Who is Luangphor Viriyang? Who is the Teacher of the Course?
The course was created by Somdej Phra Yana Vachirodom (Luangphor Viriyang Sirintharo). This course has received 7 honorary doctorates in the East in recognition of the quality of information the Master has shared about the process of meditation.
The Master originally started the course in Thailand, which has seen extensive growth and success over the years throughout the country. But, he knew that for there to be less suffering in the world, more people needed to learn how to conduct a meditation technique that focuses on continuously building mind power and strengthening the mind. So, Luangphor created the Willpower Institute, a non-profit organization, with the intent to spread meditation to the rest of the world.
Luangphor Viriyang Sirintharo was the abbot of one of Thailand’s largest monasteries – Wat Dhammamongkol. He was a meditation master who was a Buddhist monk of the forest tradition for over 80 years. He is regarded as one of the most influential meditation teachers in Thailand. He launched this program in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 1999 and it is now being offered in Canada, the United States and other countries around the world.
The course is facilitated by certified graduates who completed it and have had additional training from Luangphor, himself, in an effort to share his wisdom and extensive knowledge about meditation to everyone with an interest in developing their minds.
What kind of meditation do you teach? Do you teach Vipassana or Insight Meditation?
The course focuses on Samatha meditation. Samatha is a Pali word that translates into English as "tranquility of the mind" or "mind-calmness". In terms of meditation technique, through focusing our attention by developing our concentration, mindfulness, and mental discipline, we learn to stay present "in the moment" without engaging in whatever distractions our environment or mind may create for us.
Over time, this practice creates calmness or tranquility in the mind. Samatha is the foundation of any good meditation practice, including Vipassana (insight meditation). We will discuss the theory and practice of Vipassana as well, but we do not conduct it in this course as it requires a lot of practice and a strong foundation of Samatha to genuinely practice Vipassana.
Samatha ("Calm; tranquility; quietude of heart") is developed by Samadhi ("Concentration; one-pointedness of mind; mental discipline"). In other words, through the practice of meditation (developing concentration / one-pointedness), you will experience calmness and tranquility.
Do you have to be Buddhist to take the course? Will you be teaching about Buddhism?
The Master Teacher intended from the very beginning for us to ensure that the course remains open to people of all backgrounds (i.e. all faiths or of no faith). Even though the theory and practice are rooted in the Buddhist tradition, this course focuses on teaching meditation, not religion. Luangphor references stories, concepts, and Pali terms throughout the course, but in every case, this is being used to help students understand a meditation concept not learn religion. This course does not teach Buddhism or religion of any kind.
How much does this course cost?
The course, itself, is free. That said, for those that would like to have a copy of the textbooks, a small charge will be levied for them in order to cover the cost of printing. That is the only fee for the course. All of the teachers are volunteers, who have previously completed the course, which allows us to offer the course without a tuition fee.
What is the time commitment for this course?
The course typically runs 5 nights a week for 6 months from September to February (with breaks). The online meditation will run for one and a half hours each day. The first 30 minutes will be spent on the theory of meditation. It will use the textbooks written by Luangphor as the focus of the class. We will then conduct a one-hour meditation that consists of 30 minutes of walking meditation and 30 minutes of sitting meditation. There are attendance requirements for those that intend to get certified.
The online course will be taught through Zoom.
The Master has said that students who dedicate themselves to consistently practice this meditation technique for the entirety of the course, will definitely see benefits by the end and will have started the development of a strong foundation necessary for further growth and development of their minds. Furthermore, the Master has shared that it requires consistent practice for weeks for most people to start experiencing meditation. It doesn't normally happen overnight as it did for the Luangphor.