Santtu Heikkinen

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa!

 

About me

Hey! I'm Santtu, a meditation and Dharma teacher in the Buddhist tradition. I teach locally in Finland and internationally through Zoom. 

I've been teaching meditation since 2019. I've been a student of Upāsaka Culadasa, Tucker Peck, and most recently of Leigh Brasington. I received my upāsaka vows and the name Niccolaggi from Tucker. I teach a variety of practices for the cultivation of insight and a simpler, more pleasant abiding here and now, in this very life.

You may start practicing with me at any stage of your own practice, whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced. I usually teach a somewhat set curriculum of practices, but every student diverges from the course to some extent; we'll begin with the set path, but our actual exploration will always be based on your goals and interests, as well as your strengths and obstacles. We are working with your mind, and your mind is indeed unique.

 

In addition to Culadasa, Leigh, and Tucker, my biggest single influence has been Rob Burbea. Other influences include Buddhadāsa Bhikkhu, Anālayo Bhikkhu, and Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu. My practice and view on the Dharma have also been greatly affected by Chán/Zen and Dzogchen perspectives - in these schools my most important influences have been Huangbo and Hui Hai in Chán, and the great master Longchen Rabjampa in Dzogchen. Outside of Buddhadharma I have gained much from the Daoist, Christian and Hindu traditions; and outside of what is often considered strictly 'spiritual', my view and teaching partake strongly both of the Western philosophical tradition (where Plato stands as a particular beacon for me) as well as the natural sciences.

 

Some personal highlights in actual practice for me include: the Brahmavihāras (mettā, muditā, karunā and upekkhā), highly blessed and pleasant energy states of strong altruistic emotion; the jhānas, states of deeper absorption in pleasant energy without a clearly emotional component; and concentrated contemplations on the four major insights of impermanence, suffering, no-self, and emptiness. My practice curriculum also includes deep psychological exploration into the roots of one's own suffering, so as to help suffering belief dissolve itself and step into joy. 

 

In essence I promote a harmony of strong tranquillity practice, especially using manipulation of bodily and mental energies as the method, with a cultivation of insight into the nature of the mind and reality. This investigation takes the form of psychological exploration and a deep-delve into the labyrinth of your belief system, into the essential roots of your suffering, as well as your beauty and ultimately loving nature. With the culminating insight of emptiness of all things the mind is freed, and the stage of beneficial activity in the world - what is called bodhicitta, or the awakened, all-compassionate mind - becomes prominent. The path may be long or short, depending on the prior conditioning of your mind, but rest assured that I can help you get there. I can help you reach the field of ultimate potentiality and rest, where the mind rests in harmony with all.

In addition to being a meditation and dharma teacher I am also a junior researcher in philosophy at the University of Helsinki. My academic studies have concerned especially the philosophy of consciousness. I have written a concise academic exploration of panpsychism as a contemporary theory of consciousness, Panpsychism and the Combination Problem, published in 2021 by Creative Fire Press. My most recent academic work concerns contemporary formulations of idealist metaphysics - that is, views under which mind or mentality is seen as the most fundamental ground of reality.

 

I  have practiced taijiquan since 2014 and have taught it as an assistance teacher since late 2019. I'm pretty versed in depth psychology and transpersonal psychology, especially Jungian perspectives. I studied kundalini yoga for several years from 2015 to 2018, though have since left that practice behind. I hold great respect for all spiritual traditions, since I feel - with great certainty - that at their core they all speak of and to the same thing. With these words I pay homage to all those before and after me, co-occurring with me, who have reached peace and understanding. Homage to all the holy ones!

WhatsApp Image 2021-09-14 at 00.06_edite
 

"In knowing fully the thorough voidness of this and that, of then and now, of there and here, this heart opens in joy, in awe and release. Free itself, it knows the essential freedom in everything."

Rob Burbea
Seeing That Frees

 
 

Book a time with me

You can use the Calendly app embedded here to book a time with me. You can also send me an email message directly at niccolaggi@gmail.com. Since I don't use Calendly exclusively bookings have to be occasionally rescheduled, but in that case I'll let you know. If you book a time here and don't hear from me at all, rest assured that I am going to send you a Zoom link to our meeting sooner or later - hopefully sooner!

All my teaching is done on a semi-voluntary dāna basis. What this means in practice is that if you have the means to give any dāna comfortably, it is very welcome. The amount, though, is up to you. It should feel relatively easy to give, comfortable, not like a sacrifice; something you want to give to me, not something forced. It's a great practice in healthy generosity in its own right. What you essentially want to do here is to avoid the extremes of stinginess and sacrifice.

If, however, you are genuinely very poor, just tell me and you won't have to give anything.

In any case I suggest you wait until after the meeting to decide how you feel about dāna. :)

If you want me to update you on retreats, recordings, and other things I'm doing or organizing, feel free to join the mailing list!

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Upcoming retreats, courses etc.
Online Retreat
28th November - 4th December 2022
Zoom

I'm teaching an online retreat from November 28th to December 4th via Zoom. Online retreats are not as intimate and quite as intense as residential retreats, but they still provide practitioners strong support for more rigorous practice as well as some sense of community. :)

Participants practice at home conditions or some other rental location of their choice. A schedule is provided for all participants, with mandatory ~20 to 30 minute one-on-one interviews every other day. In addition there will be a mandatory Dharma talk and/or Q&A every evening, European time.

I am based in Europe myself, but this should not discourage you from attending even if you are located somewhere else. We will make it work - participants in the Americas, for example, will just have their interviews in the morning instead of the afternoon, and the Dharma talk in turn will be in their afternoon instead of the evening. Participants from far East Asia and Oceania might have some difficulties with the schedule in the sense that the Dharma talk will be very late at night - but if you feel up to it, you are very welcome to come along. :)

You are free to practice whatever techniques you wish on the retreat, and I'll do my best to help you. The Dharma talks themselves will most likely concern the foundations of meditation and the goals of practice; the role of energy work and psychological content work on the path; the nature of liberation and Nirvāṇa; and the interplay of emptiness and compassion as the fabric of that liberation.

 

The teaching itself is based on dāna, donations of a voluntary size, so there are no set costs involved. 

If you're interested, send me an email at niccolaggi@gmail.com! :)

 
Media

For examples of the kind of stuff I teach in writing, check out my Reddit comments: https://www.reddit.com/user/Adaviri

I am about to write a more extensive version of my take on Dharma some time in the next few years. I have started this project several times but have always found my own insight lacking. I feel I am getting closer to something worth sharing at the moment. I welcome questions about the project, so if you want to ask about it, send me an email! :)

This is a talk on the varieties of meditative practice I gave as part of a retreat at Lammi in September 2022. It's a more concise and refined version of the 'fivefold practice' model I discussed at VRMystery School a year ago. I feel this would be a good watch especially for intermediate practitioners, but advanced folks should find something interesting in it as well! :)

This four-part playlist consists of recordings of my Dharma talks from a retreat held in Lammi, Finland, in May 2022. The talks are relatively advanced and touch on many central topics in Dharma: emptiness, the nature of liberation and nirvāṇa, the role of love and beauty on the path, the causes of suffering and the impossibility of "real" suffering, how to work with the mind for insight, and many others. I strongly suggest this series to anyone interested in my take on Dharma and for all advanced students in Buddhism. At least talks 2 to 4 should be watched in order for them to make the most sense.

The three videos in this playlist form a recording of a seven-hour lecture on Buddhist practice and philosophy I gave at VR Mystery School in September 2021. It can serve as a pretty good primer for all this stuff! Many thanks to the school and their headmaster TarotReaderFrog for hosting me and recording and editing the videos!