Making Meditation Accessible
Dharma Gates is dedicated to making intensive meditation and quality instruction available to college students and young people. Student meditation groups often face difficulties in providing opportunities for deeper meditation experience to those who are interested. In our experience, student leaders also can feel a lack of support and guidance in an academic context and may have difficulty passing on group leadership to the next generation.
Simultaneously, mental health on college campuses is in decline, while our world has never been more in need of thoughtful, reflective, compassionate, healthy leaders. A re-evaluation of campus culture is needed.
Many students remain suspicious of contemplative practice, as it is widely--but falsely--believed that Buddhism is a form of escapism. Simultaneously, many Dharma communities have failed to articulate coherent responses to frameworks with which young people are learning to think; cultural appropriation, intersectionality, authoritarianism, etc.
Contemplative practice needs to be contextualized in a way that connects with the needs of young people and answers their doubts. This also involves recognizing that there are damaging trends within Buddhist communities that need to be recognized, addressed, and brought into conversation with these discourses.
Dharma Gates aims to support existing student groups in a variety of ways:
Through connecting student leaders to peers, opening doors to discussion and collective strategizing about how to best meet the needs of students.
Introducing students who already have a regular meditation practice or serious interest in meditation to intensive environments and retreat practice.
Contextualizing contemplative practice as a powerful tool to promote social good.
Introducing students to academic literature addressing common misconceptions about meditation practice and the ongoing debates within Dharma communities globally.
Giving students opportunities to share their experiences via our Student Blog.
Providing curated, high-quality resources to all dharma practitioners through our website Dive Into the Ocean and our Resources page.
Getting involved by becoming a Member or Student Ambassador.
Becoming a member is quite simple. Membership involves seriously considering, and attempting to live by, the following two principles.
I will maintain an ongoing commitment to self-inquiry for the benefit of all through maintaining a daily meditation practice, as well as through other forms of contemplative practice.
I will, in an ongoing way, attempt to discern which of my actions are harmful to myself or other people and beings. I see that this is not self-evident, and that serious inquiry is often required to see both harm and benefit. I will gradually work to be of benefit and reduce harm while maintaining at attitude of compassion with myself.
Members are highly encouraged to attend regular meditation with existing student groups at their university to promote community and support others in their practice. Much of the power of these principles comes from participating in a community that shares them. If your university does not have a student ambassador already, or the existing ambassador needs support, we encourage you to consider becoming an ambassador.
The next layer of membership involves becoming a student ambassador. In addition to the previous two principles, Ambassadors work to organize events at their university and work to ensure that a weekly meditation schedule is maintained on their campus which is open to the wider campus community.
Student ambassadors receive a greater degree of support in their personal practice, priority to attend Dharma Gates events, and the opportunity to strategize with the Dhamra Gates facilitators and other ambassadors about improving their communities. We will help to connect ambassadors to quality meditation instructors to bring to campus and share tools and strategies to get funding from universities to support campus-wide initiatives and events.
After a year of serving as an Dharma Gates ambassador, a student ambassardor will have:
Friends across the country who share their interests in meditation and social transformation.
Significant experience in fundraising for, organizing, and facilitating on-campus events.
Letters of recommendation from Dharma Gates facilitators.
Many opportunities to go significantly deeper in their personal meditation practice than they otherwise would have.
Collectively, this amounts to a transformative experience for the individual and skills to bring with them into their future endeavors.
If you’re interested in getting involved as an ambassador, attend one of our events, or email us at email@example.com