Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Dharma Fellowship offer detailed personalized Yoga and Meditation Instruction and where can I get such training?
At any of our Centers, either the San Francisco headquarters or in New York City Center, where instruction is given by the venerable Lama Karma Tinley. In New York you can study under the direction of the very venerable Lama Bardok Chusang Rinpoche. Or attend one of our retreats in Canada, at the Hermitage on Denman Island, where you can learn from a number of different teachers, including the head of the fellowship, Kunzang Palden Rinpoche (“Lama Rodney”).
Is it possible to become a certified instructor of Yoga and Meditation as a result of sufficient study and practice?
Yes, anyone who studies (and does the practice) long enough and hard enough, can attain the necessary qualifications to legitimately teach Yoga and Meditation to others. Particularly for this reason we have been engaged in launching a separate online presence, which is intended as an entirely secular school of instruction in Natural Mind practice. Through this school and its highly detailed training over a three-year period, qualified graduates may be deemed eligible to receive certification according to our tradition. For further information, please go to Online Meditation School.
I would like to do a quiet Meditation Retreat – Do you have a place where I could go into private retreat for some time?
Yes, the Hermitage is a 60 acre country property in western Canada, on Denman Island, with a number of simple retreat huts and other facilities, suitable for sincere meditation practitioners who would like to perform isolated meditation retreats. These huts are available in the winter. However, conditions are quite rustic and the Hermitage is still in early stages of its development. If you would prefer a group event with daily instruction, you are welcome to attend one of our public Summer Retreats as well.
Do you offer comprehensive written instruction on Yoga and Meditation, something I could study which would tell me exactly how to engage in practice?
The Hermitage Meditation Manual is the official workbook for all lay students and monastics of the Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa. It covers literally everything that you really need to know to properly learn how to meditate from a Buddhist perspective. There is also a chapter on Hatha-Yoga. We strongly recommend that you get yourself a copy.
In what way is Meditation helpful for me and what benefits can I expect from practicing it?
This is covered in depth in the Meditation Manual. You will find some of the latest information gleaned by Neuroscience showing how Meditation has helped others and what it can do for you. You will learn that Meditation affects the brain in a profound manner, resulting in clearer thinking, more sensitive feeling, and more effective action. In discussions of the Light-body, the Manual will give you an overview of the human nervous system as it mainly pertains to meditation. There is also a significant section on the therapeutic benefits of Meditation.
Do you have any information about the social, ecological and long range ‘global’ effects of Meditation?
You will find that this too is covered in the Meditation Manual, especially in the last chapter, which is concerned with making the world a better place for all living beings. We acknowledge the unprecedented state of the Earth at the present time, due to coming climate change and man-made toxic pollution of the natural biosphere. The manual offers solutions and constructive ideas. As part of defining new directions for the future, the Hermitage Meditation Manual suggests forming sustainable communities and places of safety set apart for meditation in the midst of Nature, as well as exploring and exhibiting ways of life that are in natural harmony with the planet as a whole. The Dharma Fellowship’s Hermitage in Canada is intended as an embryonic example of such a community, but the goal extends far beyond merely what the Dharma Fellowship is able to accomplish. Making a better world requires the dedication of a diverse number of people and organizations.
What other individuals and groups are exploring ways of making a better world for the future, especially based on living in harmony with Nature?
There are all over the globe individuals and groups who are fashioning communities or transition societies intended to avoid polluting the planet, where a better, cleaner life may be had – promoting behavior that sustains the ecological wellbeing of the planetary biosphere, and operates in harmony with noospheric (the ‘mental layer’ of the planet) principles. For example, the world-wide Crest13 organization originally initiated by Don Jose Arguelles consists of people dedicated to creating natural, eco-sustainable societies. As with us, Natural Mind Meditation forms the foundation of the Crest13 program. Another beneficial group where you can learn Yoga and Meditation consists of the Sivananda organization, which has an Ashram in the Bahamas that is particularly wonderful.
What would you call the main message or aim of the Dharma Fellowship in general?
To take to heart what Mahatma Gandhi said, and to really practice the same, particularly through learning and practicing Yoga and Meditation. What Gandhi said was simply this: “You must become the change you wish to see in the world!” This is what we truly believe in.