Every semester at DRBU, students, faculty, and staff take a break from regular classroom activities to come together as a community and participate in a week-long immersive contemplative practice.

During this time members of the DRBU community unplug from their ordinary routines in order to participate in centering practices that allow for greater self-reflection and more intuitive modes of knowing, all aimed at increasing a subtler awareness within and without: of oneself and one’s place in the larger world. Classes and non-essential work are suspended so that students can get the most from this important “laboratory” experience.

With guidance from classical texts and contemporary practitioners, these contemplative sessions offer DRBU students the space to look within. This hands-on experiential learning opens up fresh insights into what it means to be human, and inspires new ways of imagining and engaging the interconnected world of ourselves, others, and the natural environment.

Examples of Past CEIs

Phenomenology of Guan Yin Recitation

This CEI combined the traditional Buddhist practice of Guanyin Recitation (recitation of the name of Guanyin, or Avalokitesvara, the
bodhisattva of compassion) with a Husserlian phenomenological approach in order to emphasize the visceral, emotional, and psychological experience around our conception of the external world, and our intersubjectivity.

Movement and Stillness

Drawing on Taiji and Taoist philosophy, this CEI proposed to work on trying to find our “center”, and remain in it whether in stillness or activity. Students investigated this juncture between stillness and movement and worked on training their ability to move and be in activity from a place of centered stillness-in-motion, according with and “flowing with” the changing conditions of each moment.


Students put into practice Patañjali’s eight limbs, which tie in to the curriculum of Indian Classics. The eight limbs are: moral principles (yama), observances (niyama), posture (asana), breath control (pranayama), withdrawal of the
senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and pure contemplation (samadhi).

CEI week really shook me up in the best of ways. The combination of deep, direct teaching and experiential lessons learned through meditations really knitted together theory and practice in a fundamental way.

Rachel Croft MA '22