Dharmacharya Course Requirements and Considerations

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As you contemplate participating in the Dharmacharya Program with Venerables Pannavati and Pannadipa, please consider the following commitments they ask of all their students to provide the greatest benefit from the program.

  • Devote the time: In addition to maintaining a regular practice devoted to personal meditation of up to a consistent 30 minutes per day, you can expect this course to take approximately five to six hours per month of your time and attention in lesson study, contemplation of the study, review of the resource materials and response to each lesson’s assignment.
  • Complete assignments: Maintain the schedule of lessons and assignments, generally one per month with some exceptions. Assignments may be fulfilled using text, audio or video recordings at the student’s choice, however students are asked to be as succinct and brief as possible in responding to each assignment. Please do not regurgitate the lesson! Provide your insights only.
  • Attend residential retreats: Each Dharmacharya student commits to attending one 7-night and one 5-night retreat with Ven. Pannavati and/or Ven. Pannadipa per year.  These may be held at Heartwood Refuge and Retreat Center in Western North Carolina, or be offered by Venerable Pannavati elsewhere. International and West Coast USA students may substitute one 5 night residential retreat hosted by an approved teacher in their region for one held at Heartwood Refuge and Retreat Center.
  • Participate in monthly calls: Venerables Pannavati and Pannadipa, a guest teacher or a program mentor will conduct an interactive conference call each month. This provides students with an opportunity to receive direct, live teaching from the Venerables as well as ask questions of the teachers. The call schedule will be provided ahead of time; please indicate in response which call you will plan to attend each month. The calls will also be recorded and available for later viewing/listening.
  • Provide financial support: Your financial contribution for the two-year program has three components: a fixed program fee +$100 for ordination requisites, dana offerings to the teachers and residential retreat fees.

Please consider the full cost of the program prior to submitting your application. The fixed program/ordination requisite fee is between $2,500 – $3,700 sliding scale based on your income level. We do not require proof of income;  it is your discernment which knows what level is appropriate for your means, taking into consideration the pricelessness of what is being offered in this program. You are encouraged to contribute at the highest level you are able, unless this would cause negative tangible impact on your ability to take care of the financial necessities of life.

Program fees can be paid by automatic bank draft quarterly,  annually or in full. The first installment of the program fee will be due upon acceptance into the program. Current students returning for year two may continue monthly payments or elect another of these periodic options.

Residential retreats: The approximate cost to attend the four retreats required by the program is $2,400. These may be paid at the time they occur.

Offering dana:  You will have opportunities to offer dana to the teachers at the residential retreats and ordination ceremony. International or West Coast students may substitute one five-night residential retreat at Heartwood for one hosted by an approved teacher in your region.

Requirements and Qualification

While no previous coursework is required by the Venerables, the following qualifications do apply for applicants to be included in the Dharmacharya Program:

  • A minimum of five years in prior Buddhist practice to date
  • A desire to develop a well-rounded spiritual practice rooted in the full counsel of the Dharma
  • Commitment to completing the assignments, attending all required retreats, and doing the self-work required

A note from the Coordinator:
Each student accepted to the program will be asked to complete a Statement of Commitment. This will provide both Program and Student with documentation of how they intend to respond to each of these requirements. As Program Coordinator, I will maintain records of these statements confidentially and provide both the student and the Venerables an update from time to time on each student’s progress in achieving their commitments.  (Since life can intervene with the best of intentions, instructions for how to amend and update the Statement of Commitment as needed will be provided.)

Confidentiality: All communications regarding personal history, finances and assignments will be available to the program’s teachers and program coordinator only. After graduation, they will be destroyed.