Nov 11-19, 2015
This course is to introduce anapanasati, the meditation on breath, as the tool for entering into the practice of the four foundations of mindfulness, being the foundation of all Buddhist practices. We shall explore the intimate link between the process of breathing and the working of emotions and mind which decides the content of our worldly experience. The main emphasis is placed on the practice of mindfulness of the body and on the firmness of bodily posture.
Retreat will commence from 11th Nov evening and conclude on 19th Nov morning.
Venerable Dhammadipa Thero is a buddhist monk originally from the Czech Republic. Now 60 years old, Venerable Dhammadipa (lay name Thomas Peter Gutman) was born in Czechoslovakia in 1949. He studied Chinese Literature and Philosophy at Prague University, graduating in 1969, and then studied Russian literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he received a degree in 1973. In the late seventies Venerable began his Buddhist studies in Berlin, where he had immigrated as a refugee after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1977 he received a master's degree in Chinese literature and philosophy at the University of Paris. In 1979, he enrolled at Nalanda University in India (where he also taught French and German) to study Sanskrit and Buddhist Philosophy. After receiving a degree at Nalanda in 1984, he returned to serve as the Associate Librarian at Berlin University.
In 1986, Venerable Dhammadipa went to Japan and studied under Zen Master Harada Serrei Roshi of the S t school (Caodong in Chinese) practice. He was given a Dharma name as Xing-Kong (meaning Nature of Emptiness).
In 1987, with the encouragement of Venerable Athurugiriye Nyanavimala Mahathera, Venerable Wijayasoma Mahathera, and Venerable Dikwelle Mahinda, he ordained as a monk in Meetirigala and was given a Dharma name as Dhammadipa (island of Buddhism or Dharma). He received the full Theravada Bhiksu ordination in Sri Lanka where he practiced meditation under the guidance of his preceptor, Venerable Nanarama Mahathera. In 1989, he received the Three Fold ordination as a Mahayana Monk in Hsi Lai Temple, Los Angeles and began Dharma teaching in US, Germany and Taiwan.
In 1996, Venerable went to Myanmar to practice meditation with the contemporary master Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, and was recognized by the Sayadaw to be first of the Sayadaw's Western disciples qualified to teach meditation. He has since been teaching Samatha (tranquil mental states) and Vipassana (direct seeing of the Dharma) meditation at monasteries and universities worldwide.
Venerable Dhammadipa speaks Czech, French, German, English, Russian, and fluent Chinese. He reads and translates Buddhist texts from Pali and Sanskrit. His translated works in French and Czeck include Treatise on the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (Mahayanasraddhotpada-sastra), Entry into the Bodhisattva Path (Bodhicaryavatara) and a Collection of Han-San's Poems. His teachings in Taiwan have been compiled and printed in Chinese.
Over the years Venerable has presented dharma teachings and led meditation retreats around Europe, North America, Taiwan and mainland China, India and Southeast Asia. Personally he has a gentle and easy going manner. His teaching follows the framework of the classic Theravada Buddhist commentary The Path of Purity (Pali: Visuddhimagga): one starts with training in the precepts (virtue) which lays the foundation for training in concentration and then the development of wisdom. Venerable teaches that knowledge of the Buddhist way should be applied in practice and verified first hand through direct experience. One should make a great vow to tread the way and realize the dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Teaching assistant is Dhammarama. Her bio is as below:
Sister Dhammarama has studied and taught in Taiwan and in the US. For many years, she has practiced yoga, taichi, and chigong along with Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Currently, she is teaching at the Anglo American University in Prague, Czech Republic. She has given workshops on chigong, massage, and cooking as remedies, especially for yogi and yoginis for pursuing higher spiritual practice.