Tergar Practice Groups are communities of individuals who have decided to gather together to practice the Joy of Living teachings as formulated in the meditation group curriculum created by Tergar International.
What is the relationship between practice groups and Tergar International?
Groups may begin by using Mingyur Rinpoche’s books The Joy of Living and Joyful Wisdom as a basis for gathering to study and practice. Some groups may use the curriculum in isolation, with little or no interaction with Tergar International or the wider Tergar community. Other groups may enter into a close relationship with Tergar International from the beginning, both seeking and receiving support and guidance on administrative and teaching-related matters. In both cases, however, there is no formal relationship between Tergar International and these groups, primarily because they are at an early stage of development and are usually not led by trained Tergar practice leaders, facilitators, or instructors.
Are practice groups open to the public?
Practice groups can take a variety of forms. Some may be small and informal, with no intention of growing into an open, public community. Such groups may consist of a few friends meeting in someone’s living room, or an existing spiritual community that wants to introduce contemplative practice to their roster of activities. These groups may simply be an expression of a shared interest to explore the path of meditation in community, using Mingyur Rinpoche’s books and the Meditation Group Program as a structure to work with. Other groups may be open to the public.
What materials do practice groups have access to?
Practice groups moving towards becoming a community open to the public use an extensive Joy of Living Study and Practice Guide as a basis for their group program, which includes scripts for guided meditations, discussion questions and other forms of guidance for discussion periods, suggested readings for each section of the program, and practice suggestions for both on and off the cushion. These sessions draw from Mingyur Rinpoche’s two books, The Joy of Living and Joyful Wisdom.
Who leads meditation groups?
We recommend having multiple people to guide group sessions. These individuals can either rotate from week to week, or lead sessions together. This ensures that others have a sense of participation and that no one person is dominating the group. This, in turn, allows the group to grow together as a community.
Practice groups that have the intention of growing into an open, public community are supported by Practice Coordinators who facilitate meditation groups, practice sessions, and small group activities. In some cases, Practice Coordinators may serve as a link between their local group and Tergar International.
What are the qualifications for becoming a Tergar Practice Coordinator?
The qualifications for becoming a Tergar Practice Coordinator are:
- Ability to work as a team member
- Interest in developing a group that reflects the vision of the Tergar Meditation Community and which is not limited to one’s personal preferences
- Participation in all three Joy of Living levels, either online or with a local group, and completion of meditation homework for each level OR who have completed Joy of Living 1 and the homework and have had a steady practice for 3 years or more OR who meet the following Path of Liberation requirements
- For those who host Path of Liberation practice sessions:
- Attendance at a Path of Liberation retreat
- Active practice, or completion, of a Path of Liberation practice track OR
- Completion of the full preliminary practices and an active participant in Tergar Meditation Community
For further information about the responsibilities, requirements and training of Tergar Practice Coordinators, read more here.
Are meditation groups listed on the Tergar website?
When a group is meeting regularly and has worked out some basic dynamics, they can request to be listed on the Tergar Practice Group page on tergar.org. To be considered, groups must be mentored by a Tergar instructor and be open to anyone who is interested in meditation, regardless of their religious or cultural orientation. It is expected that groups that are listed on the website are gathering together to use the curriculum material, and that they are not led by one individual but rather a shared process within the group. All groups must be conducted in a safe and harmonious way.
Do groups offer formal meditation training?
A good way to strengthen your group and provide a solid basis of meditation is to offer a Joy of Living Program led by a Tergar instructor. For more information about Joy of Living events, read more here.
How do practice groups become official members of the Tergar Meditation Community?
Public practice groups that stabilize and mature may eventually apply to become an official member of the Tergar community. In such cases, a few individuals who exhibit leadership skills may emerge and take on a more active role in coordinating the group. The process by which a practice group can become a member of the Tergar community is as follows:
- 1. In the beginning, a group will start out using the meditation group curriculum, with different members of the group sharing the role of leading group sessions.
- 2. Eventually certain people in the group begin to mature, exhibiting leadership skills and more active involvement in the community. There are at least two people who are well suited to and enjoy the role of leading the group, and others who share the responsibility of administrative work.
- 3. Those groups that mature, displaying both stability and commitment, can establish a mentoring relationship with a Tergar instructor. This will then form the basis for formal leadership training.
- 4. In consultation with the Tergar instructor that is mentoring the group, a community may eventually apply to be an official Tergar Meditation Group. Generally speaking, it is envisioned that this process would be minimum of a year.
If you would like to inquire further about starting a meditation group, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you live in the US or Canada and email@example.com if you live in any other country. Thanks for your interest!