Vipassana Fellowship's Dispersed Meditation Community
A monthly practice and support scheme for ongoing meditators
Many previous participants of our online meditation courses have asked about the possibility of ongoing support, continued access to our courses and additional material from the same tradition to help keep their daily meditation practice fresh. Our Parisa Scheme is designed to address these needs. If you have taken at least one of our online courses you are eligible to join us. The scheme is flexible: you can subscribe for as long or as short a period as you wish. The scheme is intended to be mutually beneficial: members gain access to a support network they might otherwise lack and the subscription scheme helps Vipassana Fellowship to continue to develop its Dhamma work.
Our main 10 week Meditation Course is currently offered 3 times per year and is regularly updated in response to feedback. By joining the Parisa Scheme you will always have access to the latest online version and be able to correspond with participants around the world via our Online Course Campus. An excellent opportunity to review your daily practice.
We have a different theme for each month. The pack is available for use from a special area of our website towards the beginning of each month but can also be used as a resource for the Full Moon uposatha day, if you wish. This material varies in content, from month to month, but over a year we will explore meditation themes from the course in new ways, introduce different approaches to practice and study and look at aspects of the Theravada tradition which provide inspiration and guidance. The material will be designed for people who have made a commitment to practice and are regularly meditating.
Occasionally there is a special format called Parisa Parallels. A parallel, of course, consists of two lines running in the same direction, with similarities, but which do not intersect. The parallels that we explore here are those between aspects of our largely Western cultural background and the expression of the Dhamma that arose in what became the Theravada countries of Asia. We will look at questions of belief, attitudes, practical spirituality and the impact of culture. We will look at how religion functions, in our daily practice and as a developmental tool, rather than at its institutions. What can we make use of in our own culture to complement what we read about in the Pali Canon? Are there sometimes forms from our own heritage that sit more easily with us and are functionally identical or very similar to those found in South Asia? Each Parisa Parallel will be anchored in teachings from the Theravada tradition; how those teachings are expressed may vary depending on the topic.
Andrew Quernmore can be contacted via our Online Course Campus or by e-mail when a course is running (currently about 9 months of each year). As your practice develops new questions will arise. Corresponding with Andrew may help you to decide on strategies to deal with difficulties and he may offer suggestions for changes to your established sittings as needed. The support offered is similar to that in our standard courses: dialogues can be on any Dhamma related topic and can be a simple question and answer or an extended correspondence if necessary.
Your subscription helps Vipassana Fellowship to continue to produce meditation course material, support the practice of meditators around the world and develop new Dhamma initiatives.
Subscriptions are based on US $ 9.50 per month
This includes access to at least 3 x 10 week courses and 12 Parisa packs, per year, and the ability to send support questions to Andrew whenever courses are in session.
We aim to keep the membership scheme as flexible as possible. We hope you will find the scheme beneficial and will continue to subscribe, but you can choose to end your subscription at any time (and can re-subscribe again at a later date if you wish). The current subscription rate may be varied from time to time but there will always be at least 14 days notice of any change.
Buddhist character analysis can help us determine which meditation technique may best suit our needs. We take a look at Arahant Upatissa's advice.
In This Body
We explore a different approach to meditation on the body. There is a new half-hour guided meditation file to accompany this topic.
Exploring our own culture and religious background as a Dhamma practice.
Four Elements Practice
We look at Earth, Air, Fire, and Water and the way that awareness of these Four Elements can be of benefit to our spiritual development.
Recollection of the Buddha is a traditional meditation practice that can bring about the necessary arising of saddha (faith or confidence) to sustain our practice and lead to the final goal. We explore how we can incorporate this form of meditation into our regular sittings.
Ethical behaviour is the foundation on which our spiritual development is built. The Buddha gave clear guidance to lay people, two and a half thousand years ago, on how best to build supportive communities and to create the harmony and mental tranquillity that will aid meditation. How relevant do these teachings seem today? Can those that seem out of tune with our times be adapted to help us? What challenges do the Buddha's teachings pose to our own opinions and patterns of behaviour?
This month's focus is Mindfulness of Breathing. We've already worked with one form of anapanasati in the original course that aimed to bring single-pointedness and tranquillity. Can we now extend this process to help bring insight?
We look at Uposatha or Poya days. How can we best use these concentrated periods of practice that are traditionally held each Full Moon?
The Parisa pack is normally available at the beginning of each month. The 10 week course sessions to which Parisa subscribers also have access take place 3 times each year, normally in January, April/May and September. You can join, leave or rejoin the Parisa programme, as convenient, throughout the year. Just give us a few days' notice.
If you are ready to join the Parisa membership scheme, please click here to complete our form on the course.org site.
Already a Parisa member? You can access the members' site here.
A Remedy for Despair by Bhikkhu Bodhi