Nitartha Summer Institute 2018 Course Offerings

Below you will find detailed descriptions of all courses. When you register, you will choose which of the available classes you wish to take.

Is this your first time at Nitartha?
Classes appropriate for first time Nitartha students are marked with an asterisk (*).

Shedra Session 1

6–19 July 2018

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Science of Mind

BUD 501 Mind and Its World I: Valid Cognition (*)

This course explores the criteria of a valid cognition and its various classifications, based on the teachings of the Pramāna tradition, or Buddhist epistemology. We will analyze our consciousness and determine to what degree it is in agreement with its observed object or not; when our mind is direct or not; what the difference is between non-mistaken, non-deceiving, conceptual and non-conceptual types of awareness.

Instructor: Sandra Roscoe

BUD 502 Clear Thinking (*)

This course has two-fold purpose: It presents a detailed treatment of knowable objects in the form of definitions, examples, equivalents and classifications drawn from Collected Topics, the introductory textbook of Buddhist phenomenology or Abhidharma; secondly this material is used to teach methods for thinking clearly about the teachings using the debate typology of the four types of relationships there can be between any two phenomena. We will train in elementary debate skills in a relaxed environment, such as asking for definitions, equivalents and classifications.

Instructors: Scott Wellenbach, Mark Seibold

BUD 520 Mind and Its World III: Vaibhāshika Philosophical Tradition

This course is an extensive exposition of the ground of Vaibhāshika philosophical tradition, based on the expanded version of The Gateway that Reveals the Philosophical Traditions to Fresh Minds root text. This school is valued for their presentation of a contemplative world-view of radical impermanence, without needing to postulate either a personal identity or any principle of divine creation.

Instructors: Stuart Horn, Linda Patrick

BUD 601 Chittamātra Philosophical Tradition: Appearances Are Mere Mind

This course is a systematic presentation of Chittamātra, or Mind Only meditative view of Mahāyāna Buddhism. We will engage in the philosophical reformulation of experiences arising from meditation practice—declaring reasonings establishing objects as not separate from mind, as well as the three natures theory and the eight-fold collection of consciousness.

Instructor: Israel Lifshitz

BUD 630 Buddha Nature: Luminous Heart of the Tathāgata

This course is an overview of the Tathāgatagarbha, or Buddha Nature tradition, the view of the luminous essence of awakening, the heart of goodness shared by all beings. Our exploration will rely on the key section of Uttaratantra of Maitreya (ca. 4th century) which establishes Buddha nature through three reasonings, its ten facets, nine analogies and five reasons why it is necessary to teach it.

Instructors: Jirka Hladiš, Dr. Phil Stanley

Debate

BUD 553 Debate I (*)

This course offers a methodical training in elementary debate skills on the basis of the Clear Thinking class. We will formulate reasonings with correct and seeming reasons and utilize those in a debate by learning how to challenge the first mode of a reasoning. Regarding the content, we will debate classification of objects in terms of entity from Collected Topics that was taught in the Clear Thinking course.

Instructor: Alison McKee

BUD 554 Debate II

This course continues a methodical training in elementary debate skills on the basis of Debate I. We will learn how to challenge the second mode of a reasoning, as well as the debate strategies of the challenger and the defender and how to bring a debate to completion. Thus we will cover all the basic skills needed for engaging in a formal debate. Regarding the content, we will continue debating the classification of objects in terms of entity and add classification of mind into primary minds and mental events.

Instructor: Francis Sullivan

BUD 555 Debate III

This course trains in enhancing debate skills on the basis of the skills acquired in Debate I and Debate II. This includes bringing absurd consequences as a technique into debate and mastering the shorter form of formulating reasoning and modes challenge. Regarding the content, we will continue debating classification of objects in terms of entity and will add the methods that lead to cognition of objects, classification of things in terms of function, as well as classification of objects the way they are taken as objects.

Instructor: Israel Lifshitz

BUD 653 Vaibhāśika Debate

This intermediate debate course trains in formally debating tenets of the Vaibhāśika philosophical tradition. Debate topic of this class consists of the refutation of the creator god as well as refutation of personal identity using the seven-fold analysis of the chariot.

Instructor: Dr. Phil Stanley

BUD 655 Cittamātra Debate

This intermediate debate course trains in formally debating the tenets of Cittamātra, the Mind Only Mahāyāna philosophical school. From the point of view of true aspectarians we will ascertain non-separation through the reason of definitive simultaneous observation, reason refuting arising of something similar, the reason of no connection and the reason refuting partless particle. From the point of view of the false aspectarians, we will formulate reasonings refuting existence of aspects.

Instructor: Jirka Hladiš

Language

LAN 510 Tibetan Reading Course

In this course we will read sections from various texts within the Nyingma tradition, such as Lama Mipham’s Lamp of Certainty (nges shes ‘gron me) and from the text/s used for Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s main daily lectures to the Institute. Applicants should know the Tibetan alphabet, spelling rules and have a functional grasp of Tibetan grammar. The course will focus on acquiring and developing reading skills; interesting and important grammatical points will be explained in the context of specific passages. Students will be asked to translate a short passage from Tibetan to English to help the instructor determine their proficiency.

Instructor: Mark Seibold

Shedra Session 2

21 July – 3 August 2018

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Science of Mind

BUD 510 Mind and Its World II: Modes of Engagement & Mental Events (*)

This course completes the Classification of Mind (Lorik) root text, from the tradition of Pramāna or Buddhist epistemology that students began in Mind and Its World I. This course has two main sections. The first provides the practitioner with the tools for delineating conceptual and non- conceptual types of mind in meditation. This teaching is codified as the modes of engagement of mind. The second section investigates mind in terms of the mental factors/events that describe specific functional aspects of mind, as well as determine its virtuous or afflicted states, in order to cultivate the former and relinquish the latter.

Instructors: Scott Wellenbach & Dr. Linda E. Patrick

BUD 530 Mind and Its World IV: Sautrāntika Philosophical Tradition

This course is an extensive exposition of the Sautrāntika philosophical tradition, based on the expanded  revised fourth edition of The Gateway that Reveals the Philosophical Traditions to Fresh Minds root text. This school is renowned for classifying all knowable objects into specifically and generally characterized phenomena, based on our experience. The path and result presentation is generally shared with the Vaibhāshika tradition.

Instructors: Stuart Horn, Marl Seibold

BUD 610 Madhyamaka Philosophical Tradition: Not Even a Middle

This course is an overview of the final view of the Buddhist philosophy—the Madhyamaka, or the Middle Way tradition of Mahāyāna, which propounds the view of shūnyatā, the emptiness of all phenomena, the transcendence of all views, freedom from elaborations. We will study the presentation of the two truths, their union, and the five great madhyamaka reasonings.

Instructor: Israel Lifshitz

BUD 620 Paths and Bhūmis: The Path to Enlightenment

This course is a presentation of the five paths on the voyage to awakening, the ten bodhisattvas’ bhūmis, or levels or realization, and the result: the enlightenment, buddha’s kāyas and wisdoms as well as enlightened activity. We will study what is required to embark and progress on the path and what the goal of such spiritual journey is.

Instructor: Dr. Phil Stanley, Jirka Hladiš

Debate

BUD 554 Debate II

This course continues a methodical training in elementary debate skills on the basis of Debate I. We will learn how to challenge the second mode of a reasoning, as well as the debate strategies of the challenger and the defender and how to bring a debate to completion. Thus we will cover all the basic skills needed for engaging in a formal debate. Regarding the content, we will continue debating the classification of objects in terms of entity and add classification of mind into primary minds and mental events.

Instructor: Mark Seibold

BUD 555 Debate III

This course trains in enhancing debate skills on the basis of the skills acquired in Debate I and Debate II. This includes bringing absurd consequences as a technique into debate and mastering the shorter form of formulating reasoning and modes challenge. Regarding the content, we will continue debating classification of objects in terms of entity and will add the methods that lead to cognition of objects, classification of things in terms of function, as well as classification of objects the way they are taken as objects.

Instructor: Israel Lifshitz

BUD 654 Sautrāntika Debate

This intermediate debate course trains in formally debating tenets of the Sautrāntika philosophical tradition. Debate topics of this class center around the proof of subtle impermanence – the reason of non-dependency that proves that entities do not rely on another cause for their momentary cessation other than their own dependently arisen appearance.

Instructor: Jirka Hladiš

BUD 656 Madhyamaka Debate

This intermediate course is the introduction to Madhyamaka debate. We will reinstate the historical debates of the Middle Way masters with other philosophical schools, Buddhist and non-Buddhist, using the five great reasonings that analyze the cause, the result, both cause and result, the essence, as well as the mere appearance. We will utilize different types of reasons of non-observation in debate and work with the four uncommon reasonings of the Madhyamikas as presented in the Treasury of Knowledge: inference within the common consensus of others, consequences that expose contradictions, analogous applicability of the opponent’s reason and non-application of the means of proof due to its sameness with the probandum.

Instructor: Dr. Phil Stanley

Language

LAN 510 Tibetan Reading Course

In this course we will read sections from various texts within the Nyingma tradition, such as Lama Mipham’s Lamp of Certainty (nges shes ‘gron me) and from the text/s used for Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s main daily lectures to the Institute. Applicants should know the Tibetan alphabet, spelling rules and have a functional grasp of Tibetan grammar. The course will focus on acquiring and developing reading skills; interesting and important grammatical points will be explained in the context of specific passages. Students will be asked to translate a short passage from Tibetan to English to help the instructor determine their proficiency.

Instructor: Mark Seibold

Gomdra Modules 1 & 2

6–24 July 2018

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Courses taught by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche can be attended by both, Gomdra and Shedra students. Please note the BUD 840 is restricted to people who fulfil certain requirements. Both classes will run through Module 1 and 2 (July 6 – July 24) on alternating days.

Science of Mind

BUD 796 Distinguishing the Views and Philosophies – A Lamp of Essential Points

This course is a systematic overview of Mipam’s teachings on the Middle Way by the influential scholar of the twentieth century Bötrül (1898-1959) of the Nyingma tradition. Bötrül’s root text, Distinguishing the Views and Philosophies, and auto-commentary, Ornament of Mañjughoṣa’s Viewpoint, provide a meaning commentary on Mipham’s Beacon of Certainty. Bötrül presents the Nyingma school within a rich constellation of diverse perspectives, contrasting Nyingma views point by point with positions held by other Tibetan Buddhist schools, and setting forth an understanding of “emptiness” that is unique to his Nyingma school.

Teacher: Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
ENROLL IN THE LIVE WEBCAST

BUD 840 Luminous Essence: The Tantra of the Secret Essence
This course is restricted to students who meet certain requirements.

In this course, The Tantra of the Secret Essence (Skt: Guhyagarbha Tantra; Tib: Gsang ba´i snying po) will be studied, which is the main tantra of the Mahāyoga class of tantras and is the main text on tantric view studied in the Nyingma tradition.

Teacher: Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

Language

LAN 500 Introduction to Tibetan

This class is oriented toward beginners who have little or no knowledge of Tibetan but would like to gain more familiarity with the language, and how it is translated into English. We will cover the alphabet, pronunciation, and basic reading skills. We will then select a few of the songs of Milarepa such as The Song of Mahamudra, learn how to chant them in Tibetan, and at the same time investigate their meaning in both Tibetan and in English. By looking into the Tibetan behind the English, we expect to gain a richer understanding of the songs composed by one of Tibet’s great masters.

Instructor: Gerry Wiener

Healing

HEA 510 Mudra Space Awareness (*)

Mudra Space Awareness is a series of physical and vocal exercises derived from the Mahāmudrā and Dzogchen traditions of Tibetan Buddhism as presented in the West by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. They utilize the body as a means to clarify mental confusion and tame the mind so that the practitioner has access to a greater awareness of outer and inner space. The course is in a workshop format, students are offered experiential ground to investigate Buddhist approaches to concepts such as “space” or “ego” while discovering how they can correct physical and mental imbalances. Class exercises help students develop a sense of well-being and an appreciation of themselves and others in the context of alive, ever-changing space.

Instructor: Lee Worley

Science of Creative Arts

Students can sign up for any one of the SoCA courses for any module, i.e. they run concurrently with all participants, regardless of module, in the same space and class time.

SoCA 540 Studio 1

Students learn the classic measurement system (thikse) of the Karma Gadri system and apply it to draw a Buddha head, a seated Buddha, and a Tara head. Materials will be provided in class. Students are also welcome to bring their own materials. A materials list will be provided to registrants. Class topics include: thikse, drawing materials, process of drawing male and female buddhas, development of good drawing skills.

Instructor: RD Salga
Teaching Assistant: Stephanie Johnston

SoCA 550 Studio 2

Students focus on one particular Buddhist figure in an actual thangka composition, starting with the thikse, moving on to the drawing, and then the painting. It includes shading and coloring. Students form an apprentice type relationship with Karma Gadri Master R.D. Salga. Materials will be provided in class. Students are also welcome to bring their own materials. A materials list will be provided to registrants.

Instructor: RD Salga
Teaching Assistant: Stephanie Johnston

SoCA 550 Studio 3

Individual Projects — Students will choose a particular area or subject of thangka painting to focus on and practice under the personal guidance of RD Salga.

Instructor: RD Salga
Teaching Assistant: Stephanie Johnston

Gomdra Modules 1, 2 & 3

6 July – 3 August 2018

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SoCA 500 Lüjong (*)

Lüjong, or body training, is a series of fifteen physical exercises developed by the Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche to help students enhance their health and synchronize their body and mind. They serve to increase energy and pliancy, both physically and mentally. The wakefulness developed by the exercises often brings a meditative quality to ordinary activities throughout the day.

instructor: Scott Wellenbach

Gomdra Module 3

26 July – 3 August 2018

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Science of Mind

BUD 796 Lama Mipham’s Beacon of Certainty

The Beacon of Certainty (Tib. nges shes sgron me) is a commentary composed by the great Nyingma master and scholar Lama Mipham (1846-1912) at a very young age. It is structured around seven questions which address the foundations of the Nyingma tradition, from Madhyamaka philosophy to the view of Dzogchen. This key text is studied in virtually all Nyingma shedras. We will study its commentary by Khenpo Kunpal, (c.1872-1943) a close disciple of Lama Mipham.

Instructor: Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen
ENROLL IN THE LIVE WEBCAST

Special Offering

Nalandabodhi Practice Instructor Training
Please note: This offer is for qualified Nalandabodhi members only!

We will offer Nalandabodhi PI trainings for Level 1, 2, and 3 and a Training to Become a PI Trainer. This course is also highly recommended as a refresher for any PI wishing to deepen and expand their understanding of NB’s practices as a whole, the details for each, and how each practice works with the preceding and following practice. It is also a great opportunity to share our experience, expand our collective wisdom, and be inspired.

Click here for more information

Instructor: Stephanie Johnston

Online

ENROLL IN ONLINE CLASSES


Can’t attend in person?

If you are not able to join us in person at the Nitartha Institute this summer, you can join the following classes this summer online:

  • with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
    BUD 796 Distinguishing the Views and Philosophies – A Lamp of Essential Points
  • with Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen
    BUD 796 Lama Mipham’s Beacon of Certainty

Please note: The Online classes will not feature Chinese translation.

All classes in the Foundation and Intermediate curricula are also available as Self-Paced Online Courses. Visit the Nitartha Self-Paced Online Course Registration page for more information.