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Dharma Training Programs

Spirit Rock’s Dharma Training Programs offer in-depth study of the teachings and practices of the Buddha and the Insight Meditation lineage. Trainings 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 one of our Dharma Training Programs. Some of these programs have prerequisites, while others are open to all practitioners. Please reach out to us at trainings@spiritrock.org with any questions, and we can help you find which training is right for you.

Deepening Dharma Practice

These trainings offer grounding in the teachings and practices of the Buddha as preserved in the Theravāda tradition.

Living Dharma Program (LDP)

Length: 8 months
Dates: Sep 2023 - May 2024
Location: Online
Prerequisites: yes, suggested

This introductory program is for meditators and Buddhist practitioners wishing to engage wholeheartedly in a deep exploration of their Dharma practice through the study of the Noble Eightfold Path. In this practical, experiential, and meditative program, we explore how to live and respond to life with awareness, wisdom, and compassion.

Dedicated Practitioners (DPP)

Length: 2 years
Dates: April 2022 - May 2024
Location: On-land
Prerequisites: yes

The Dedicated Practitioners Program is an innovative program for committed practitioners of Insight Meditation to study the teachings of the Theravāda tradition over a two-year period, including five in-person retreats for study, practice, and connecting in Saṅgha. Our intention is to create a diverse and vibrant community of dedicated practitioners who support one another in waking up and in bringing wisdom and compassion into the world.

Liberation through Emptiness and Awareness Practices (LEAP) 

Length: 1 year
Dates: May 2023 - May 2024
Location: On-land
Prerequisites: yes

LEAP (formerly Advanced Practitioners Program) is intended for senior students of the Dhamma who want to explore the liberation teachings of the Buddha through practice, study, inquiry, and interactive exercises. It is a year-long program consisting of three retreats and is intended for those who have completed programs like Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioners Program (DPP), Community Dharma Leader Program (CDL), Heavenly Messengers (HM), or an equivalent. 

Teaching the Dharma

The teaching of meditation and Dharma is considered a spiritual discipline in itself. Held as an act of generosity and compassion at every level, Dharma teaching allows the teacher to share what has benefited their life, and by doing so, to deepen their own understanding and inspire a life of mindfulness and lovingkindness. 

Community Dharma Leaders (CDL)

Length: 2 years
Dates: Applications available early 2024 (via nomination)
Location: Hybrid - Online and on-land
Prerequisites: yes

CDL develops the next generation of Dharma leaders with the capacity, resilience, and skillful means to carry the Dharma forward. Grounded in Theravāda Buddhist tradition, graduates of CDL embody, articulate, share, and cultivate the Dharma within diverse, multi-generational, multiethnic, and multicultural communities, so that it is accessible for all who seek refuge.

Retreat Teacher Training (RTT)

Length: 4 - 6 years
Dates: TBD
Location: On-land
Prerequisites: yes

Retreat Teacher Training is an intimate 4-6 year process that includes extensive study of traditional texts and contemporary Theravāda teachings, a wide range of teaching skills and practices, mentoring and apprenticeship with senior teachers, as well as further training with meditation masters from a variety of lineages. Students cannot apply for this level of training. Instead, retreat teachers from Spirit Rock and associated communities recommend students they believe have the profound depth of meditation practice, wisdom, experience, compassion, maturity and teaching temperament to join the next training group. 

Specific Topics & Professional Development

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. Continuing Education Credits (CECs) are available for some of these training programs.

Year to Live (YTL)

Length: 1 year
Dates: Jan - Dec 2024
Location: Online
Prerequisites: no

This year-long program, based on the book A Year to Live by Stephen Levine, is designed for people of all ages, regardless of life stage. In community, we will focus on waking up and living life more fully through the exploration of death as spiritual practice. 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, with the support of community, through a process of living this year as if it were our last. All are warmly welcome!

Mindful Leadership Training (MLT)

Length: 5 months
Dates: Feb - Jun 2024
Location: Online
Prerequisites: no

This certificate training program is open to and designed for leaders in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. It will cultivate mindful and compassionate leadership skills, with a mindset of service for leaders. 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. By developing and incorporating these intentional practices, we will strengthen professional relationships and workplace environments, expanding impact beyond our own learning for the broader benefit of our work and organization(s).

Buddhist Psychology Training (BPT)

Length: 4 months
Dates: Jan - May 2024
Location: Online
Prerequisites: yes

This four-month training designed for clinicians, counselors, mindfulness teachers, and others providing mental health support provides an immersion in Buddhist psychology and the meditation practices that illuminate our minds, foster goodness, and transform habits that compound suffering. The training examines the convergences and tensions between clinical research and Buddhist psychology and describes ways to integrate mindfulness into treatment. We consider possible contraindications of mindfulness and how to tailor interventions to individuals.

Dharma Yoga Mindfulness Training (DYMT)

Length: 1 year
Dates: May 2024 - June 2025
Location: On-land + hybrid (2 residential retreats, 1 non-residential hybrid retreat)
Prerequisite: yes, suggested

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.

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