THE SUFI SCHOOL
Nematollahi Sultan Ali Shahi Gonabadi Sufi Order
During several years, Dr. Azmayesh has put great effort to bring forth and introduce to the world the essence of Sufism through establishment of classes and workshops in many countries such as Denmark, Germany, France, Holland, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. Since one year ago, he has founded a school in Evreux which is in Normandy, France, as a little Sufi center. Sufi students from all over the world are coming there to receive the teachings. The center is situated a little outside of Evreux in a picturesque landscape in the middle of Normandy. From outside of the center we have a view over the meadows and a little lake. The house is built in a garden and against a hill where there are some caves. One of the caves is transformed into a “chapel” as a place to run the classes, music, and meditation sessions. Gradually, with the help of the volunteer students, this center becomes a beautiful place of love, light and harmony.
WHAT IS SUFISM?
Sufism is neither a religion nor a sect, and it is not connected with any specific religion or theology. Sufism is a spiritual-mystical way of living, older than Islam and Christianity. In fact Sufism is timeless and yet actual. It is the way to your own heart, your own rhythm of life, it is a lifestyle. Each individual is composed of an existence and an essence. The latter is an evolving reality. In Sufism the focus is on evolving the essence of individuals. It is the way of inner Substantial Evolution; the development and upbringing of what is already present as possibility in each individual. It is like the development of the seed within favorable circumstances. Dr. Azmayesh introduces the path of Sufism and substantial evolution as a way, which can be followed by everybody. This way is independent from any religion, culture or race. Anybody who is asking her/himself: “who am I “, anybody who is seeking the reality of her true self, can follow this path. Sufism is a set of personal practices designed to help the follower develop hidden and unexploited capacities, with the goal of developing knowledge of the self and the visible and invisible world. In Sufism, the seeker is guided along the spiritual path to ultimately acquire the truth of her existence and a certain vision of the world and the universe, going directly into the essence of the eternal question of rediscovering her real self.
MORE ABOUT SUFISM
Sufism is the direct way to God via the heart of each individual. An important difference between the teachings of Sufism and religion is that the lessons of the Sufi students are individual and differs for different seekers. Each seeker receives individual instructions for reaching the light of God in her own heart. This is the particularity of Sufism. After the birth of Islam we have certain branches of Sufism compared to Gnosticism in Christianity and Cabbalism in Judaism. It is not possible to define the origin of Sufism, because Sufism is a branch of general mysticism and Gnosticism, which existed before the existence of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The personal quest of each individual for the light of God in her heart existed since the existence of the human being in the world.
Sufism, especially in Islam, is a method of education using certain verses of Koran revealed to Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, while he was living in Mecca. There he received certain revelations from the archangel Gabriel. These kinds of verses contained a method of spiritual exercises for developing the substantial aspects of the seekers. The basis of Sufism in Islam is this kind of organic verses. For this reason "Sufism" in general is considered as a branch of Islam, which is not correct. Each person who seeks God’s Light in his or her heart can follow the Sufi path, whether he is Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu or without any religion. This is because the "Substantial Evolution" is an inner transformation, focused on the process of soul making and away from all appearances. It has nothing to do with theology and with the external aspect of religion. It is the basis of the teachings of the prophet and of the Sufi masters. From the point of view of Sufism, each prophet is considered as a teacher and not only as a prophet.
THE METHOD OF SUBSTANTIAL EVOLUTION
The direction in which the Sufi student is going is called "The Path of Substantial Evolution". The given exercises and lessons, individual or general, in which a serious discipline is demanded, help the Sufi student to develop his substance, which is hidden in the corner of the physical heart. One can compare this evolution of the substance with the development of a little bird in an egg. In the beginning there is only a little seed, captured in a closed environment. The vibrations coming from outside, makes this seed grow and become a little bird. The closed environment, which is the shell of the egg, is its protection. However, when the bird is strong enough, it can break through the shell and it can learn to fly. Already with this comparison we are approaching the fundament on which the Sufi school is built: "the mystic rhythms and their inner vibrations". The relationship between warmth and growth, illustrates the relation between mystic rhythms and substance. To develop the hidden light of the real self, good and positive vibration is necessary. The inner music of the mystical poetries carries these positive vibrations. According to the great Sufi masters, the use of rhythms has a very important role in the teachings, spiritual evolution and self-awareness.
The inner vibration inside the music of the mystical poetry is extremely important because it possesses a secret language that affects without knowing the words or vocabulary and it directly influences the heart. World famous mystic poets like Rumi, Hafez and Shah Nematollah Vali describe this path in their own unique way. The method of using mystic rhythms for substantial evolution was first developed by Shah Nematollah Vali and contains a series of 720 rhythms, divided in 24 families. Each rhythm corresponds with the spiritual state of the Sufi student. Working with the rhythms in accordance to the instruction of Dr Azmayesh, is an important and daily aspect of the discipline of the students.
THE PURPOSE OF THE PATH OF SUBSTANTIAL EVOLUTION
The purpose of this path is to discover our true self, to bring to the surface the capacities that lie hidden inside us and to develop them. It opens the door to new spiritual dimensions, allowing us to experience true freedom in this life. It enables us to step into a source of boundless creativity. Released from gravity’s hold, we can learn to fly like birds to other realms. The purpose is to achieve unity, within us and with the rest of creation; to experience true freedom and boundless love in this life.
MORE ABOUT THE TEACHINGS
The system of teaching is based on the traditional methods of mysticism inherited from great Sufi masters in the past. In addition to the individual instructions for meditation, rhythms and exercises for concentration, the student receives general lessons in which the teacher takes the student to the “inside-world” of the phenomena in which all sciences are involved. Following the teachings the student can travel deeper and deeper into the essence of creation, in order to discover and to understand better and better the true reality of her/him self.
PROGRAM OF SUFI SCHOOL
The period of education in the Sufi school is 5 years. The lessons have theoretical as well as practical side. Each week the student receives the lessons via radio, television or the Internet. After receiving each lesson, the circle of students within each region can gather to discuss and debate about a specific subject. The practical part of each gathering is practicing the rhythms. Each year the student comes to Evreux for two workshops during the weekends and also two whole weeks. After 3 years the student chooses a subject and prepares a thesis under supervision of Dr. Azmayesh as a personal research. During the teachings and research for the thesis she will use radio, television, Internet and other sources for her research and the thesis will be prepared and submitted within two years.
THE COURSES OF THE SCHOOL
First year: Defining the faculty of intellect. In this year, the student learns to put in doubt everything but her self. Therefore, she learns that because of this, she exists (as Descartes says). She learns that intellect and "Me" are the same.
Second year: Defining the intellect (or Me) from a mystic
point of view. It is taught that "Me" or intellect are not dependent to the matter, it exists by itself. It is a potential that can be developed like a seed in a pot, "Me" carried in the body.
Third year: To distinguish between "false me" and "real me". She learns that the instinctive level, the sensorial level, looking to the world by 5 sensory, and putting her/him self in the center of this world, is being on the surface of the ocean of existence. She learns how to travel from "false me" to "real me" and becoming one with whole universe. And eventually she learns to become "no me".
In the fourth and fifth year, the student works on a thesis; a personal research under supervision of Dr. Azmayesh.
BIOGRAPHY OF DR. SEYED MOSTAFA AZMAYESH
Dr. Seyed Mostafa Azmayesh was born in Tehran (Iran) in 1952. On completion of his studies in Arabian literature and Law (Tehran 1974 to 1975), he left his native country for good in 1976 to settle down in France. In Paris he studied theology in Sorbonne University, and history of law, as well as comparative studies of Islam and Christianity at the University in Lyon. He received several certificates and two doctorate’s degrees. After having completed these academic studies he continued his research in the areas of religion, philosophy and several scientific subjects. His findings can be found in his many publications on gnosis and Sufism. Dr. Azmayesh was admitted in the lineage of initiates of the Nematollahi-Gonabadi order in 1969. This is the most popular and oldest Sufi order in Iran. This event took place in Beydukht, a small village in the north east of Iran. Parallel to his university studies Dr. Azmayesh followed the path of substantial evolution. During his stay in France several Sufi masters of the Nematollai-Gonabadi Order came to France and he availed himself of their spiritual teachings optimally.
In 1990 he received the first written authorisation for giving lectures during Sufi gatherings. Since 1991 Dr. Azmayesh regularly publishes, in cooperation with other researchers, professors and specialists in the field of mysticism, in ‘Erfan e Iran’, a periodical in Persian language.
In 2000 he received a new written authorisation from the head of the Nematollahi-Gonabadi Order, Dr. Nour Ali Tabandeh, when the latter visited Paris. On having received this authorisation Dr. Azmayesh is now authorised for a very large mystic and cultural fields. Dr. Tabandeh called Dr. Seyed Azmayesh the representative of the Nematollahi-Gonabadi Order in the four corners of the world and asked him to specifically develop and facilitate the accessibility of the essential values of Sufism to western countries. Therefore, besides being the Sufi master and teacher of this school, Dr. Azmayesh is the official representative of the Shah Nematollah Vali Gonabadi Order in Europe, Canada and the United States of America.
During the last five years Dr. Azmayesh introduced the essence of Sufism in workshops, lectures and conferences in many European countries, Canada and the United States (Berkeley 2002, U.C.L.A. 2002, San Jose in California, USA 2002, Leiden, the Netherlands 2003, Düsseldorf, Germany 2003, SOAS, London, Great Britain 2003, Seville, Spain, 2004, and Sofia, Bulgaria in 2005).
In 2002 Dr. Azmayesh founded a School of Substantial Evolution in the Netherlands. In this school the science and the practice of mystic rhythms play the central role in accordance with the methods of Shah Nematollah Vali, the great Iranian Sufi master and mystic from the 14th century.
In January 2005 he received a new written authorisation of the head of the Nematollahi-Gonabadi Order, Dr. Nour Aly Tabandeh. This authorisation is the largest written authorisation in the history of Sufism, particularly within the Nematollahi-Gonabadi Order. In this authorisation Dr.
Azmayesh is described as: ‘Teacher of spiritual seekers and developer of spirituality in this world in accordance with the needs of time and place’. In this authorisation is written: ‘You are authorised to enlarge the spirituality and culture, respecting the tradition of the path of Nematollah Vali, in accordance with the existing necessities of place and time. You are authorised to teach those people in the world who are interested according to the method of substantial evolution you now develop in your Sufi schools’.
Due to this authorisation Dr. Azmayesh is considered to be the most important reformer in the history of Sufism on the start of the 21st century. In his teachings, during gatherings and lectures, Dr. Azmayesh wishes to introduce the method of substantial evolution as well as presenting this method to as many people as possible. This method of teaching is mainly based on the secret of mystical rhythms and inner vibrations.
APPLICATION FOR THE SUFI SCHOOL
The annual fee for the teachings is 1100 euros which can be paid in 1, 2 or 4 installments. This fee covers the following:
• Two weekend workshops in each year.
• Two whole weeks staying in the school. Accommodation and meals are included. For more information and application forms please contact:
The applicants need to fill in the application form. In the application form, the applicant is supposed to express her motivation and reasons to attend the Sufi school and her expectation from the teachings and the school. Due to the limited number of spaces in the school, the admission is subjected to the acceptance of Dr. Azmayesh.