Rangjung  Prison Dharma Meditation Facilitator

Training Program

Meditation Facilitator Training Program with the Rangjung Prison Dharma Project is a program through which meditators, specifically those who wish to offer support to the incarcerated and/or officer communities at Rikers Island Correctional Facility, learn to develop their own skills, voice and confidence within the role of meditation facilitator​s​ . Time will be spent developing ones’ own voice through gaining literacy skills around one’s own practice of meditation, how the practice works for us personally, and how we communicate these experiences to others.

Participants will touch on basic aspects of developing a practice of attunement and aware presence, and will begin to learn and develop skills around:

  • Deep listening.

  • The importance/power of cultivating spiritual presence.

  • Using voice modulation.

  • Developing familiarity with difficult emotions in ourselves as a way of learning how to hold the space for the difficult emotions of others.

  • Practicing non-judgment.

  • Developing familiarity with a variety of meditation techniques and learning to modulate them based upon the expressed cues of those we may be serving.

  • Developing one’s own voice within the role as meditation facilitator.

  • Exploring one’s own relationship to power and ethics as well as sifting through our personal experiences of class/gender/racism/colonialism and other biases.

The training is open to everyone of all contemplative traditions. We will work to provide a container of safety and respect as we journey together sifting through our own personal experiences in and around meditation, as well as learning to understand how we can help others highlight sources of strength and meaning within their own experiences. It is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to unpack their own contemplative practice to engage more directly from within the heart of our own spirituality, rather than the formalities of our intellect.

Much of the approach that we follow is inspired by aspects of the Chöd tradition developed by the 11th century great female Tibetan Buddhist master, Machig Labdron. This tradition looks at the places where we get stuck in our practice- it asks us to explore the obstacles to own awakening, and in the process explore a variety of mother-related modalities that we can bring to our practice and our experience of the world around us. In the parlance of the modern era, and idiom that we may experience at Rikers, we will look at how identity can get in the way of being with others, especially those who appear different from ourselves, how fear and anxiety often pull us out of relationship and how we might learn to demystify our contemplative practice so that it can be seen as a tool beneficial to the reduction of others’ suffering.

The training consists of 9 weekly sessions meeting on Thursday evenings from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm. There are readings,weekly one-on-one meetings with the instructor, exercises, council process and participants are asked to keep a contemplative journal for the duration of the training. See the attached application 0n our webpage for fees as well as information regarding financial assistance.

While the training does not make one a recognized meditation teacher, it does allow participants who reasonably engage in the training eligible to join us in our work bringing meditation to the various populations that we serve at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. All participants who would like to volunteer at Rikers are welcome to submit a volunteer application through the Rangjung Prison Dharma Project with the Department of Corrections.

Program Dates:

10 Thursdays​ :

September: 9/22, 9/29
October: 10/6, 10/13, 10/20, 10/27
November: 11/3, 11/10, 11/17

Readings:

Willams, angel Kyodo. Owens, Rod. Syedullah, Jasmine. ​ Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation​ . North Atlantic Books. 2016.

 

Trungpa, Chogyam. ​ Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving Kindness​ . Shambhala. 2003.

 

Norbu, Thinley. ​ Magic Dance: The Display of the Self-Nature of the Five Wisdom Dakinis​ . Shambhala. 2012.

 

About the Instructor​ :

Justin von Bujdoss is the founder and resident teacher at New York Tsurphu Goshir Dharma Center an affiliate of Palchen Chosling Monastic Institute, Sikkim, India. He is also the director of the Rangjung Prison Dharma Project which has been serving both the incarcerated and officer populations at Rikers Island Correctional facility. Justin is currently working as a full-time hospice Chaplain and is transitioning into his new role as Staff Chaplain at the Department of Corrections for the 9,000 officers that work at Rikers Island Correctional Facility. He has maintained a presence at Rikers Island Correctional Facility for over three years leading meditation and contemplative support groups for a variety of populations. He has been practicing Buddhism since 1995, having studied with many teachers from the traditions of Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana Buddhism including the late Ani Dechen Zangmo, the late Kyabje Pathing Rinpoche, the late Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, Khenpo Lodro Donyo Rinpoche, and H.E. the 12th Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, who has ordained him as a Repa (lay-tantric yogin) as such he is committed to bringing the insights born from meditation practice into the experience of an integrated life.