UGED2297 Understanding in Practice: From Meditation to Mindfulness

2018-2019 Summer General Education Course
UGED2297  Understanding in Practice: From Meditation to Mindfulness

Each day, our life is flooded with thoughts and emotions aroused by noises outside and inside of us. Do they support the real purpose of our life, bringing fulfillment and happiness? Or do they throw us into an endless cycle of stress, anger, fear, or even hopelessness? The course offers an orientation into mindfulness meditation as a possible way of “resetting” from the latter, emphasizing reflective participation more than knowledge and theory.

From the formal practice of sitting cross-legged and quietly counting the breaths to the informal practice of embracing each moment in daily life, students will be guided to cultivate “right mindfulness,” one of the Eightfold Paths to end suffering. Such practices are grounded in ancient Buddhist sutras named Anapanasati (“mindfulness breathing”) and Satipatthana (“foundation of mindfulness”), and 2,500 years of lay and monastic practice. By developing one-pointed concentration on the body, feelings, mind, and phenomena, the meditator may reflect on their impermanence, comprehend no-self, and cultivate loving kindness.

Students will do a one-week retreat in Plum Village, France, preceded by readings and presentations on relevant topics, and followed by a personal reflection on the experience. Through undisturbed practice with peers and monastics, students will master the basics of meditation for stillness, wisdom, and a habit of mindful living. The ultimate goal is to cultivate self-compassion and connectedness with fellow beings for inner calm and wise action.

Course Structure

The course consists of three parts:

  1. Lectures: Students are required to attend two to three lectures at CUHK to gain basic knowledge about mindfulness meditation and its applications. Students will present a report on a book/article on theories or applications of mindfulness meditation. Attendance at the lectures are mandatory for participation in the retreat.
  2. Experiential learning: In a seven-day retreat at Plum Village (Bordeaux, France), students will learn the basic skills of meditation and practice mindfulness in sitting, walking, eating, working, sharing, noble silence, and loving kindness. There may be a chance to work in the Happy Farm in Plum Village.
  3. Seminar: After the retreat, students are required to give group presentations reporting their learning during the retreat, and to submit a personal reflective essay on the experience.

Medium of Instruction

The lectures and seminars at CUHK will be delivered in Cantonese. Guided mindfulness practices in Plum Village will be conducted in English.


The Office of University General Education will cover all the basic costs of the retreat in France, including tuition, vegan meals, accommodation (in shared tents or rooms), and transportation between Bordeaux Airport and Plum Village. Students are responsible for arranging the air travels between Hong Kong and Bordeaux, France, and any necessary gears and gadgets for the retreat (e.g. sleeping bags). Those in need of additional financial support may send in an application with the Office of University General Education in addition to seeking support from other sources such as the college. These applications will be judged case-by-case.


Students must have taken or be taking the course “UGFH1000 In Dialogue with Humanity” at the time of application. Students should complete the online application form on or before 17 December 2018, uploading a personal statement and a copy of an updated academic transcript at CUHK. The personal statement will make important reference for selecting students for the course. Students may explain the motivation for taking the course, personal expectations, knowledge of mindfulness and its applications, and experience with related practices. It should be no longer than 1,200 characters in Chinese, or 900 words in English. Year-one students do not yet have an academic transcript at the time of application, but should still upload a list of courses taken in the present term; the transcript with grades should be submitted once the grades are released in early January 2019.

Important Dates (updated on 24 Jan 2019)

23 November 2018

Information Session

Time: 6:45-8:00 pm

Venue: ELB LT4

Language: Cantonese

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17 December 2018

Application Deadline

11-14 January 2019


16 January 2019

Announcement of Interview Results

The following dates are updated:

1 February 2019

Confirmation and Payment of Refundable Deposit by Students

Within 1-7 June 2019


14 June 2019

Meet in Bordeaux, France

14-21 June 2019

Seven-day Retreat in Plum Village

3 July 2019


8 July 2019

Final Report Submission



Organizing the retreat involves a lot of planning and coordination in advance. The course will therefore not follow the regular schedule of course enrollment at CUHK. Once the interview results are announced, shortlisted students will be required to indicate acceptance of the offer and pay a caution deposit of HK$2,000, which is fully refundable on successful completion of the course. The Office of University General Education will then proceed with the course enrollment on CUSIS, and students may book their air tickets for early-bird rates. The meeting point will be in Bordeaux, France, from which a shuttle will be arranged to take them to Plum Village. A flight itinerary (for Hong Kong-Bordeaux) will be proposed to students, but students may make other arrangements as they see fit. Enrolled students are not allowed to drop the course except under special circumstances.

For details about Plum Village, please visit:

For any queries, please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

May 2019