Santtu Heikkinen.

Hi! I’m Santtu!

I’ve been a bit of a scholar of spiritual and mystical traditions for many years, with my focus on Buddhadharma in particular becoming more and more acute since late 2014. I began formal practice with a pretty sparse practice schedule, but after I underwent my first Goenka-vipassana 10-day retreat in the summer of 2016 I really switched gears and started a serious, rigorous daily practice.

I practiced mostly in the Goenka tradition for the next few years, going on several 10-day retreats and volunteering as a cook on three, coupled with the tradition’s suggested two hours a day of sitting. After reading Culadasa’s The Mind Illuminated in April 2018 I dove heavily into TMI-style practice.

In early 2019 I began a teacher training course under Culadasa, in the Passaddhi training cohort. I have since received training also from Tucker Peck, who gave me the Upasaka vows and the name Niccolaggi. Other major influences include Rob Burbea, Leigh Brasington, Ajahn Brahm and Thanissaro Bhikkhu. I’ve taught meditation and Dharma both in live and online settings since spring 2019.

I specialize in samatha-related stuff such as the brahmaviharas (metta and co.) and the jhanas, especially the material jhanas as taught by Leigh Brasington. I’m also pretty good at everyday mindfulness practices and keeping up samatha in everyday life. I find the prime motor for insight to be introspective awareness in daily life, i.e. being mindful of what’s actually going on around you and in your mind as you go about your day. I also believe samatha practices to lead pretty unavoidably to insight, and vice versa, since both styles of practice seem to require quite a bit of the other. You can’t learn to drive your mind in the way samatha requires you to learn without understanding how your mind works. Effortlessness is a major keyword both in meditation and everyday life. I also have experience with some more emphatically insight-oriented practices, especially contemplation on the three characteristics.

I also believe content-related practices that deal with the actual contents of the mind, the psychological stuff we all inevitably have to live with, to be super important complements to more traditional Buddhist practice. I’m very familiar with especially Jungian psychology and its techniques, and have also undergone some training in Focusing, a kind-of-meditative self-therapy technique I think works as a great supplement to meditation.

Other related areas of some interest and expertise include Chinese philosophy, especially Daoism and related practices, and Christian mysticism. I’ve practiced Taijiquan for six years and taught it since late 2019.

I’m a PhD student in philosophy at the University of Helsinki. My studies concern the philosophy of consciousness, with a particular focus on the mind-body-problem.

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