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 responses to “Pre-Aspirant Checklist”

  1. 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.

    • 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. 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

    • 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. 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. 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.