The School of Philosophy offers a series of courses in Practical Philosophy, beginning with the Introductory Course.
In addition, the School presents a range of associated courses and events. Some of these are open to the public, such as the annual Cultural Day, while others are available to current and in many cases former students.
Term start dates
There are three Practical Philosophy terms per year…
Term 1 – starts in early February
Term 2 – starts in late May
Term 3 – starts in mid September
All the Practical Philosophy courses start then, except the Introductory Course which starts in the third week of each term.
There are two ways of enrolling – either online or in person on the first day of the course.
For online enrolments, click these links:
Introductory Course – Click the “Intro Course” tab for information
Wellington Returning students – ENROL
Wellington Early bird for Parts 2, 3 & 4 (available for a short time each term) – ENROL
Masterton, Palmerston North, Christchurch – See “All Products” under the “Shop” tab
Further Philosophy courses
After the Introductory Course, further courses are offered to develop the themes presented. (These are known by number – for example, “Part 2”.) Each term there is a key overarching theme that the group explores. At about the fifth term, meditation is offered because it can help with philosophical understanding and practice. There is always philosophic material to study with a group, and some students have attended consistently for several decades!
Simple forms of meditation are given in early groups, and then a deeper form of mantra meditation is available at about term 5. Although it is not religious, it has a strong spiritual and philosophical tradition behind it.
Meditation does not require one to abandon one’s own religion or culture. In fact, some students find that it gives them a helpful understanding of their own traditions.
The main purpose of meditation is to bring the mind and emotions to rest, so that what is left is the awareness one’s true self. Meditation acts like a subtle bath after which one comes out clear and refreshed. This facilitates a deeper understanding of life’s big questions, and therefore it can help in the study of Philosophy.
Students are offered study days, weekend retreats or for longer term students week-long retreats in addition to the courses. (Current enrolled students are informed when these are available.) These can provide opportunities to gain deeper understanding.
The principle behind helping out at the School is a good one. It is a way that students can give back some of what they have received, for example by assisting with tea-making. Also, many philosophical principles can be practised and realised in this way, such as service, mindfulness and happiness. It can be a philosophical practice of giving freely without expectations or reward. It is voluntary.
Saturday morning maintenance
Learning how to use fine attention in manual tasks is extremely enlightening. The mind and emotions come to rest, and tasks are performed with little loss of energy.
Students practise some simple principles of work designed to allow one to feel present in the moment. This may allow a new perspective on the way we all work. This is a type of enlightenment-in-activity, and it sets the foundation for finer use of the mind and ultimately self-knowledge. Students often comment that they come away with more energy than when they started!
The Saturday morning sessions run most weeks from 8am to midday and you can attend for part of the time if desired. Each session involves performing manual tasks (suitable to the individual) with short breaks for discussion and feedback, and a cup of tea or coffee. The emphasis is on restful observation by attending to what’s in front of you, not doing work. This is open to all current students.