A New Dharma Training Course for Mitras

When the mitra community changed in 2002 and it became simpler to become a mitra, many people thought it would be appropriate to revise the mitra course. This revision could take into account the level of experience of those becoming mitras as well as addressing weaknesses in the original course and general changes in the FWBO. So over the last few years, there have been various attempts to review what we offer to mitras in terms of study and training. Now, the outline for a new Dharma Training Course for mitras has been agreed by the men and women mitra convenors in the UK and the Public Preceptors and with the backing of the European Chairmen’s Assembly.

A New Title for the Course

The original course for mitras was simply called the ‘Mitra Study Course’. In order to reflect a broader intention for the new course, it will be called the ‘FWBO Dharma Training Course for Mitras’. Whilst there is still a strong emphasis on Dharma study in the new course, it also has modules on meditation and some of the new modules will also take a more meditative or reflective approach. I hope this will give a broader training in the Dharma for those taking it.

General Points about the Course

  1. It is a four year course rather than the three years (or three years and one term) of the original course. As people often become mitras at an earlier stage of involvement with the FWBO, an extra year has been added to cover basic Dharma material. Some Centres are offering this Foundation Year to people before they become mitras. Obviously, some people may take more than four years to complete the course, depending on the frequency of their meetings and other factors.
  2. After the Foundation Year, which has no optional elements, Years Two to Four all have a degree of choice in the range of modules that can be taken. There are seven modules for each year, of which a minimum of four have to be taken to complete the course. If people want to take more than four modules, they are very welcome to. It may also be the case that some Centres will offer material for some modules over a weekend rather than in the usual weekly meetings e.g. the meditation modules could be covered in this way.

Provision of Course Materials

Whilst Vadanya has already developed material for the Foundation Year (a revised version of which is now available), material for the rest of the course is being developed by a range of people through the course of 2008. This will become available as and when it is ready and I hope that the whole course will be available by spring 2009. In the meantime, group leaders may have to pick and choose between the material as it becomes available.

As the student material is developed, it will be made available – from June 2008 – at the following web address – www.fwbomitracourse.com. Teacher’s material and resources will be made available on a password-access part of the site.

A Guide to the Course will be published at some point, most likely in early 2009, and this will be made available for Centres to distribute to mitras.

Saccanama August 2008

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