Committed Practitioners’ Programme

Extended course 2016 – 2017 – 6 Modules and 2 Retreats in Devon, UK

The Buddha envisaged a path that led directly to its culmination in a deeply ‘embodied’ understanding of the Four Ennobling Truths (ariya sacca) and the freedom entailed in such a realisation. Such a path addressed every dimension of a human being’s existence by pulling together the various facets of their personality – emotions, intellect, reason, passion and energy – and directed them at the consummation of the goal.

The Committed Practitioners’ Programme is an integrated approach to the study and practice of the Dharma that is rooted in the Buddha’s teaching of the path to liberation. The opportunity to, 1) study the texts (pariyatti), 2) develop and cultivate our experiential understanding of the teaching (patipatti) and investigate how they apply to our meditation practice and daily life and 3) understand what is meant by realisation (pativedha), will orient the programme.

The CPP offers a number of different, yet interwoven strands within its framework – teaching, discussion, community, reflection and investigations applied in our daily lives. All participants will have previous experience with Dharma practice and a working knowledge of core Buddhist concepts. The programme is an opportunity for students to learn and practice together. One of the intentions of this two-year programme is to encourage participants to embed the teaching in every area of their lives.


The 6 modules will be held in the beautiful setting of Sharpham House and will offer an in-depth exploration of the teachings of the Buddha. These modules will include sustained blocks of teachings and discussion. There will be times for questions and several sittings each day are scheduled. There will be periods of silence during two of the meals each day. Modules will begin with dinner on the first evening and end with lunch on the final day. The modules at Sharpham offer plenty of opportunity for the programme participants to interact and are intended to foster community as well as peer relationships.


The first retreat will be held at Gaia House and the second at Sharpham House. Both retreats will have a study practice format. The week long retreats will be held in silence apart from the teaching sessions.

Continuing investigations

There will be a regular assignment of Dharma themes to investigate and apply in the periods between modules.  Selected reading will be encouraged, but the most significant step is to reflect upon the reading and explore and apply it in your own life.


Each participant will be assigned a mentor unless you already have a mentoring relationship you would prefer to continue with. It is encouraged to have a monthly contact with your mentor, focussing on the current course material and its practical application. We anticipate these check-ins to be half an hour in length and it is important to keep the arranged dates.

The mentors will have access to the source book, and the sessions need not be face to face.
The conversations between mentor and student are to be held in confidence by both parties unless there is agreement or need to share the discussion with others. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange the mentoring sessions, and the mentoring relationship is a dana relationship; your mentor does not receive any payment and may well be living on dana.


Chris CullenCHRIS CULLEN works as a Dharma teacher and psychotherapist. He trained to teach Insight Meditation with Christina Feldman, and also teaches for the University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre, running the mindfulness programme in Parliament, and teaching Buddhist Psychology on the Masters of Studies programme in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Chris is a member of the Core Faculty of Bodhi College.


CHRISTINA FELDMAN is a co-founder of Gaia House and a guiding teacher at Insight Meditation Society, Barre, Massachussetts. The author of a number of books, she has been teaching insight meditation retreats internationally since 1976. She is one of the teaching faculty of the CPP programme, dedicated to the study and application of the early teachings of the Buddha and is engaged in teaching the Buddhist psychological foundations of mindfulness to those training to teach mindfulness-based applications in England, Belgium and the Netherlands. Christina's outside schedule

John PeacockJOHN PEACOCK is both an academic and a Buddhist practitioner of nearly forty years. Trained initially in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition in India, he subsequently spent time in Sri Lanka studying Theravada. He lectured in Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol, is Associate Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and teaches on the Master of Studies programme in MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) at Oxford University. John has been teaching meditation for more than twenty five years and is a Gaia House guiding teacher.

AkincanoAKINCANO M. WEBER is a Swiss Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist (MA). A former monk, he has lived and practiced for 20 years in European and Thai Forest monasteries. Particular interests are early Buddhist texts, stillness and contemplative psychology. He is guiding teacher of Atammaya Cologne, Germany, part of the CPP programme and of several Mindfulness teacher trainings and teaches meditation and Buddhist Psychology in secular and traditional contexts in Europe and overseas.


The programme involves a considerable investment of time and finance. Please ensure you are in a position in your life to begin and sustain the entire course. Since it is a closed programme, it has been budgeted based on all rooms being occupied for the duration. We will therefore not be in a position to offer refunds for any non-attendance, and full participation is expected, except in cases of health or family emergency.

Each participant will find their own ways of learning within the framework of the programme but it is important to bring to these 2 years a clear commitment. The greatest benefits are gained through engaging with the reading material and exploring the continuing investigation themes in your life. A monthly contact with your mentor will enable you to explore questions and reflections that arise.


  • Applications are only accepted upon enrolling for the full course (1.5 years)
  • The course teachers will review all applications
  • Successful applicants will be notified a short time after application
  • The entire programme is £2560, including the 2 Gaia House retreats
  • The fee can be paid in instalments, and the deposit is £767
  • Dana contributions for teachers are not included in this cost.


The programme teachers do not receive any compensation from the course fee, which covers the venue costs, a contribution to Bodhi College’s operating overheads and teacher travel expenses. It has been decided to offer this programme in the same spirit of dana that supports retreat teachers at Gaia House and other major centres. The teachings are considered priceless and the teachers treasure dana or generosity as the heart and foundation of the path of awakening. There will be the opportunity to offer dana to the teachers at the end of each module and retreat.

Booking and Eligibility

CPP requires participants to have approximately 50 days silent retreat experience. When you register, you will be asked to fill in an online application form detailing this experience and a personal statement. When you submit the application online, a place will be held for you until the application has been verified by the teachers. At this point, you will be asked to pay your deposit and this will secure your place on the course. It helps us greatly if you can complete the application online, but should you be unable, please contact the bookings administrator who will help you book onto the programme.



  • Module 1:  5-10 March – Stephen Batchelor and John Peacock
  • Module 2: June 10-15 – Christina Feldman and Akincano Weber
  • Retreat 1: September 2-9 – Christina Feldman and John Peacock
  • Module 3: October 21-26 – Akincano Weber and John Peacock


  • Module 4: 20-25 January – John Peacock and Christina Feldman
  • Module 5: 10-15 March – Akincano Weber and Stephen Batchelor
  • Retreat 2: 17-24 June – Akincano Weber, John Peacock and Christina Feldman
  • Module 6: 4-9 August – John Peacock and Christina Feldman


There are only two single rooms at Sharpham House and very few at Gaia House, these will be reserved for people with the greatest medical needs. Participants must therefore enrol with the expectation to share a room. We will consider offering a limited number of non-residential places once the course is full.

This course is now full, please feel free to register on the waiting list below.

  • March 5, 2016 - March 5, 2017
    6:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Venue Phone: 01803 732055

Venue Website:

Ashprington, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 7UT, United Kingdom


SharphamSharpham Trust is an education and conservation charity based on a stunning 550 acre estate adjoining the River Dart in South Devon.

At the heart of the Sharpham Trust ethos is the desire to build a more mindful, compassionate and environmentally sustainable world. We connect people with nature and foster mindfulness and well-being through our programme of retreatsmindfulness coursesoutdoor learning and the arts

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