Buddhist Immersion & Meditation Teacher Training

15-Week Online Course
Starts march 18, 2023

What is this PROGRAM?

From self-help to stress-reduction, there are many ways to approach meditation. In the Open Heart Project, we view it as a sacred practice (that is also extremely ordinary). It is sacred in that it invokes deep transformation, the kind that does not come about from “working” on ourselves; it shows you who you really are. It is ordinary because, let’s face it, you’re just sitting there, doing nothing. The meditation technique involves your body (in the meditation posture), your breath (which serves as the object of your meditation), and your mind (which simply continues to produce thought because that’s what it does)—and that’s it. No matter what you do in this world, your body, breath, and mind will always be present. It’s the ultimate in “ordinary.” 

What happens when you take all your ideas, agendas, and intentions away and just…sit? Mysteriously, “just sitting” changes everything and for millennia, countless practitioners have reported increased wisdom, compassion, and courage—also known in the Buddhist tradition as the three qualities of the awakened mind.

In this program, we will look very closely at this ancient practice, its Buddhist roots, and how, if you would like, to teach it to others.

Whether or not you ever go on to teach, a close study of the teaching path will make the practice of meditation come alive for you in a whole new way. I invite you to investigate this for yourself. 



This training program is not about viewing meditation from a so-called “secular” point of view. To really understand what we’re doing, it is useful (and important! necessary!) to study certain Buddhist teachings. To separate the practice from the teachings that gave rise to it is to leave most of the magic on the table. 


To help you gain insight into your own practice and how you might share it with others, we will also learn the enneagram together. The enneagram is a system that describes nine kinds of people. I’ve been studying it for as long as I’ve been a Buddhist practitioner: nearly 30 years. Though it is not connected to classical Buddhism, I find I use the enneagram every day in my work as a teacher. It is an incomparable support for making healthy connections with others and it will be a delight to share it with you. 


The Open Heart Project Buddhist Immersion and Meditation Teacher Training is a 15-week program for up to 35 students. It is not self-guided. It is live. You are not left on your own with a bunch of videos + instructions for how to use the material. Rather, you will meet as a class for two hours each week with me and a deeply wonderful group of guest teachers (bios below). 


Each week, new material is presented with plenty of time for discussion, questions, and small group breakout sessions. At the end of our time together, you will know much more: about the practice, how to share it with others, and, perhaps most important, about yourself. It would be a joy to go on this journey with you.

The Buddhist Immersion & Meditation Teacher Training for Spring of 2023 is filled.

Please click here to get on a waiting list for announcements about upcoming programs.

How does the program work?

From March 18 to June 24, we will meet on Saturdays from 10:00a ET to 12:00p ET. The only exception is Saturday, May 13 when we will participate in a full day of retreat, from 9:00a ET to 4:00p ET. This will be our chance to deepen, deepen, deepen.  

After each class, you will be assigned homework to write your response to that week’s class material. Homework is to be posted to our private, members-only forum before the next class and each student is asked to share their responses to at least two other student’s reflections. 

Midway through the program, during each class, students will break into pairs to practice offering meditation instruction to each other. 

During the final weeks of the program (May 27-Jun 17) each student will meet with me one-to-one to give me meditation instruction and discuss how the program is going for you.
During the final class (on Jun 24) there will be a test. Test questions are provided the first week of class so there is plenty of time for review. On test day, you will be asked to answer one question at random, orally and to the group.
In addition, each student will be assigned (randomly) to a group of up to 5 fellow students in a WhatsApp group to keep in touch throughout the program. 

REQUIREMENTS For graduation


Attendance at each class is mandatory. You may miss one class—except for March 18 (the first class), the retreat day (May 13), or the last class (June 24). If you miss a class other than these, you will be asked to send me an essay recapping the material presented in the class you missed. 

Each student will give me meditation instruction before the program ends. This is not to make sure you do exactly what I do, but to verify that you’ve made a personal connection to this practice. You should be able to teach it clearly without embellishing the technique but still sharing from the heart. 

There will be a test (also called a “Warrior’s Circle”). During the test, you will be asked to answer one question and one question only without referring to notes. There will be approximately 35 test questions but neither of us will know which question you are to answer until I choose it randomly. You should be able to answer the question accurately but in your own voice.

Who is this program for?

This curriculum was designed for everyone who has ever asked me, “how do I go deeper?” This program is for you, if you want to:

  • Learn more about what makes this practice so powerful
  • Learn more about Buddhism 
  • Know yourself better
  • Become a better communicator 
  • Make sure your practice is grounded in something real (i.e,. not the life-hack du jour)
  • Share meditation with others but aren’t sure how to invite them in
  • Spend time in community with others who share your interests
  • Teach meditation as part of your work as a yoga teacher, life coach, healthcare professional, team leader or any other profession that seeks to support others
  • You don’t know why you want to do this, you just do! 

What will I LEARN?

Who teaches the program?

Screenshot 2022-11-30 at 1.31.47 PM

Susan Piver

Susan Piver is a Buddhist teacher and the New York Times bestselling author of nine books including The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist Wisdom for Modern RelationshipsHer new book, The Buddhist Enneagram: Nine Paths to Warriorship, was published in September 2022.

In 2011, Piver launched The Open Heart Project, an online meditation community with nearly 20,000 members who practice meditation together and explore ways to bring spiritual values such as kindness, genuineness, and fearlessness to everyday life.

OUr Wonderful Guest teachers

Crystal Gandrud is a writer, installation artist and editor based in London. She has created many installation-novels, exhibited in the UK, Ireland and France. She is also the creator of Dream of the Drawing for Everything, an online installation concerning the oneiric. In 2017, she co-founded Lionheart Press with the mission to publish marginalised Buddhist thought-influencers to a more mainstream audience. She has practiced Tantric Buddhism for twenty years and taught meditation for fifteen.

Kevin Townley is a writer/performer, and has been studying Buddhism since 2010. He currently practices with the Sokuko-Ji Zen community under the guidance of Kyoun Sokuzan. Kevin completed the Interdependence Project’s teacher training program in 2012. He is passionate about exploring the interplay of meditation and art-making while encouraging others to bring their own innate humor and insight to their meditation practice.

Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Maho Kawachi never had an experience of meditation. When she came to NYC in the early 90s, she finally realized she needed something to remind her to be sane, and after some trial and error, she encountered her first official meditation class in 2000. She now teaches meditation at the Open Heart Project, Rikers Island Correction Facility, and other places.

Marisa Viola is a Brooklyn based meditation teacher. She has studied Buddhism since 2008, teaching since 2013. She has taken refuge and Bodhisattva vows with Venerable Robina Courtin, and has studied with Venerable Thich Nhat Hahn and many other great teachers from various lineages. She teaches regularly at with Open Heart Project, MNDFL, Shantigar Foundation, and in the MNDFL Teacher Training Program, where she also mentors aspiring teachers. 



  • You will receive a certificate acknowledging your successful completion of this program as a trained meditation teacher
  • An annual subscription to the Open Heart Project Sangha to continue your education and deepen your personal practice ($270 value) 
  • Access to ongoing alumni-only gatherings


MODULE ONE The Power of Simplicity

March 18: 10am-12pm ET

Overview of the Program

  • Establishing the View
  • Keeping it Simple
  • Our Practice: Shamatha-Vipashyana Meditation
  • Mindfulness and Awareness in our Practice
  • Some Background on Our Practice and Where it Fits in the Buddhist Tradition
  • Container Principle


March 25: 10am-12pm ET

  • The Four Noble Truths  
  • The Eightfold Path as it Relates to our Practice
  • The Importance and Meaning of Discipline
  • Teaching People vs Helping Them to Discover Something


April 1: 10am-12pm ET

  • Three Steps to Keeping the Practice Sacred:
  • Make Offerings
  • Request Blessings
  • Dedicate the Merit
  • The Role of Renunciation

MODULE TWO: Opening Our Hearts

April 8: 10am-12pm ET 

The Four Immeasurable Qualities

  • Loving Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Sympathetic Joy
  • Equanimity


April 1510am-12pm ET  

The Six Paramitas

  • Generosity
  • Discipline
  • Patience
  • Exertion
  • Absorption
  • Wisdom


April 2210am-12pm ET  

  • Working with Strong Emotions
  • The Importance of Sorrow
  • The Broken-Hearted Warrior


April 2910am-12pm ET  

Introduction to the Enneagram: Part One

  • Triads/Centers of Intelligence
  • Subtypes
  • Hornevian Directional Theory
  • Uses and Misuses of this Wisdom when Teaching


May 610am-12pm ET  

Introduction to the Enneagram: Part Two

  • 9 types and 27 Subtypes
  • How to Type Yourself
  • How to Sense the Type of Others


May 13: 9am-4pm ET 

Day-Long Meditation Retreat


MODULE THREE: Entering the Sacred World

May 2010am-12pm ET  

  • Viewing Confusion as Wisdom
  • Ordinary Magic
  • Infusing the Environment with Richness


May 2710am-12pm ET  

  • Working with Energy
  • Raising Windhorse
  • The Power of Groundlessness

MODULE FOUR: Dharma, Work, and Money

June 310am-12pm ET  

  • Establishing a Teaching Container
  • Working with Individual Students from First Meeting to Establishing an Ongoing Connection
  • The Power of the Three Jewels
  • Establishing Boundaries
  • Obstacles Most Students Encounter


June 1010am-12pm ET  

  • Working with Groups
  • How to Give a Talk


June 1710am-12pm ET  

  • Establishing Yourself as a Teacher
  • Finding Your Comfort Level with Money


June 2410am-12pm ET 

  • Our Test: A Warrior’s Circle
  • How to Stay Connected

The Time Commitment

Plan on spending 4-6 hours per week on class time, homework, and forum discussions.

What’s the cost?

Buddhist Immersion & MEDITATION Teacher TRAINING PROGRAM: SPRING 2023

Early Bird Price: $1,895.00 (Until February 19, 2023)
Regular Price: $2,095.00 (Starting February 20, 2023)

Space is limited.

Once accepted, please make payment within 10 days to secure your spot in the program.

Payment plans in three installments are available.

Buddhist Immersion & MEDITATION Teacher TRAINING PROGRAM: SPRING 2023

Early Bird Price: $1,625.00 (Until February 19, 2023)
Regular Price: $1,825.00 (Starting February 20, 2023)

Space is limited.

Once accepted, please make payment within 10 days to secure your spot in the program.

Payment plans in three installments are available.



To our post-grads of the MIT program, you’re invited to take this new training at a discount. We are making space for 10 alumni.

Buddhist Immersion & MEDITATION Teacher TRAINING PROGRAM: SPRING 2023

Post-Grad Price: $1,047.50 

Once accepted, please make payment within 10 days to secure your spot in the program.

Payment plans in three installments are available.


Please note: Our refund policy is very strict.
Since attendance is limited, there are no full or partial refunds offered.

What happens when the program ends?

You have access to all class materials in perpetuity.

Graduates of the program receive an annual subscription to the Open Heart Project Sangha and access to ongoing alumni-only gatherings.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us here.


We will award two full scholarships for this program. 

Deadline to apply: February 15, 2023.

Application period for scholarships is now closed.

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