Two-Year Nyingma Studies Program

Two-year Nyingma Studies Program

Description: This program is designed to allow you to sample teachings from all areas of Nyingma studies, coming to a more comprehensive and deeper knowledge of the Nyingma tradition. Working closely with an advisor, you will select courses from any of the following, with a focus on intermediate and advanced offerings: Nyingma Meditation, Kum Nye (Tibetan Yoga), Nyingma Psychology, Time, Space, and Knowledge, Skillful Means, Nyingma Practices, Tibetan Language and Dharma Studies. You may choose to concentrate on a single area, such as Nyingma Meditation or Tibetan Language or you may choose studies in several different areas.

Objective: Depending on your course selections, upon completion of this program you will have a foundational understanding of the basic areas of Nyingma studies.

Length: 2 to 4 years

Hours: 256

Program components: Classes, workshops, and retreat from the lists below for a total of 256 contact hours.

Program Cost: $2,750. May be paid in quarterly ($344) or monthly ($115) installments.

Choose classes from the following list:* 

NPR102 Devotional Chanting

Chanting Buddhist prayers opens the mind to new dimensions of consciousness and meaning. This course combines chanting with viewing the powerful images found in Tibetan art and discussing their symbolic meaning. Students will be introduced to important prayers and images.

NPR105 Sacred Sites, Symbols, and Teachings 

This course explores the teachings and stories connected with the major holy places of the Buddha. Students will also learn about the images and symbols that are associated with Buddhist holy places.

NPR106 Symbols in Tibetan Sacred Art

Deeply symbolic, the forms and colors found in Tibetan Buddhist art express a ‘vocabulary’ of the sacred. In this class, full-color slides illuminate Tibetan symbolism.

NPR107 Tibetan Teachings on Death and Dying (5 weeks)

The Tibetan Buddhist tradition gives detailed instructions on how to prepare for death. This class will present an overview of some of these teachings and descriptions of the ‘bardo,’ the state between incarnations.

NPR108 Special Topics in Nyingma Practices

Drawing on a literature that spans a thousand years, a variety of Nyingma Practices will be introduced.

NPR109 Healing through Sacred Art (5 Weeks)

Accessible to our senses, the intricate shapes and colors of sacred art invite us to a source of wellness that is ever-fresh and available. This course presents images of the Buddha, including the Medicine Buddha, along with practices that can help tap into their special power.

MED201 Intermediate Meditation: Sustaining Meditation

This class is for students who have begun a meditation practice and are ready for further guidance and inspiration. The goal is to sustain effortless meditative concentration. Prerequisite: one year of meditation experience or consent of Instructors.

MED202 Intermediate Meditation: Overcoming Obstacles

In this class students will learn to identify and overcome the most common obstacles to meditation: sleepiness, overactive thoughts, and ‘dreaminess.’ The class also includes practices and teachings that further develop concentration and awareness. Prerequisite: one year of meditation experience or consent of Instructors

MED203 Intermediate Meditation: Meditations to Open the Heart

Genuine satisfaction, love, and beauty are found within the heart. Silent and guided meditations open the heart to feeling in this class. Students develop new integrity and balance. Prerequisite: one year of meditation experience or consent of Instructors.

MED204 Intermediate Meditation: Discovering Mind

Through meditation the mind is experienced as alive, sensitive, and brilliant. In this class, students will be led through contemplative practices that reveal deeper levels of mind than are ordinarily recognized. Prerequisite: one year of meditation experience or consent of Instructors.

MED205 Intermediate Meditation: Knowing Mind Differently

Meditation opens up the field of philosophical inquiry, revealing new facets and dimensions of mind and consciousness. In this experiential philosophy course, ideas presented by great European and Tibetan philosophers are investigated in light of meditation practice. Prerequisite: one year of meditation experience or consent of Instructors.

MED206 Experiencing Openness

Students look directly at the patterns of thought that trap them in tension and frustration, and work with practices to loosen and relax old strategies. Meditative techniques emphasize opening to a new way of being in the world. Prerequisite: two years of meditation experience or consent of Instructors.

MED207 The Deepening Stream

As students continue to deepen practice, they learn meditative practices to ‘unfreeze’ stuck places, allowing inner energy to flow. The goal is to move beyond the polarity of fascination and anxiety into an integrated awareness. Prerequisite: two years of meditation experience or consent of Instructors.

MED208 Reality and Illusion

What is a dream? What is reality? Students work with meditative practices that challenge the basic notions of being. The goal is to begin to be aware of the continuity of experience. Prerequisite: two years of meditation experience or consent of Instructors.

MED209 Shamatha and Vipashyana

Two aspects of meditative practice, shamatha (calming) and vipashyana (insight) quiet the wild energies of mind and clarify the confusion created by ignorance. Students practice classic meditations with a minimum of instruction. Prerequisite: two years of meditation experience or consent of instructor.

MED301 Advanced Meditation

Advanced meditation teachings are based on traditional Tibetan texts. Students are introduced to new techniques that increase mindfulness and insight as they deepen the meditative experience of bliss and openness. The focus this quarter is on introducing new modes of non-conceptual study. Prerequisite: three years of meditation experience and consent of Instructor.

MED302 Advanced Meditation

Continued study of traditional texts with appropriate meditative exercises. The focus this quarter is on increasing student’s ability to meditate for longer periods of time without distraction. Prerequisite: three years of meditation experience and consent of Instructor.

MED303 Advanced Meditation

Continued study of traditional texts with appropriate meditative exercises. The focus is on bringing meditation into all areas of conscious experience. Prerequisite: three years of meditation experience and consent of Instructor.

MED304 Advanced Meditation

Study of traditional philosophical texts with appropriate meditative exercises. The focus is on increasing insight into consciousness and widening vision. Prerequisite: three years of meditation experience and consent of Instructor.

MED305 Advanced Meditation

Concentrated and advanced study of a single advanced meditation topic, such as the four energy centers, experience of time, or healing through meditation. Prerequisite: three years of meditation experience and consent of Instructor.

MED308 Special Topics in Advanced Meditation

Special techniques presented in this course are based primarily on the Tibetan oral tradition or on texts for which there is no current published English translation. Prerequisite: three years of meditation experience and consent of Instructor.

KNR201 Intermediate Kum Nye: Inner and Outer Massage of Feeling

This class provides a foundation for understanding the basis and development of Kum Nye, and the three levels on which its exercises can be experienced. Breathing, awareness, movement, and self-massage practices promote deep relaxation. Prerequisite: one year of Kum Nye practice.

KNR202 Intermediate Kum Nye: Balancing and Integrating Body and Mind

Kum Nye exercises are introduced that allow feelings and sensations to flow more freely within and between body and mind. Students reach a more natural state of balance. Prerequisite: one year of Kum Nye practice.

KNR203 Intermediate Kum Nye: Stimulating Inner Energy

When inner energy is flowing smoothly, there is health and vitality. This class works with exercises that stimulate the free flow of inner energy. Prerequisite: one year of Kum Nye practice.

KNR204 Intermediate Kum Nye: Opening the Energy Centers

Practices in this class stimulate awareness of the ‘energy centers’ of the head, throat, heart, and belly. Tension in these areas is loosened. Prerequisite: one year of Kum Nye practice.

KNR205 Intermediate Kum Nye: Transforming Inner Energy

Intermediate practices for this Quarter activate and balance inner energy, harmonizing body, mind, and environment. Practice leads to greater mental and physical vitality. Prerequisite: one year of Kum Nye practice.

KNR301 Advanced Kum Nye

Advanced Kum Nye movement, breath, and visualization practices from Tarthang Tulku’s Joy of Being form the core of this class. Exercises will be offered on different levels of engagement in order to challenge the advanced student. Each quarter will focus on a different set of practices. May be repeated, since content changes. Prerequisite: two years of Kum Nye practice.

KOF101 Alternatives to Dissatisfaction

We can find a new way of being in the world, one that leads away from dissatisfaction and toward the knowledge we need to live a meaningful life. Based on Knowledge of Freedom.

KOF102 Awakening Knowledge

Reaching out for fulfillment feeds endless longing. And inward grasping—even in the search for knowledge—yields nothing truly new. Trying too hard, and in the wrong way, we separate ourselves for our heart’s delight. In this course, students look at the process of self-deception; in doing so, they become undeceived. Based on Knowledge of Freedom.

KOF103 Penetrating the Dynamic of Pain

If we allow ourselves the freedom to question and observe our experience, we discover new dimensions and approaches that will enrich our lives and prepare us for the changes to come. This course teaches us to use the mind as an “inner laboratory” where we can penetrate the dynamic of pain to reveal the endless riches of knowledge. Based on Knowledge of Freedom.

KOF104 Education for a New World

Our current times present us with an unprecedented number of questions, conflicts, and challenges. We can educate ourselves to bring new currents of insight to bear on these problems, nourishing our inner being and attuning ourselves to a fundamental sense of beauty and order. Based on Knowledge of Freedom.

NPS101 Healing Mind

Mind can reflect immense beauty, love, and clarity, but mind can also weave an intricate web of suffering. This course is designed to increase self-understanding and to heal mind through experiential investigation into its structures and functions. Topics include: emotions as hidden knowledge, conflict and self-image, and reclaiming the heart.

NPS106 Nyingma Gateway: Love of Knowledge

This course was designed by Tarthang Tulku to introduce a new way of understanding love and knowledge. Unique meditation, movement, and awareness practices blend with lecture and discussion and become a gateway to understanding the Tibetan Nyingma approach to life.

NPS201 Path of Self-Mastery

The human heart and mind have the power to recover integrity and depth. The path of self-mastery frees one from the self-imposed demons of emotionality. In this class, passages from the words of the Buddha illustrate and deepen the teachings and practices of Nyingma Psychology. Class may be repeated as content changes.

NPS202 Inner Mandala

The intricate forms of the Tibetan mandala reveal a multilayered world of meaning. Each color, image, and design speaks in a symbolic language designed to lead the viewer to deeper levels of awareness, appreciation, and understanding. The message is compelling: our ‘ordinary’ way of being, with its attendant pain and suffering, can be totally transformed. In this class, the symbolic form of the mandala will be a lens through which we view emotions, perceptions, and actions.

DHS101 Words of the Buddha

The Buddha expressed an enlightened wisdom that has been preserved in thirty-six Tibetan volumes known as the Kanjur. This course offers readings and reflections on selections from the Buddha’s words. The particular texts studied will vary and this course may be repeated with the Instructors’ consent.

DHS102 Tibetan Sacred Texts

Through poetry, story, exposition, biography, and history Tibetan writers convey the power and beauty of the teachings of enlightenment. This course presents selections from Tibetan texts, focusing on timeless themes of wisdom and compassion. The particular texts studied will vary and this course may be repeated with the Instructors’ consent.

DHS103 Yogins of Tibet

Tibet was known for its accomplished yogins—men and women who lived simply, dedicating themselves wholly to reaching the heights of realization. Reading their stories and writings, we understand how they won the hearts of the Tibetan people.

DHS104 Teachings for Difficult Times

Throughout the ages, Buddhist masters have faced and overcome enormous difficulties. The stories of their lives can inspire and inform our own efforts to transform difficulties. This course will present meditations to calm the mind (shamatha) as well as discussion on how mindfulness and other teachings can give us the strength to face inner and outer obstacles.

DHS105 Depths of Experience

A new vision of being emerges as we examine the constituents of body/mind/world. We question the “self” and refine our ability to inquire and examine. Prerequisite: consent of Instructor.

DHS106 The Great Vision of the Mahayana

The stages of the Mahayana path will be explored through studying teachings on openness and compassion, the six paramitas, and the vows of the Bodhisattva. Prerequisite: consent of Instructor.

DHS107 Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha

The gentleness, serenity, and compassion found in the Buddha’s path are based on a fundamental realization that self-centered grasping leads only to suffering. This five-week course introduces basic teachings and practices that lead to a more peaceful, joyful way of life.

DHS108 Faith, Doubt, and Inquiry

How do we balance open-minded inquiry with the calm certainty of faith? In this five-week course students analyze the meaning of faith, inquiry, and doubt from a Buddhist perspective.

DHS204 Four Foundations of Mindfulness

The Buddha taught that mindfulness—the steady and sustained contemplation of the body, feelings, mind, and phenomena—leads to wisdom. Training in these “Four Foundations of Mindfulness” leads to an unshakably present state of mind and is the foundation for further study and practice. Prerequisite: DHS203 or equivalent.

DHS211 Buddhist Studies Tutorial

In this intermediate and advanced tutorial, students closely read primary sources, which can include Indian Buddhist works in translation (such as the Bodhicharyavatara) or Tibetan Buddhist works such as the Ngal-gso-skor-gsum. If a text or commentary has not been published in English translation the instructor will provide a translation of the sections of the text relevant to the class. Class may be repeated as content changes quarterly.

DHS212 Special Topics in Intermediate and Advanced Dharma Studies

Includes topics such as the four thoughts that turn the mind to the Dharma, the Four Noble Truths, the history of Dharma, and the major philosophical schools. May be repeated as content changes. Prerequisite: DHS101-105 or equivalent, or consent of Instructors.

SKM211 Inward Exploration

The first quarter of a new four-quarter series, is concerned with useful thought and enhancing mind. We explore aspects of mind that can enhance our abilities and increase confidence.

SKM212 Exploring Mind's Frameworks

Concentrating on the content and sequencing of thought, and focusing on mind's ways of conducting speech and action, we can resolve some of mind's most central mysteries. Watching closely, we discern distinct styles of mind and infer capabilities, limitations and constraints. Seeking to release constraints and move beyond limitations, we are rewarded by new understanding and key insights.

SKM213 Pioneering Inwardly

We can invest our energy in cultivating mind, creating a friendly and productive home in which life and work will flourish. Choosing a setting of wholesome discipline, we allow straightforward styles of thought to take the place of ancient tangled patterns. Step by step, we work on beneficial enhancements.

SKM214 Skillful Means: Working Well Together

Good communication and empathy are at the heart of working well with others. This course utilizes innovative exercises and ideas that enhance individual creativity in an atmosphere of honest good will.

TSK108 Time, Space, and Knowledge: Perspectives and Practices

This course provides students interested in becoming acquainted with Tarthang Tulku’s open and visionary teaching of Time, Space, and Knowledge (TSK) a basic orientation to the ways of TSK practice and a useful understanding of the vision’s conceptual concerns. May be repeated since content changes.

TIB101 Beginning Tibetan, Level I

The alphabet is introduced along with pronunciation, basic grammar, and vocabulary.

TIB102 Beginning Tibetan, Level II

Using examples and short selections from texts, students continue working with grammar and syntax. Prerequisite: Beginning Tibetan, Level I or consent of Instructor.

TIB103 Beginning Tibetan, Level III

Students begin to master the ability to read classical written Tibetan using selection from texts. Prerequisite: Beginning Tibetan, Level II or consent of Instructor.

TIB104 Beginning Tibetan, Level IV

Continued reading and grammar. Prerequisite: Beginning Tibetan, Level III or consent of Instructor.

TIB105 Beginning Tibetan, Level V

Continued reading and grammar. Prerequisite: Beginning Tibetan, Level IV or consent of Instructor.

TIB201 Intermediate Tibetan, Level I

Readings from the Diamond Sutra introduce students to the style of Buddhist Sutras, translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan. Prerequisite: TIB101-105 or equivalent, or consent of Instructor.

TIB202 Intermediate Tibetan, Level II

Readings from Jataka tales show the beauty of Tibetan story-telling. Prerequisite: TIB201 or equivalent, or consent of Instructor.

TIB203 Intermediate Tibetan, Level III

Readings from selected longer texts illustrate the different styles of Tibetan literature. Prerequisite: TIB202 or equivalent, or consent of Instructor.

TIB204 Intermediate Tibetan, Level IV

Readings from Tibetan poetry. Prerequisite: TIB203 or equivalent, or consent of Instructor.

TIB205 Intermediate Tibetan, Level V

Short, selected readings. Prerequisite: TIB204 or equivalent, or consent of Instructor.

TIB301 Tibetan Tutorial

The Tibetan tutorial introduces students to translating Tibetan. Longer philosophical and practice texts are read with substantial in-class participation from students. May be repeated since content changes. Prerequisite: TIB201-205 or equivalent, or consent of Instructors.

Choose workshops from the following list:*

NPR403 Devotional Practices

Opening the heart through ritual and visualization has been shown to awaken inner confidence and expand spiritual awareness. In this workshop a variety of traditional devotional practices will be taught.

NPR404 Chanting the Twenty-one Praises of Tara

The compassionate Bodhisattva Tara has a special place in Tibetan Buddhist practice, and her most famous prayer, The Twenty-one Praises of Tara, is said to bring immediate blessings and protection. This workshop will teach students how to chant the prayer in Tibetan, and will describe the meaning and associated visualization practices.

NPR405 The Bardo is Now!

Special meditation practices in Tibetan Buddhism are associated with the bardo, the period between death and rebirth. Nyingma masters instruct us not to wait until this difficult time, but instead to see change—death and rebirth—in every new moment. This workshop presents practices designed to heighten our ability to make positive choices at crucial times in our lives. Prerequisite: 1 year meditation experience or consent of the Instructor.

NPR406 Medicine Buddha Practice

Tibetan healing mantras and visualizations that evoke the blessings of the Medicine Buddha have been used for centuries to cure illness and increase well-being. This workshop offers instructions in traditional Medicine Buddha practices. (Counts as 2 workshops)

NPR407 Tibetan Sacred Art Workshop

Tibetan sacred art has been used for centuries to heal and balance the mind and the body. This workshop balances viewing slides and images from Tibetan art with lecture and instruction on how to awaken our sense of vision through sacred art. Visualization, mantra, and drawing practices are introduced.

NPR408 Special Topics in Nyingma Practices

This workshop offers special topics in Nyingma Practices based on the textual and experiential tradition.

NPR409 Transitions as Teachers

Times of transition present unique opportunities to make fundamental changes. Although they are universal, the most powerful transitions—death, illness, loss—are often deeply feared. This workshop presents ways to cultivate an awareness of both small and large transitions as positive and natural forces of creativity. Letting go of the fear of transformation, we discover within transitions new beginnings and vast possibilities. Prerequisite: 1 year of meditation experience.

NPR410 Dream Yoga and Authentic Communication

Meditation and visualization exercises from the Tibetan tradition bring a special awareness into the dream state that helps us to use dreams to cultivate insight. Practices will be introduced that stimulate lucid dreaming, along with exercises that release tension in the head and neck, enhancing our ability to listen well and speak truly. (Counts as two workshops.)

MED404 Unlocking Consciousness

Concentrating on an ancient Buddhist symbol for awareness, we catalyze meditation practice through visualization and mantra. Levels of consciousness emerge that are beyond words and labels.

MED408 Joy of Being

This workshop celebrates our capacity to discover liberating knowledge. It includes instruction from Buddhist Studies, Nyingma Psychology, Tibetan Yoga, and the Time, Space, and Knowledge vision.

MED409 Silent Mind; Peaceful Mind

By letting go of expectations the mind becomes silent, peaceful, and aware. Meditation practices that transform mental experience can lead to this form of perfect equanimity. Prerequisite: 1 year of meditation experience, or consent of the Instructor.

MED410 Ground of Being 

Advanced meditation contacts states of mind free from desires and conflicting emotions. ‘Mind’ is directly experienced as a process emerging from the ground of being. Workshop includes Kunzhi practices and a brief introduction to the Yogachara school of Buddhist thought. Prerequisite: 3 years of meditation experience, or consent of the Instructor

MED411 Nectar for Refining the Mind

Advanced meditation techniques combine with discussion of the “great armor” of emptiness, freedom, and openness as it is described in the Prajnaparamita. Prerequisite: 3 years of meditation experience or consent of the Instructor

MED412 Sacred Healing Breath

A day to breathe deeply, envisioning that with each breath you take on the suffering of living beings as limitless as the sky. This practice, known as Tong len, deepens meditative concentration and compassionate love.

MED413 Filled with Devotion

The final chapter of the sacred text known as the Uttaratantra, titled ‘Benefit’, describes how one ‘filled with devotion’ and with certainty in the Dharma creates immense merit in the world. This advanced meditation workshop invites faith based on insight. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in MED30, DHS206, or consent of Instructor.

MED414 Contemplating Awakened Heart

As we comprehend the possibility of enlightenment, we also see how far we are from embodying an awakened mind. In this advanced workshop we work with meditation practices that sustain inspiration and open the heart and mind. Guru yoga practices serve as a direct link to the beauty of realization. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in MED301 or consent of Instructor.

MED415 Cutting Off Negative Thoughts

Meditative action is the process of bringing even adverse conditions onto the path to enlightenment. The torment of negative thoughts dissolves as insight into the nature of mind and the action of karma arises. The heart’s natural capacity for love and compassion awakens. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in MED301, DHS207 or consent of Instructor.

MED416 Special Topics in Advanced Meditation

Topics in advanced meditation drawn from traditional sources. Prerequisite: 3 years of meditation experience or consent of the Instructors.

MED417 Transforming Adversity

Difficult circumstances can suddenly arise in our lives. In this workshop, students learn mind training (Lo Jong) techniques that can be applied in times of stress to catalyze efforts to transform and purify mind.

KNR407 Kum Nye for Sustaining Inner Balance

Kum Nye movement, breath, and sitting practices balance body and mind as they stimulate deep feelings of joy. Students learn techniques that help sustain a balanced and joyful outlook throughout the day.

KNR408 Exploring New Dimensions of Feeling

As Kum Nye practice deepens, new feeling tones emerge. Your whole body can come alive with a symphony of rich and relaxed feeling. Prerequisite: 1 year Kum Nye practice.

KNR409 Opening Energy Centers

Precise exercises work with the circulation of inner energy to increase sensitivity within and between the four “energy centers”—head, throat, heart, and navel. Prerequisite: 1 year Kum Nye practice.

KNR410 Energizing Body and Mind

This workshop introduces exercises that directly stimulate inner vitality. Students contact a pure ‘neutral energy’ that flows effortlessly between body, mind, and world. Prerequisite: 1 year Kum Nye practice.

KNR411 Revitalizing Inner Energy

In Kum Nye there are various ways, including both movement and stillness that stimulate the flow of feeling and energy in the body/mind. Gentle movement and breath exercises lessen chronic physical and mental tightness sensitizing the student to subtle qualities of feeling that restore our inner vitality.

KNR413 Embodiment of Beauty

The physical senses are capable of receiving great beauty, bringing moments of exquisite feeling and deep satisfaction. To activate this capacity for beauty, confusion and repressed anger must be cleared out of the pathways of the senses. The Kum Nye practices introduced in this workshop initiate a stream of inner feeling that cleanses each sense.

NPS403 Fear and Illusion

Fear can obstruct the best intentions and paralyze the ability to act. Using experiential exercises and discussion, students examine how fear takes hold and manifest within body and mind. Then they work with meditations that challenge fear’s hold.

NPS404 Topics in Transforming Emotions

Human emotions can be skillfully transformed through innovative Nyingma Psychology practices. This workshop focuses on topics that lead to emotional health.

NPS405 The Self-Image

False expectations, judgments, and negative emotions are based on complex images that we hold of ourselves and the world. This workshop looks directly at how self-images develop and how students can free themselves from their compulsive power.

NPS409 Attaining Inner Confidence

An infinite source of well-being lies within body and mind. This workshop teaches students how to develop confidence to access and follow the knowledge in their hearts. Students learn ways to expand mindfulness and openness at all times.

NPS410 Clear Mind, Open Heart

There is a dynamic interplay between mind and heart. Practices and discussion in this workshop will help integrate head and heart knowledge, unlocking creativity and opening the heart.

NPS411 Loving Yourself, Loving Others 

In order to love others fully, we must also learn to love ourselves. Then we find an unending source of unconditioned love that we can freely share. This workshop presents classic Buddhist teachings that expand love and compassion beyond all boundaries.

NPS412 Emotions, Intelligence, and the Mind

In this workshop, students learn to look inward to discover the root of frustrations, failings, and even misfortunes within the mind. Meditations and analyses are introduced to penetrate emotionality, transforming inner and outer experience through a natural clarity and ease.

DHS406 Cultivating Unlimited Love

Cultivating the “four immeasurable” states of mind—love, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity—is a classic Buddhist practice that teaches us to transcend our ordinary way of being and our limited way of understanding love. We discover an inner serenity that fosters the realization of selflessness. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in DHS203, DHS211, or consent of the Instructors.

DHS407 Making Mind the Matter

In order to make the Dharma relevant to our lives, we explore the activity of our mind. Working specifically with the ‘three trainings’ of shila, samadhi, and prajna, we gain insight into how samsara is being fabricated and by whom, and what patterns of ego, personality, and identity are being put in place. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in DHS206 or consent of the Instructors.

DHS409 The Six Transcending Perfections

Six areas of Bodhisattva practice extend all the way to enlightenment: giving, ethical discipline, patience, vigorous effort, meditative concentration, and wisdom. For millennia beginning practitioners have embraced these practices and matured into great masters. The teachings that have come down to our time vividly present the meaning and beauty of this compassionate way of life. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in DHS211 or consent of the Instructor.

DHS410 Developing Bodhichitta

Bodhichitta, the “Seed of Enlightenment”, can take root and flourish. The choice is up to us. Students study verses from Shantideva’s Introduction to the Bodhisattva Way, teachings on how to give rise to Bodhicitta and compassionate love. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in DHS211 or consent of the Instructor.

DHS411 Buddhist Studies Tutorial Workshop

A close study of primary texts and teachings. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in DHS211 or consent of the Instructors.

SKM402 Communicating Well

We practice together, exploring communication experientially in a lighthearted way. We try out verbal and nonverbal communication, emphasizing differences of perspective while aiming for commonality.

TSK401 Healing and Pain

Four specific meditation and visualization exercises will be presented that can touch and transform emotional and physical pain. Discussion will challenge commonly held assumptions about pain.

TSK402 Names and Namelessness

The active naming and identifying capacities of mind can cover over the source of meaning. TSK teachings probe the workings of the mind and help students uncover a space before and beyond labels and projections

TSK403 Creativity and Consciousness

Understanding the link between creativity and consciousness allows us to bring the creative process more fully into our lives. In this workshop we will work with meditation, awareness, and movement practices that heighten awareness of what leads to creativity.

TSK404 A Return to Light

The TSK vision describes a ‘light transmission’ that is activated through knowledge. Students return to the ‘lightness’ of being through practices that illuminate the interplay of mind and world.

TSK405 Conducting Perfect Knowledge through Time

Breaking through solid limits, students learn to enter a different dimension of time, where freedom opens into the perfection of being. This workshop focuses strongly on experiential exercises and interactive discussion.

TSK406 Waking to Space; Opening to Freedom

We live our lives within narrow limits. Accepting these limits as “the way we are” we never notice how they channel us into pathways of frustration and disappointment. The Time, Space, and Knowledge vision offers practices and insights that help us break through our limits. When we focus on space instead of structure, we taste freedom in each moment. When we break down the old patterns that claim authority over us, we gain the power to reshape our lives.

TSK407 Freedom for Knowledge

Beneath or within experience lies another way of being. We can discover a pervasive freedom, reflecting our basic nature. Using practices from the Time, Space, and Knowledge, students learn to relax into what is truly natural and available.

Choose retreats from the following list:*
Note: the program cost includes nonresidential retreats only; residential retreats require an additional fee for room and board.

KNR501 Tasting Relaxation

In this retreat, students learn to relax so deeply that they can ‘taste’ the healing nectar of relaxation as it flows through body and mind. Gentle movement, breathing, and awareness practices are introduced to help students discover this relaxation.

KNR502 Kum Nye: Breath, Energy, Feeling

In this Tibetan yoga retreat, students use breath and movement exercises to stimulate and direct the energy of body and mind, visualization practices to awaken and sustain inner vitality, and meditation practices to foster serenity.

KNR503 Kum Nye: Attuning to the Present Moment

This retreat makes use of the full range of Kum Nye exercises to help each retreatant integrate a rich array of positive feelings into body, senses, and mind.

KNR504 Opening the Senses

This retreat makes use of the full range of intermediate and advanced Kum Nye exercises to help each student integrate a rich array of positive feelings into body, senses, and mind.

KNR505 Tibetan Yoga for Healing and Energy

Breath and movement exercises awaken an inner vitality that is directly linked to a natural healing process. Meditation and visualization practices deepen this process.

KNR506 Special Topics in Intermediate and Advanced Kum Nye 

Intermediate and advanced Kum Nye exercises that focus on special topics are introduced.

KNR414 Opening the Field of Awareness 

Students work with introspective practices that focus on how the senses interact with mind and self. These practices work to break free of the ordinary chain of perceptions that lead to misery. Students learn to rest within the open space of awareness, simply ‘seeing,’ ‘feeling,’ and ‘knowing’ beyond interpretations or labels. (Counts as half a retreat.)

MED501 Silent Retreat

This retreat’s practices are done in silence with suitable instructions for meditation and study given individually to each participant. The retreat is designed to allow participants to deepen their meditation practice in the protected environment of the Nyingma Institute.

MED503 Developing Clarity

The focus of this meditation retreat is insight meditation (vipassana). Analytic meditation will be introduced along with meditations to calm the stream of distracting thought.

MED504 Special Topics in Advanced Meditation

Special techniques presented in this retreat are based primarily on the Tibetan oral tradition or on a text for which there is no current published English translation

MED506 Relaxation, Reflection, and Insight

This meditation and Nyingma Psychology retreat teaches students how to quiet the mind, release emotional tension and establish the conditions for insight to arise. Students work with both meditative practices and analysis to relax, reflect, and set aspirations for health and well-being.

NPR501 Preparation for the Time of Death

Meditation practices given in this retreat will help to prepare for the time of death. Rather than waiting for an unknown destiny, students learn to turn inward and learn the nature of their minds. What they discover heightens appreciation for the value of every moment and every type of experience.

NPR502 Invoking Blessings

This retreat is held at the time of the Buddha’s enlightenment according to the Tibetan calendar. With devotional chant and visualizations, we focus on the Buddha. Students will study a text by Lama Mipham on how to visualize and invoke the Buddha. (Counts as half a retreat.)

NPR503 Enlightenment Retreat

It is said that the way to enlightenment can be traveled with a fraction of the effort required to survive the endless suffering of samasara. Students bring the goal of enlightenment to mind in this retreat through meditation, mantra, and prayer that focus on the capacity to transcend suffering. (Counts as half a retreat.)

NPR402 Cultivating Compassionate Love 

We can learn to love ourselves and others more deeply through actively cultivating compassionate love. This kind of love heals the painful divisions between living beings, allowing us to forgive others and to cleanse ourselves of ill will. The workshop introduces gentle visualization, mantra and meditation practices given by the enlightened Buddha. (Counts as half a retreat.)

NPR406 Medicine Buddha Practice

Tibetan healing mantras and visualizations that evoke the blessings of the Medicine Buddha have been used for centuries to cure illness and increase well-being. This workshop offers instructions in traditional Medicine Buddha practices. (Counts as half a retreat.)

NPR410 Dream Yoga and Authentic Communication

Meditation and visualization exercises from the Tibetan tradition bring a special awareness into the dream state that helps us to use dreams to cultivate insight. Practices will be introduced that stimulate lucid dreaming, along with exercises that release tension in the head and neck, enhancing our ability to listen well and speak truly. (Counts as half a retreat.)

NPS504 Touching Wonder and Facing Fear 

Moments of deep inspiration teach us that there are wondrous dimensions to our bodies, minds, and the world around us. Yet, we also know that our capacity for the extraordinary is often dimmed by fears and conditioned responses. In this retreat, meditation and movement practices help wake students up to inner spontaneity. At the same time, awareness exercises focus on a new kind of emotional honesty: one that sees emotions as doorways through which we can pass freely. Fear is the gatekeeper that we must befriend and overcome.

NPS505 Reclaiming the Heart

When the heart is closed, concentration is fragmented and we are easily distracted. Frustration, irritation, and yearning can overwhelm inner peace and satisfaction. In this retreat, students listen attentively to the voices of the heart through consciously cultivating compassionate aspirations and awakening unconditioned love and joy. Touching deeper aspirations, they begin to develop genuine self-respect and separate themselves from judgment and conditioning.

NPS506 Self-Image: Observing, Recognizing, Releasing

We break free from the restrictive force of self-images through developing the ability to observe experience steadily. Then we can recognize how mental and emotional patterns are structured and more easily release what is negative. In this retreat, students master the process of observing, recognizing, and releasing, unlocking the secrets of how mind operates.

NPS507 Luminous Mind

The fullness of being, luminous and free, reveals itself through visualization and dream yoga practices. A mirror-like equanimity arises; all things, inner and outer, dance with a new sense of harmony and light.

SKM501 Skillful Means: Communication and Connection

In this experiential retreat, students learn to enjoy communicating well. Discussion and exercises clarify a path towards more reliable and rewarding connections with others. We see how working together to accomplish shared purposes both fosters and depends upon effective communication and strong interconnection, bringing knowledge and fulfillment.

TSK501 Visionary Journey into Inner Space and Time 

In this retreat, students move toward the heart of Space and Time through experiential practices from the Time, Space, and Knowledge vision. Touching the “space” and “time” of inner experience reveals a realm of unimaginable spaciousness and limitless potential. This retreat is taught with a minimum of discussion, allowing the practices themselves to bring each participant into a felt relationship with Time and Space.

TSK502 Translucent Body; Radiant World 

Practices drawn from the Time, Space, and Knowledge vision cultivate an awareness of the interactions and interfaces between body and mind, objects and events. Surfaces and partitions become transparent to an unqualified openness that discloses the intimacy of being.

DHS412 Dharma Studies Retreat

Topics in traditional Buddhist studies are offered with an emphasis on how the teachings are integrated into patterns of behavior. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in DHS211, Human Development Training Retreat, or consent of the Instructors. (Counts as half a retreat.)

Two-Year Nyingma Studies Program students may take the following retreats only with the consent of the Instructors:

DHS501-505: Embodiment: An Awakened Vision.

These weeks of retreat are a journey into the Buddha’s vision of what embodiment means. Students will use teachings and practices from Nyingma Psychology to integrate body and mind; will learn to release unnecessary tension and stress through Tibetan Yoga; will study the teachings of the Buddhist Abhidharma found in the mKhas-‘jug by the great teacher Lama Mipham; will learn about the symbolism of the form of the Buddha as presented in traditional art and sculpture; will learn to recognize the stages on the path and its view, result, and application; will deepen experiential knowledge of the mind through training in meditation.

DHS501 Week one, Recognizing the Potential of Body and Mind

DHS502 Week two, Stages on the Path

DHS503 Week three, Awakening Vision

DHS504 Week four, Joy of Being

DHS505 Week five, Embodying Wisdom

DHS506-510: Transmitting Insight; Penetrating Illusion. 

At every moment we receive messages transmitted from our body, from our mind, and from the world around us. These messages form the basis of all that we know and do. The Dharma teaches us to ‘watch the watcher,’ to bring our attention to how the senses operate and how knowledge of ourselves and the world develops. In these weeks of retreat students will learn: how knowledge is transmitted from the outside world to the senses and from the senses to the mind and heart. (Through study of the sense-fields and experiential exercises from Tibetan Yoga.); how to attune themselves to their senses in ways that evoke insight to penetrate illusions; the teachings of the three marks of existence and the four thoughts that turn the mind to the Dharma, reversing the operation of suffering; basic teachings from mind training (Lojong) and Nyingma Psychology that help to integrate heart and mind.

DHS506 Week one, Tuning the Senses

DHS507 Week two, Turning the Mind to Joy

DHS508 Week three, Integrating Body with Mind

DHS509 Week four, Discovering the Marks of Existence

DHS510 Week five, Listening and Lightening Mind

DHS511-515: Who Owns Mind? 

These weeks of retreat use tools of analysis and introspection to explore consciousness, looking for the source of thoughts, feelings, impulses, and actions. Using classical ‘insight’ meditation students will be guided in a search for an independent ‘self’ who controls and owns the mind and experience, glimpsing how mind, free of the confines of ‘self’, might function. Students will also: study teachings on karma and klesha; cultivate the ‘four immeasurable’ qualities of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity that expand the mind and heart; Deepen mindfulness; learn about the Bodhisattva’s aspiration and the role that faith and devotion play in Dharma study

DHS511 Week one, Mind’s Hall of Mirrors

DHS512 Week two, Base of Suffering

DHS513 Week three, Reversing the Direction

DHS514 Week four, Expanding Heart and Mind

DHS515 Week five, Mindfulness and Faith

DHS516-520: Compassion in Action.

Buddhist teachers have said that, “The depth and vastness of the Dharma restore the foundation, purpose, and direction of human life, inspiring a way of living oriented toward loving-kindness, compassion, and selflessness.” In these weeks of retreat students will explore what it means to live a life dedicated to compassion and wisdom, looking at the biographies of great masters, men and women from India and Tibet. They will also continue to cultivate inner capabilities for compassionate wisdom and deepen the knowledge of cause and effect through studying interdependent coproduction (Pratitya samutpada). Finally, they will look at the way this vision is manifesting in the Western world.

DHS516 Week one, Interdependent Arising

DHS517 Week two, The Compassionate Response

DHS518 Week three, How the Buddha Taught

DHS519 Week four, Stories of Liberation

DHS520 Week five, Immeasureable Path

DHS521-525: Cultivating the Seed of Enlightenment.

All living beings have the nature of a Buddha, yet this nature is obscured by veils of obscurations. Traditional teachings and practices help students develop confidence in their ability to discover Bodhicitta (the ‘seed of enlightenment’). Mind training practices will help to overcome the destructive forces of anger, attachment, and ignorance in our lives. These weeks of retreat also explores: the qualities of a spiritual teacher and the qualities of a worthy student; how to practice guru yoga and go to refuge; the twelve actions of a fully enlightened Buddha; meditations from the Path of Heroes such as Tong-len; Practices that heighten awareness of the ‘seed of enlightenment’.

DHS521 Week one, Miraculous Body of Knowledge

DHS522 Week two, Working the Mind

DHS523 Week three, Entering Openness

DHS524 Week four, Practices from the Heart

DHS525 Week five, The Sunlight of Merit and Wisdom

DHS526-530: Gateway to Knowledge.

Students deepen their search for awakened mind through an in-depth study of topics from the Gateway to Knowledge (Tib. mKhyas-‘jug) by the great Tibetan teacher Lama Mipham. These will include ‘what is possible and what is impossible’; time; and the arising of the system of suffering. Meditation practice will focus on analyzing the constituents of inner and outer phenomena and the sense fields. Kum Nye practice will help to deepen the analysis.

DHS526 Week one, The Transmission of Insight

DHS527 Week two, Fields of Awareness

DHS528 Week three, Attuning to Dharma

DHS529 Week four, Time and the Arising of Suffering

DHS530 Week five, The Possible and the Impossible

DHS531-535: Deluded Mind/Awakened Mind.

All the teachings of the Dharma are informed by knowledge of the inner workings of consciousness. As the mind is cultivated through meditation and analysis, what seems confused or difficult becomes workable. ‘Deluded mind’ is no longer an obstacle: all that arises can be brought onto the path of liberation. In these weeks of retreat students will learn: advanced teachings from Nyingma Psychology on how to penetrate the veils of ignorance within ordinary consciousness; Lojong teachings from the Path of Heroes with an emphasis on meditation practice; and traditional teachings from Tibetan authors on the nature of mind.

DHS531 Week one, Parting the Veil of Delusion

DHS532 Week two, Regaining the Power of Mind

DHS533 Week three, Distinguishing Phenomena and Pure Being

DHS534 Week four, Refining Mind

DHS535 Week five, Guidelines for Self-Mastery

DHS536-539: The World as Sacred Space.

Powerful Buddhist symbols point toward a comprehensive vision in which the universe itself arises as a mandala—a sacred space in which the journey to awakening is assured. Students will explore this vision, studying accounts of what a mandala is and how experience can be transformed. This will lead to an in-depth exploration of the meaning of sacred Buddhist symbols, especially focusing on those that have been created by the Nyingma organizations. Students will also study: the form of the mandala and how it informs the operation of Buddhist organizations; the symbolic language of Tibetan art; teachings on the efficacy of Tibetan ritual projects such as prayer-wheels and prayer flags; teachings on the Buddha Fields.

DHS536 Week one, The Emerging Mandala

DHS537 Week two, Lineage of Light

DHS538 Week three, Inner and Outer Symbols of Enlightenment

DHS539 Week four, Aspiration and Accomplishment


*In individual cases, to further a student’s educational goals, elective classes, workshops, and retreats may be substituted for those on these lists with the consent of the Program Director or the Chief Academic Officer.