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Buddhadharma : Spring 2015
50 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2015 People come with very high expectations. We say to them, yes, you’re going to have side effects, your blood pressure might go down, but what you’re really going to learn is how to have a different relationship with your suffering. —Melissa Myozen Blacker mindfulness retreat centers, we need people who have at least some intensive Buddhist retreat train- ing. It’s important to have a grounding in the four noble truths in order to have some understand- ing of how suffering arises and how it can end. It’s so clearly laid out in the Buddhist tradition; at InsightLA, when we teach mindfulness, we put the essential teachings into secular terms. DIANA WINSTON: The most important requirement is that teachers must have an experiential, lived understanding of practice. A requirement for my mindfulness facilitator training program at UCLA (Mindfulness Awareness Research Center) is that participants have to have sat retreats, because of how valuable we know them to be. It’s important to have both a daily practice and some retreat prac- tice, as well as training in how to facilitate groups and apply the teachings with others. Developing a peer-based learning community is also a significant aspect of the training. Our program also involves a lot of practical teacher training, such as how to embody what you’re teaching, how to teach from a place of pres- ence as opposed to teaching from your head, as well as teachings on ethics and the language and science of mindfulness. Over a hundred people have now gone through this program, many of whom are not Buddhists. By now, there are people who have grown up in the mindfulness world and have never identified as being Buddhist at all. BARRy BOyCE: This is a vital topic. If, for example, in Congressman Tim Ryan’s efforts to bring mind- fulness into schools and hospitals, someone can present evidence that mindfulness is nothing other than Buddhism, then his programs are going to get kicked out of those institutions. All of the PHOTO | mark mahaney Police officers in Hillsboro, Oregon, participate in a mindfulness meditation class