CPD is the requirement to apply yourself to continuous learning that is relevant to the conduct of your profession. As an educator involved in the teaching of adults for many years, it has often struck me as odd when those who teach decide that they no longer need to learn. Why is this? As a meditation teacher, I’m often struck by how much I learn as I teach, but I’m also struck by how much I need to continue learning. I view the acquisition of knowledge and skill as a means of becoming better at what I do, and I consider it a privilege to be able to do so.

As a member of MAA, you are expected to complete 10 CPD points each year as a condition of your membership and you may be wondering about why you need to do this. An example from another profession might help here: whilst working at the Law Institute of Victoria in the early 2000s, I spoke with lawyers who questioned their need to comply with a similar 10 CPD point requirement. My favourite question was to ask them what they look for in a professional – for example a Doctor, an accountant, a physiotherapist. Would they choose a specialist who no longer updated their knowledge and skill, or would they prefer someone whose knowledge was up-to-date? If this is similarly true for you, as a meditation teacher, what would the public expect of you?

If you maintain your curiosity in the world, it seems logical to me that you must by nature be a learner. Your curiosity engages you in the wonders and extraordinariness of the world, and keeps you open to its infinite possibilities. A wonderful example of this is Matthieu Ricard’s perspective on learning: at a workshop I attended many years ago, when he was introduced as an exemplary teacher of Buddhism, he emphatically stated that he is not a teacher nor deserving to be called so, but simply a student. Putting his humility to one side, what struck me most was his devotion to the idea of continuous learning – a wonderful demonstration of what it means to hold a beginner’s mind.

Another perspective on CPD is that a professional development requirement is a signature hallmark of a profession – and so, a regulatory requirement confers on you the ability to retain your professional accreditation. A CPD requirement is also de facto evidence that the professional body can hold out that its members continue to update their knowledge and skills which provides members of the public with confidence that the meditation teacher they are searching for has been assessed and meets an ongoing developmental requirement. To become a member of MAA you must meet the professional requirements, and to remain a member you must continue to undertake CPD.

The CPD scheme in place for members of Meditation Association of Australia is flexible in its design and requires a minimum of 10 points each year. Looking at the scheme here, you will see that the fundamental condition your CPD activities must meet is that they be directly related to the study of meditation teaching methodology, or related to meditation teaching by tradition, relevance or application. The scheme allows you to accumulate points through:

  • Formal learning – attending workshops, seminars, retreats and conferences – either online or face-to-face (1 point per hour)
  • Informal learning – attending a meditation class as a participant (0.5 points per hour).

So, simple enough to do, and easy to accumulate (especially if you keep the details in your diary throughout the year).

I commend to you the idea of CPD – yes an administrative task to keep records and submit your report – but an activity which identifies you as a continuous learner and a considered teacher of meditation.

Murray Paterson
Executive member, MAA Council