The Gateways to
Embodied Enlightenment

The Academy Medicine Wheel

The Gateways to
Embodied Enlightenment

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear” – Buddha
“When the student is really ready the teacher will disappear” – Lao Tzu

Born as the Earth Zen Academy (BEZA)

A Rites-of-Passage School

BEZA is a rites-of-passage initiation school for grounded, higher learning. We are created to facilitate authentic transformation in you and your relationships to others and the community of all beings.

With a vision to meet the imperative for a shift in human awareness and way of life, BEZA teaches a tried-and-tested practical spirituality to create a new human story.

Our model of training is experiential, hands-on, and co-operative.

Students work independently and collaboratively and at their own pace. With a focus on Zen Buddhism and Nature-Based Wisdom, the curriculum is deep, broad and evolutionary.

 

Apprentice Gatekeeper Training

Cycle through the Medicine Wheel comprised of 5 Elemental Bodies – Fire, Water, Earth, Nature, & Stone.

BEZA’s Training Mandala

Apprentices devote their activity and attention to the medicinal power of one Elemental Body per module.

Each Elemental Body has particular medicines related to every manifestation of mind, body and spirit – thoughts, emotions, aspirations, abundance, sustainability, health and freedom, etc.

  • Personal development within a spiritual community
  • Integrative training supported by Level II & III students
  • 80hrs contact time per elemental module
  • Apprentice Level I Initiation – all 5 Modules (400hrs)
  • Student Level II Gatekeeper Training (+400hrs)
  • Teacher Level III Certification (+800hrs)
  • Schedule designed to accommodate the working parent
  • Spacious time between modules for Integration (link)
  • Modules track 2 moon cycles (approx. 56 days of assimilation and dissemination of illumination)
  • Inclusive of supportive embodiment modalities: meditation, mentoring, community council, divination, yoga, chi-kung, breathwork, creative arts, movement, non-psychoactive medicinal plants

Apprentice Gatekeeper Training

Cycle through the Medicine Wheel comprised of 5 Elemental Bodies – Fire, Water, Earth, Nature, & Stone.

BEZA’s Training Mandala

Apprentices devote their activity and attention to the medicinal power of one Elemental Body per module.

Each Elemental Body has particular medicines related to every manifestation of mind, body and spirit – thoughts, emotions, aspirations, abundance, sustainability, health and freedom, etc.

  • Personal development within a spiritual community
  • Integrative training supported by Level II & III students
  • 80hrs contact time per elemental module
  • Apprentice Level I Initiation – all 5 Modules (400hrs)
  • Student Level II Gatekeeper Training (+400hrs)
  • Teacher Level III Certification (+800hrs)
  • Schedule designed to accommodate the working parent
  • Spacious time between modules for Integration (link)
  • Modules track 2 moon cycles (approx. 56 days of assimilation and dissemination of illumination)
  • Inclusive of supportive embodiment modalities: meditation, mentoring, community council, divination, yoga, chi-kung, breathwork, creative arts, movement, non-psychoactive medicinal plants

Module Training Schedule

Each Module starts on the first Saturday at 3PM after a New Moon, and concludes on the 7th Sunday at 5PM after the second Full Moon. ALL TIMES (SAST).

Example of a typical Module Calendar:

Detail of content and times:

Walking with the Moon

Each Module tracks two lunar cycles. The first full cycle of the moon focussed on you – the self. The second cycle focusses on your relationships. During the New Moon phase (accumulation) we harness the illumination energy of the moon, shining a light on what needs to come into awareness. The Full Moon phase (dissemination) releases our newly acquired insights into the body of our being, and the world, for integration.  

Intro to the Element (First Saturday 3-5pm and Sunday 10-12pm after a New Moon) REQUIRED

Intro to the Elemental Body- Meet your cohort of Elemental Initiates and begin the initiation with an intro to the Elemental Module.

Nangaku will frame the Module ahead and ceremonially open the training. Next, on Sunday morning a deeper discussion will ensue and you will be given certain practices and assignments for the next steps on your journey – how to begin to work with the element in all the various intersecting points throughout the Module.

Community Council Training (First Monday after the Intro: 7-9pm) REQUIRED

The Art of Council (Talking Circle) Training – After completing the training you are invited to participate every Wednesday evening from 6-9pm in our talking circle called Community Council.

Here is where you get to share in the liberating practice of sharing and thereby detaching your story. All communication is a process of sharing and receiving experiences and perspectives. Council training introduces you to effective communication tools which have been studied and perfected for thousands of years.

Upon completion of LEVEL II Training you are qualified to train others in the Art of Council.

Elemental Meditation Instruction (First Tuesday after the Intro: 7-9pm) REQUIRED

You will receive training to meditate with the Element of the Module from 7-9pm. Practice a Taoist/Zen meditation technology where the Element at hand becomes the focus of your investigation learning how the Element’s energy constellates in your body, mind and spirit.

Thereafter you are encouraged to join the Mon–Fri morning zazen sessions (7-8am) and the Tue & Thu evening sessions (8-9pm).

Upon completion of LEVEL II Training you are qualified to teach Introduction to Zazen & Elemental Meditation Instruction.

Weekly Community Council (Every Wednesday 7-9pm) – Highly Recommended

Meet with BEZA community members and learn to listen and speak from the heart in these powerful community-building Talking Circles. A chosen theme related to the element being studied will guide the council. While Community Councils are optional they are recommended as a powerful integration practice for you to practice what you have learned in your daily life.

Daily Meditation (Mon-Fri 7-8am; Tue & Thu 8-9pm) – Highly Recommended

Once trained you are encouraged to join all or our morning online Zazen sessions which occur Monday – Friday from 7-8am; and our evening sessions which occur Tuesdays & Thursdays from 8-9pm)

Nature-Based Wisdom Teachings (3 x 2hr sessions – scheduled on every other Monday evening from 7-9pm TBD) - REQUIRED

Together with your cohort we review how each initiate is progressing with the assigned work, answer questions, and offer further instruction on the specific Element in preparation for the self-directed healing rituals you perform in alignment with the moon’s lunation phase.

Self-Directed Healing Rituals (3 x rituals scheduled after the Full & New Moons) - REQUIRED

Self-Directed Healing Rituals are ceremonies performed by you on and with Mother Earth, your ancestors and the Great Spirit. They are akin to sacred acupuncture sessions performed on our collective, universal body where you, by way of your ceremonial intent and practical gestures, perform a ritual marking a transformational crossing of a threshold on your spiritual journey.

Private Heart Mentoring Sessions (x2 sessions per module scheduled by you) – Highly Recommended

Heart-Mentoring Sessions: As a LEVEL I Initiate you will receive 2 private on-line mentoring sessions per module. This is an important opportunity to work directly with Nangaku and co-facilitators to orient you and discuss progress on your spiritual journey.

Private Divination Session (x1 per module scheduled by you) – highly Recommended

Private Divination Session: You have the opportunity to have a divination during the module. Divination is a consultation with the Spirit World where invisible information is made visible to you in the form of a stone and bone reading. This is an auspicious meeting which results in deep healing, validating of what you already know, and bringing you into alignment and connection to the depths of your mind, body & spirit.

Zen Meditation Instruction (Third Tuesday after the Intro: 7-9pm) REQUIRED

Zen Meditation Instruction – You will receive training in the initial practice of zen meditation (zazen) from 7-8pm. Thereafter you are encouraged to join the Mon–Fri morning zazen sessions (7-8am) and the Tue & Thu evening sessions (8-9pm).

Upon completion of LEVEL II Training you are qualified to teach Introduction to Zazen & Elemental Meditation Instruction.

Closing Circle (7th Sunday after the Intro 3-5pm) – REQUIRED

At this Closing Circle we hear from our cohort about each person’s experience and journey and share closing remarks. A Closing Ceremony will be held which ends the Module’s Elemental Training. The following two weeks, before the next module begins, are used for integrating and practicing all you have learned.

Who are the Gatekeepers?

Gatekeepers are shamanic practitioners whose function is to purify the energies they let in and out of their being.

By attuning, cleansing, and bringing these energies into balance, Gatekeepers become the Wisdom Keepers of the World. 

Gatekeeper’s are initiates of the 5 Elemental Bodies of the Medicine Wheel. We are the body of Mother Earth from whom we originate.

A Gatekeeper upholds integrity and responsibility in all relationships – professional and personal. They serve the transformational power of love for the benefit of all beings.

Topics covered on your journey around the Medicine Wheel

Transformation of Self

Discover your true potential and regain sovereignty over your spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical intelligence.

Buddhist & Indigenous Wisdom

Learn timeless practices passed down through generations from an initiated elder, Buddhist priest and shaman.

Connection with Nature

Reconnect with the essence, diversity of expression, and limitless wisdom of Mother Earth. Open the gates to the natural guidance of your innate wisdom.

Elemental Mastery

Remember deep insights into the five elemental bodies of the Medicine Wheel, unlocking profound wisdom and understanding.

Zen Buddhism

Through the Buddhist teachings of the 4 Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, Precepts and Zazen Meditation open to the infinite enormity of your particular originality and immediacy of presence.

Shamanic Practices

Experience transformative and holistic shamanic practices through ritual, initiations, community council, practical spirituality, ancestral healing, and divination.

Energy Purification

Learn to purify and balance your energy and the energy that surrounds you and become a Gatekeeper of these sacred teachings and their healing potential.

Join the training cycle at the beginning of any Elemental Module.

Every 12 months we complete and restart a cycle of training  around the medicine wheel.

Body of Visionary FIRE

13 January – 25 February

Work with what inspires – your dreams, aspirations and passion for life. Transmute all that stands in the way of your spiritual potential. Channel your purpose into realities that align with your truth. In this gateway you work with light & vision; alchemical illumination; dreams & myth; divination; and ancestral healing.

Body of Compassionate WATER

9 March – 21 April

Learn harmonising techniques – how to sense and relate to others. Access your emotional intelligence. Navigate the complexities of human and non-human relationships. Acquire the skills of meditation; compassion; resonance; resolving dilemma; and shadow work.

Body of Grounded EARTH

4 May – 16 June

Remain centred during periods of powerful transformation. Be available (no matter the situation) with ever increasing love while a truer, anchored you emerges. Learn about grounding; abundance and karma; cycles; healing power of Love; and divine masculine & feminine.

Body of NATURE’s Medicine

3 August – 15 September

Read the signs around you. Meet unpredictability with authenticity and curiosity. Trust your medicine to meet revolutionary moments with truth. In this Body we study medicine gifts; transformation; the trickster; authentic expression; transformation; shapeshifting and truth.

Body of Creative STONE

5 October – 17 November

How to effectively communicate – teach, lead and create the systems necessary to connect with others. Express your life’s purpose and build supportive networks. Work with communication; power structure; manifestation; motivation, goals & quests; and story keeping.

Mentor

Glenn Nangaku Leisching

Glenn Nangaku Leisching, a student of Suzuki Seido Roshi of Tōshōji Training Monastery in Japan, is working with the first generation of students to establish a Sōtō Zen training center on the African Continent.

Nangaku, the founder of Born as the Earth School, is a Zen monk who has taken vows to liberate all beings. He is an initiated elder & shaman, meditation teacher, mentor, diviner and writer, and has studied with Zen masters, indigenous shamans, psychotherapists and mythologists for over 35 years.

Spiritual awakenings took Nangaku on a quest across the globe to find the golden thread uniting all spiritual traditions. While living in the USA he ran several environmentally sustainable businesses and founded Earth School. After returning to South Africa he began offering authentic spiritual training in the Stanford area of the Western Cape where he has planted over 10,000 trees.

He has guided students in reclaiming their natural sovereignty. A lifetime of experience allows him to meet students at any stage of their journey and offer appropriate tools to birth their full potential.

Apprentice Mentor

Raine Waring

Raine Waring is training with Earth School as an apprentice student-facilitator. She has always had a strong connection to Self and Spirit. Since July 2021, Raine has been in deep study of Nature’s Wisdom and Zen Buddhism. She has worked closely with Nangaku along her spiritual path that has led her to radical self-discovery and realisation.

Apprentice Mentor

Gill O’Sullivan

I have a deep curiosity about the interconnectedness of emotional, physical, and spiritual health, and have delved into various personal growth and healing modalities, including studying psychology, aromatherapy, homoeopathy, embodiment, dance, and PSYCH-K.

My meditation journey began 25 years ago, and I have deepened and expanded my practice since joining Born as the Earth Zen Academy in January 2023. I've always had a close connection with nature, and believe that my health and healing and the health of our beautiful planet are interconnected and intertwined. My Gatekeeper Apprentice training with BEZA has fostered a greater understanding of the natural elements, and I’m inspired to continue my training and deepen my connection to nature and, in this way, myself.

I’m committed to this journey of mindfulness, self-knowledge, healing, growth and sustainability, and feel privileged to be mentored by Nangaku and the Born as the Earth Zen Academy community.

Not Ready for Advanced Training?

Get introduced to BEZA’s community and various Gateways. Begin your empowerment in any of our daily, weekly, or monthly offerings.

For example, attend our daily meditation sessions or our weekly talking circles, later progressing through the Apprentice Training levels and onto our Teacher Training Path.
Anyone feeling the call to heal, grow, or expand is invited to participate in the various offerings throughout the month.

Zazen Meditation Training >         Community Council Training >         Heart Mentoring >         Divinations >         Weekend Retreats >

We plant a tree for the first event / training you attend. We help restore your inner- and outer-environment.

FAQ’S

The program is free. What is Dana and why are we asking for it?

True Wisdom teachings are priceless. The Wisdom Teachings you will receive are beyond commodification. They have taken years of study and verification to compile and have been received at great personal cost by myself and my teachers. They are generously offered to you without charge. This is BEZA’s gift to you – it is our Dana.

We invite you to practice Dana in the same way, inviting you to offer your Dana in exchange to maintain balanced reciprocity.
Be assured, practicing generosity will serve you well, and generate abundance in your life.
What is the time commitment required to participate?

These are the specific times for you to commit to and connect with the online training:

The first Saturday from 3-5pm and the First Sunday from 10-12pm (4hrs).

After this introductory weekend you will have instructions to explore the Element throughout your day and week. How much time you can dedicate to this exploration is dependent on your capacity.

The Monday that follows from 7-9pm is Talking Circle Training (2hrs).

After this training you are free to attend as many Circles as you can which happen every Wednesday evening from 6-8pm.

The Tuesday that follows is Zen Meditation Training from 7-9pm (2hrs).

Thereafter you are welcome to attend any or all of the meditation sessions in the morning and evening.

We will collectively decide (according to every participant’s schedule) the best time for another Element Teaching (2hrs).

At this session you will be guided in ways to deepen your connection to the Element.

Schedule your own private mentoring sessions (x2) at a time that suites you (1hr each).

Schedule your own divination session at a time that suites you (2hrs).

Outside these time-slots you will have some homework to do. Work that is easily filtered into your day and weekend. The work is about integrating the awareness and study of the Element in your daily life.

There will be a personal ceremony/ritual for you to do in private, preferably in Nature. It could be anywhere from an hour to 6 hours depending on how or what you design for yourself.

Is this program academic or theoretical?

Not at all. While there will be profound guidance transmitted to you via a presentation, the entire Month-long investigation is hands-on, practical and self-directed. Its important for you to have an embodied experience – direct contact with the nature of the Element. The entire training is designed this way – not to transmit information, but rather invite self-discovery through personal exploration of yourself in relation to the Element.

What happens during the private Heart Mentoring sessions?

You get to ask any questions you like. About the element, how it functions in your life, how to work with it, how its manifesting in your life at present. The facilitator will use the context of the elemental training to guide you to work with the Element directly. The coaching session is there to open the gates for your personal journey into the Element’s medicine and earn how to use it in a practical way in your life.

What is divination?

Divination has been around as long as we humans have. We use divination to make the invisible world visible. The invisible world holds what is not yet known. Through divination we receive this wisdom – it is made available for you to integrate into your journey. Nangaku uses sacred talismans, bones, stones and other amulets which become the vocal chords of the Other World. He spreads them over an Elemental Medicine Wheel. Where and how they land in relation to other items and the mandala reveals profound information for you to ingest and metabolise.

Earthen Zen

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