Pre-Aspirant Checklist

During the past two years, the Dharma Teachers Sangha of North America has been working diligently to produce a more formal application process for Order of Interbeing aspirants. The work is completed (approved 11/07/2012) and the information will be distributed to dharma teachers in the coming month. In managing this web site, a very common question that I receive pertains to readiness for formal aspiration. Here is a pre-aspiration checklist that is outlined in application to become an aspirant.

  • I practice regularly with my local sangha.
  • I formally received The Five Mindfulness Trainings one or more years ago from Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh or a Tiep Hien Dharma Teacher.
  • I am aware that by aspiring I am committing to  practice 60 days of mindfulness each year; to  study, practice, and observe the 14 Mindfulness Trainings; to regularly recite the trainings, and to  actively participate in and support my Sangha.
  • I recite the Five Mindfulness Trainings at least monthly.
  • I study, practice, and observe all five mindfulness trainings.
  • I have a daily practice that includes meditation.
  • I am alcohol- and recreational chemical-free and will remain so.
  • I have the support of my partner for becoming an Aspirant.
  • I am familiar with the Order and the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings and the Charter of the Order as reflected in the book Interbeing and use and study the book.
  • I have begun to observe regular Days of Mindfulness.
  • I am working with the reflection questions that are to be written as part of this application. [see the Dharma Teacher for application]
  • I have identified a Dharma Teacher or a qualified Order Member(s) who is/are willing to serve as mentor(s).
  • A Tiep Hien Dharma Teacher has agreed to support my Aspirancy and work with my mentor(s). [This is necessary when the mentor is not a Dharma Teacher]

In a future post, I will share the recommended mentoring qualifications document. If you have any questions or comments about the pre-aspirant checklist, please comment below.

12 thoughts on “Pre-Aspirant Checklist

  1. Gloria Galasso

    This past February I was privileged to receive the Refuge in the Three Jewels and the Five Precepts from the Abbot, Ven. Thich Tri Duc, at Tam Bao Temple in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I am one of the Service Leaders for the English speaking portion of the Sangha. I have provided Rev. Anne Clement, the Sangha Leader at Singing Stones Sangha in Supulpa, Oklahoma, with a copy of my certificate of ordination. Will that be sufficient, or will I need to take them again? Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Kenley Neufeld

      This is a great question, and one that comes up from time to time. In your case, you will want to work closely with a dharma teacher in our tradition to get your answer. I know exceptions have been made in the past and I there may be room for flexibility. Sorry I can’t give a more definitive answer.

  2. Gerard Lee

    Hello Everyone…I received the 5 mindfulness trainings from Ven Thay himself at Plum Village in Jul11. My practice resonates with all of the above, with the only exception, where I enjoy a glass of wine ocassionally. I very much want to become an aspirant. Can anyone please advise me? I live in Sydney and practice with the Lotus Bud Sangha. A Lotus For You

    1. Kenley Neufeld

      Hi Gerard. I’ve been working with a group of Australians these past 8-months and have directed them here to this link to reply to your inquiry. I hope someone will respond and offer some guidance and advise. Have you talked to John Barclay about your aspiration?

  3. Susan Wirawan

    I think this is very useful actually. Thanks.

    One thing I’m wondering about all of the guidelines here,- all that relate to aspirancy requirements/readiness/mentoring etc etc, is whether there is a distribution of all of them, as they are published, to all the monastics in charge of centres , as well as being posted here? It would be very helpful, actually,if that could happen. .Perhaps bi-lingual?.

  4. Carol Grafford

    I read about this website and the OI aspirant materials available here in the Mindfulness Bell (Summer 2013). I am so happy to see the actual list. I have slowly but surely been moving in this direction for a long time. I have connected with Cheri Maples, and while I own many of Thay’s books, I do not yet have a copy of “Interbeing.” Purchasing the book will be my next step. Thank you.

      1. Carol Grafford

        OK, I went online to Parallax Press, thinking they would have the book Interbeing, but not so. What is my best way to get a copy. Thanks!

  5. Stassia Samuels

    Greetings, and thank you for this information. I recently received the 5 MT at the Deer Park Monastery retreat with Thay. Unfortunately, I live in a rural area without a sangha in the PV tradition. I am practicing with a wonderful local zen center, but am drawn strongly to the Plum Village tradition. I wonder if there are dharma teachers who are willing to help support and mentor someone such as myself in furthering my practice, and possibly advising me on beginning a very small local sangha? If so, can you give me advice on how to reach them? Or any other advice? The idea of beginning a new sangha, as a new practicioner, without the support of an OI member is very daunting. Thank you.

    1. Kenley Neufeld

      Hello Stassia. Congratulations on receiving the Five Mindfulness Trainings with our Teacher this year at Deer Park; what a great opportunity. Sangha building may seem scary but it’s not very difficult if you can connect with just one friend to support you on the path. I remember my first sangha and I had not received the trainings, hadn’t ever participated in a sangha, nor did we have any other experienced students. I found a friend and we just started sitting together. Very simple and kind. One method to find support is the Sangha In-A-Box from the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation. Check it out for more resources. I hope this helps.

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