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Monday Night Introductory Courses

Buddha's Footprints at Chithurst MOnastery

On Monday nights we offer a slate of rotating introductory courses aimed at those new to meditation, Buddhism and the Theravada Thai Forest tradition. These six-week courses are also excellent refreshers for those with an established or burgeoning practice. They are open to the public, and donations are gratefully accepted. The courses are generally repeated in the spring, summer and fall, but new courses may be introduced. Please check back or connect with us to get the latest information.

Introduction to Meditation, taught by Sakula

This course is a meditation primer in the Theravada Thai Forest tradition. Students will practice meditating with the breath and the body, developing wholesome mind states like loving kindness and compassion, working with thoughts and emotions, and dealing with obstacles to peaceful meditation. We will explore ways in which practice in daily life and sitting on the cushion are complementary, practicing and reflecting on different topics each week. We start each course with very short guided meditations and over six weeks, work up to a 45 minute sit. Meditation outside the class is strongly encouraged. Recommended readings and talks will be provided, as well as resources for establishing a practice with a local meditation community. No preregistration is necessary, but the course will close to the public after the second class. Jessica Swanson is teaching.
This class is currently in session, please check back for summer dates, or contact us.

The Buddha’s Basic Teachings, taught by Matthew Grad 

This six-part class series offers a solid introduction to the Buddha’s core teachings, which date back 2,600 years. Those teachings are very practical and down to earth, yet surprisingly radical. As a general framework, we’ll use the Buddha’s “four noble truths,” which contain all his other essential teachings as well. This is not just a lecture series but an opportunity to investigate these remarkable teachings together. is teaching.

Introduction to Upasika Training, taught by Sakula

This six week program is designed to provide an avenue of support for people new to our community and/or to the practice of living by the Five Precepts, while introducing them to our lineage. Those interested in rejuvenating your current Upasika training are also welcome to join.

The initial intentions of this introductory program are to:

introduce the concept and experience  of living by the Five Precepts as a training practice

provide a community of support for this exploration

provide a level of familiarity with the cultural etiquette of living as an Upasika within the Ajahn Chah lineage

Beginning with the first Precept we will add a Precept every week building up to week five when we’ll practice with all five for the ensuing week. On the final week of this course participants will have the option to undertake a traditional ceremony of Requesting the Five Precepts and living as an Upasika. In support of gaining (at least) a semblance of benefit from taking on the Upasika training, those requesting the Precepts will be encouraged and supported to live by all five for a period of three months during which time an option for spiritual guidance will be made available via monthly interviews and/or workshops.

As well, as part of the Upasika Sangha* you will be automatically invited to join in periodic group trips to local and/or distant affiliated monasteries and hermitages where you will have the option to: request the Five Precepts from the monastics, participate  in a meal offerings and/or join in a community work and festival days.

*Naturally one does not have to be an Upasika to visit the monasteries, this is merely a form of community support for those who are making similar and oftentimes quite challenging commitments to our Buddhist training.