for One Earth Sangha. She edited Thich Nhat Hanh’s Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children and has been published in numerous other books and magazines. She explores the interweaving of art, play, ecology and embodied mindfulness practice and is an InterPlay leader. Read her recent article, In Times of Crisis Call Upon the Strength of Peace, published in Lion’s Roar magazine. Visit Kaira Jewel’s website.

Gullu Singh teaches the Dharma and secular mindfulness, is a corporate real estate attorney and a dedicated Dharma practitioner with a particular interest in integrating the insights and cultivation from retreat practice into daily life and work. While he was taught meditation as a child, he found his own practice in 1993 in Transcendental Meditation, which he used to navigate the intense work stress of being an attorney. In 2006, at his first retreat at Spirit Rock, Gullu found his spiritual home in Vipassana and Theravada Buddhism. Since then, he has cumulatively done over 200 days of meditation retreat including the Spirit Rock one and two month sits. 

Gullu completed InsightLA's one-year Mindfulness Facilitator Training Group in 2013, Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioner Program in 2016, and the 3 training modules required to teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). He regularly teaches both secular and Buddhist classes and groups at InsightLA, has taught mindfulness at the University of Southern California and has been a guest lecturer on mindfulness at UCLA Law School. For 6 years, he has led an intimate weekly sitting group and watching new meditators find their own fruits of practice is one of the most rewarding things he has done. 

Gullu is deeply inspired to share meditation in the legal and corporate community as an antidote to stress, a way to cope more effectively with the challenges of work and life and to inject more sanity, compassion and wisdom into this world. He also aspires to lead residential and commuter retreats locally to offer deeper practice to his community. As part of the Spirit Rock Teacher Training Class of 2020, he looks forward to his continued growth in the Dharma and working more with a Sangha who see the Dharma as a path for personal and collective liberation.

John Martin has been devoted to dharma practice since 2001. His practice includes both long retreat practice and engaged practice in the world. In his teachings, he emphasizes the aliveness of practice in everyday life, as well as the cultivation of the beautiful heart qualities (brahmaviharas). John teaches Vipassana, Metta and LGBTQI-themed meditation retreats. John's spiritual path has also included volunteer service work, including over 12 years as a hospice volunteer. He completed the SRMC/IMS/IRC 4-year teacher training in 2016 and now serves on the Spirit Rock Teachers Council. 

John leads a Monday night sitting group in San Francisco. For more information, please visit John's website.


One of the things I've appreciated most about my practice on silent meditation retreats is the chance to just drop my habitual patterns of relating to people. Upon re-emerging into the world of social contact after a silent retreat, I have usually noticed subtle shifts in how I relate to people: over time, some of my habitual patterns have gotten weaker. With the interactive practices offered in the DPP, the shifts have been dramatic. Mindful interactive practices were for me a radical experience of authenticity in communication. Having experienced that level of authenticity and sharing in a safe environment, I find myself more willing to be authentic in daily life interactions. For me, the DPP has been as much about exploring community as about exploring the Dharma. The experience of trust and intimacy with such a large group of people has been extremely powerful. — Rachel

One of the greatest benefits of the DPP program was the "Dharma Buddy" element.  For years I sat silent retreats with total strangers who now, thanks to DPP, are my closest friends. It doesn't matter who you choose to be your dharma buddy; each of us is a teacher and a student in our own unique way. I started out buddying up with an acquaintance who was in the program, and then a total stranger asked to be my buddy, so we became three. And then, during the course of the two years, I deeply connected with several other people who I adopted (or perhaps they adopted me) as dharma buddies. I speak on the phone or email those is distant cities, and we visit each other. Those who are local have formed a Kalyana Mitta (Dharma Friends) group that meets monthly. By the end of the program I had more than a half dozen close dharma buddies with whom I will undoubtedly continue sharing the dharma for years to come. — David

As a parent, the DPP gave me the focus and permission to deeply commit to my practice for two years. While I was uncertain initially about the impact on my family, the depth of practice has deeply served us and I have come much closer to the parent I always wanted to be! — Maureen

Participating in DPP has been one of the best experiences of my life. After two years of guided practice and study of the dharma, I feel confident and happy to go on with my life with a sense of meaning and connectedness. This is the greatest gift from life one can get. — Alicia


We are accepting applications to join our waitlist. Your application will be considered after the initial round of acceptances.

Email Sign-Up