Who are these groups for?
Meditation groups provide a space and structure for the entire Tergar community to come together to share the practice of meditation. Group sessions may be attended by anyone who is interested in meditation, regardless of their religious beliefs or cultural background. Interested individuals and new community members may attend meditation group sessions to get a feel for the Tergar approach to meditation and to learn more about the Tergar community, while those who have attended Joy of Living workshops and retreats may attend sessions to deepen their practice through discussion and group meditation. Participants in other Tergar programs, such as the Path of Liberation and Buddhist Studies seminars, are also encouraged to attend meditation groups to maintain their connection with the wider Tergar community and to stay rooted in the fundamental meditation practices taught by Mingyur Rinpoche.
What do meditation groups do?
Meditation groups feature three main activities: guided meditation, discussion, and short presentations on the key points of meditation practice. The meditation group program covers a broad range of topics and practices, but focuses specifically on the practice of mindful awareness. Other practices are also addressed, including basic goodness, the essential elements of meditation practice, and loving–kindness and compassion.
The meditation group program is structured around seven main topics:
- Meditating on open awareness and the breath
- Meditating on basic goodness
- Meditating with the senses
- Essential elements of meditation practice
- Meditating with thoughts
- Meditating with emotions
- Meditating on loving–kindness and compassion
Meditation groups work with each topic over an extended period of time, which allows for a thorough grounding in the main principles and practices presented in the Joy of Living.
Every topic contains at least three sections. Each section, in turn, is covered in three meditation group formats. These sessions approach the content of each section in a slightly different manner. These three are:
- Opening sessions
- Deepening sessions
- Practice sessions
What are opening sessions?
In opening sessions, new topics and meditations are introduced, discussed, and practiced. Each opening session begins and ends with a twenty–minute guided meditation. In between these meditations, group leaders facilitate small– and large–group discussions using questions provided in the program section materials.
What are deepening sessions?
Deepening sessions focus on integrating the principles and practices presented in the previous opening session with daily life and on refining one’s experience in meditation. Sessions start and end with a twenty–minute meditation period. The middle period of each session features short experiential exercises, video teachings by Mingyur Rinpoche, and/or practices designed to link meditation with daily life. These sessions also feature short periods of small- and large-group discussion.
What are practice sessions?
Practice sessions provide an opportunity to focus on the meditation practices presented in each section of the meditation group program. Each session alternates between periods of sitting and walking meditation, with three twenty–minute periods of sitting meditation and two ten–minute periods of walking meditation. Practice sessions usually do not include group discussion.
Are group sessions stand–alone events or part of an ongoing program?
Both. Participants in meditation groups will derive the most benefit by attending on an ongoing basis. Each section of the program builds and expands upon the previous section, allowing participants to deepen their knowledge and experience and explore different forms of meditation practice. Every session, however, is designed to be a stand–alone event. New and returning participants are free to drop in any time. For beginners, however, the ideal place to enter a group is at the beginning of a new topic in the program.
How much do meditation group sessions cost?
In most cases, meditation groups are held on a donation basis, though some groups may need to charge a nominal fee to meet expenses, such as rent. Though there is typically no charge to attend individual meditation group sessions, practicing generosity by supporting the community is an integral part of the path of awakening. There is no need to make a contribution when you first attend, but if you benefit from Tergar’s programs and decide to make meditation part of your life, we encourage you to make regular donations or to set up monthly contributions to Tergar International. This will help ensure the long–term sustainability of our community.
If you have more questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have. You can also check the Joy of Living FAQ for general information on the Joy of Living program.