|What is the
Dedicated Life Institute? |
What is distinct about DLI?
Who started DLI?
What is Meditation?
What are the main types of meditation?
What is Buddhism?
What is the Way of Dedication and a Dedicated Life?
What is Tantra?
What is Dzogchen?
|What is the Dedicated Life
The Institute was established in 1995 as a division of COMPASS, a nonprofit, tax exempt educational and religious organization which has provided seminars, retreats, meditation classes and trainings since 1981. The Institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and gets its revenues from donations and fees for its workshops and retreats.
The Institute makes the essence teachings and practices of spiritual work available in a western idiom. Rather than transplant or translate systems from other cultures, over the past 27 years we have been developing materials, teachings, and practices in ways that use the English language, that work from fundamental principles, and that are appropriate to the contemporary lives of people in the world. The Way of Dedication incorporates many types of practices including mindfulness, breath and energetic work, tantric and Vajrayana practices from the Tibetan Buddhist, Bon, and Dzogchen traditions as well as from Taoism and Kaballah.
Another distinct feature of the Institute is that we offer programs which train people to apply the philosophy and practices in professional work and in relationships.
Martin Lowenthal, Ph.D. is the founder and spiritual director of the Dedicated Life Institute, Senior Mentor, meditation teacher, pastoral counselor and author of numerous books including Blessings of the Creative Buddha, Buddha and the Art of Intimacy, Alchemy of the Soul, Dawning of Clear Light, Embrace Yes and co-author of the book Opening the Heart of Compassion.
He has developed many workshops, courses, and retreats designed to clarify and transmit key principles and practices of the great spiritual traditions. His work reflects ongoing study with Buddhist teachers since 1970, numerous retreats including many isolation and dark retreats, and decades of teaching and coaching students. Formerly a professor at Boston College for 11 years, and having taught for Harvard University, Dr. Lowenthal currently teaches throughout the United States and internationally.
Essentially, the aim of meditation is to awaken our aliveness with clarity and authenticity, to use it for the direct and intuitive experience of reality, moment to moment, and to manifest this in the world as a beneficial presence in our relationships, our work, and in our community. Meditation is a path which acquaints our mind with our wisdom nature and cultivates the wisdom qualities of that essential nature as an authentic expression of our aliveness.
The purpose of meditation is bring us home to the realization of our authentic unitive nature — being totally open, boundlessly radiant, and always presencing. This nature is the fundamental awareness out of which everything arises and passes through, and into which it disappears. It underlies the whole of life and death — of body, mind, and soul, all that exists, all possibilities.
Meditation is about:
The logic of meditation is really very simple: our experience of hosting, clarity and love brings us home and can be used as a resource for calling us back to the path of manifesting these qualities throughout our life.
Meditation is the conscious placing and maintenance of attention. The capacity for intentionally using attention is one the precious gifts of life. Meditation is a path which is rooted in the ground of a vision of the human design and possibility. This path of spiritual practice is a process of growth which initially involves relaxing the body and the mind, training the mind to stabilize attention, training the will, witnessing and hosting whatever arises, cultivating wisdom qualities and training the body/mind to manifest those qualities, and to rest in our essential nature.
All forms of meditation fit into one or more of three types. Clarifying meditations relax our body and mind into the peaceful state of our true nature, bringing us home. They purify by clearing out confusion, agitation, and tensions. In these meditations the base of our attention shifts from our head to our heart center, in the middle of our chest.
Harmonizing meditations align the various dimensions of our being, bring us into balance and stabilize our attention and actions. This alignment is not only in our bodies and mind, but also includes our relationship to nature, others, our life situations, the world, and time.
Cultivating meditations develop the wisdom qualities of our being, celebrate life and the Divine, and build our capacity for spiritual work and for being a beneficial presence in the world.
Buddhism in general emphasizes the way we relate to life, and the mental and emotional barriers we place in the way of our lived experience that obscure our basic radiant nature. It includes a set of methods for becoming a clear, harmonious, and beneficial presence in the world. Buddhism elaborates on the human design as it relates to the domain of experience. It is a science and philosophy of experience uncovering the potential that we all have to experience happiness, growth and freedom. Buddhism is more of a psychological and philosophical system than a theology.
Our thoughts and feelings are the inner environment we experience and the way we show up in the world and behave creates the outer environment that other people experience. The Way of Dedication is the ongoing conscious work with ourselves and our service to others such that we align our lives around the core spiritual values of happiness, love, compassion, peace, and celebration of all life.
Tantra is a system of meditation which uses the capacities of attention, imagination, sound, body movement, and energy to retrain our body of habits and mind to manifest wisdom qualities rather than core fears, longings and reactive impulses.
Translated as the "great perfection," Dzogchen is considered the ultimate teaching of the absolutely pure and non dual nature of intrinsic awareness. It is practiced to some extent by all five spiritual lineages of Tibet, although it is particularly emphasized by the Bon and the Nyingma branches.