About the Program
The One Year Residential Training Program is open to anyone who wishes to live mindfully, simply, learn and establish a dharma practice, and to embody the lessons taught by the Buddha. Participants will have the opportunity to serve the community while learning to respond appropriately with their whole being to whatever life brings in each moment. Participants will receive support and guidance from within our multi-fold community, which is composed of our Venerable Teacher’s Pannavati and Pannadipa, monastics, its long term residential community and laypersons. The program is centered around your personal commitment to discover new levels of understanding and meaning in your life where community needs may take precedence over individual needs. You will learn how to utilize the spiritual tools which will help you to end your own suffering, as well as to relieve the suffering of others. You will be continually encouraged to investigate your own heart, mind, and intentions, while serving the Sangha and local community. This community is not just a nice place to live with a supportive group of like-minded people, it is a place where you will be called to explore the great matter of your own existence.
Heartwood is a place where participants, with the guidance of the Dharma, will accept responsibility for their individual progress, and will understand the need to develop mutual trust in our shared lives. Balancing compassion and wisdom, we grow in patience and learn to cherish ourselves and others.
Embracing Simplicity Contemplative Order is unique in that it is a multi-lineage American Buddhist Contemplative Order which provides residential training for monastics, those considering monasticism, and laypersons. Another unique aspect to the Embracing Simplicity One Year Residency Program is that, unlike other similar programs, beginners and those who are still working to establish their practice are welcome to participate in the residential program.
Our program is not reserved only for those with extensive training already. It is a training opportunity for anyone who wishes to undertake such a commitment. It is the vision of the Contemplative Order that the Residential Training Program will follow. We respect all the spiritual masters of Theravada, Vipassana, Mahayana, Zen and Vajrayana and offer refuge for contemplatives, serious practitioners, and those who are new to the dharma. Our co-founding Abbott, Venerable Pannavati’s, exposure to multiple religions has led her to believe that the world of faith would benefit from a deeper, meaningful, spiritual dialogue, as opposed to attachment to the variations within communities of faith which keep them divided. It is the mission of Embracing Simplicity Order to preserve and transmit the full legacy of the Buddhadharma through community and to embody the triple gem of our practice with complexity and brilliance.
In choosing to enter into this intensive training you are making a special commitment to discover new levels of understanding and meaning in your life. The essence of Dharma practice is to respond appropriately with your whole being to whatever life brings you in each moment. Life is unpredictable. Residency at Heartwood reflects this unpredictability. It gives you the opportunity to meet life’s challenges by adapting to the varying schedules and expectations; retreatants are constantly arriving and departing, spontaneous meetings are held, and the needs of the center are always changing. Since our schedule is intentionally and already demanding, it is important to use all the tools we have acquired through our practice in responding smoothly and fully to these situations to mature our spiritual practice. In life we never know what is coming next, either from others or ourselves, but we can do our best to be open, balanced and tranquil in whatever circumstances arise.
As your practice deepens you may bear witness to the first noble truth (we all encounter obstacles) as it manifests in community life. The arising of internal and interpersonal dissatisfactions and conflicts is a normal part of life. How we work with them is the difference between a practice center and an ordinary job. Being willing to hold the tension between the practices of inner observation and letting go and sharing one’s doubts and views is important. Developing tolerance for our internal experience and for others’ different ways of being is a cornerstone of practice. All residents are asked to commit to using kind curiosity and active self-inquiry when problems and conflicts arise.