Shedra Courses

Nitartha Institute courses are taught in accord with the 5 Sciences taught at the historical Nālandā University of India. This summer, courses will be offered in the Science of Mind track.  After you have registered, you will choose which of the available classes you wish to take.

Planning Your Summer? Here are the Summer Institute dates and a sample schedule.

1st two week session: July 7–20, 2017
2nd two week session: July 22–August 4, 2017
9–day module: July 27–August 4, 2017

Below you will find detailed descriptions of all Shedra courses. Classes appropriate for first time Nitartha students are marked with an asterisk (*). If you can’t attend the summer institute in Bellingham, WA, a few courses (BUD 520, BUD 530, BUD 714 and BUD 796, in addition to DPR’s shedra course [BUD 7XX]) will be webcast live for distance learning.

Science of Mind

Special Offerings

Science of Mind

1st Session Courses: July 7–20, 2017

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.

instructors: Scott Wellenbach & Mark Seibold
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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.

instructor: Dr. Phil Stanley
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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: Stephanie Johnston & Sandra Roscoe, PhD
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click here to enroll in the live webcast

BUD 553 Foundational 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: Israel Lifshitz
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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: Dr. Stuart Horn
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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.

instructor: Israel Lifshitz
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BUD 653 Intermediate Debate

This course first reviews the foundational debate skills including bringing absurd consequences as a technique into debate and mastering the shorter form of formulating reasoning and modes refutation. We will also review the foundational debate content: debating classification of objects in terms of entity, the methods that lead to cognition of objects and subjects, the causes, conditions and results, and the three types of objects. Next we will proceed in training to formally debate the systems of the two Buddhist foundational philosophical schools: Vaibhāshika and Sautrāntika; first within their respective doctrinal limits, followed by reinstating historical debates between these two traditions.

instructor(s): Jirka Hladiš or Phil Stanley
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BUD 714 Mahāyānasūtrālamkāra: Ornament of the Great Vehicle Sutras

This course is an in-depth exploration of the Mahāyānasūtrālamkāra, the last of the five works of Maitreya to be taught at Nitartha Institute. The text presents materials on the view and path of Bodhisattvas from a yogācāra point of view. It thus gives a synopsis of all the mahāyāna sūtras that are not contained among the prajñāpāramitā sūtras or the sūtras on buddha nature.

instructor: Dr. Karl Brunnhölzl
click here to enroll in the live webcast


2nd Session Courses: July 22–August 4, 2017

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. We will explore the three ways that mind takes phenomena as objects and contemplate how the mind apprehends generalities and particulars, inclusive and eliminative engagers, objects and means of expression, and connection and contradiction. The second section investigates the nature of 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
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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.

instructor: Dr. Phil Stanley
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click here to enroll in the live webcast

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: Dr. Stuart Horn
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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: Israel Lifshitz
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BUD 714 Mahāyānasūtrālamkāra: Ornament of the Great Vehicle Sutras

(Continued from Session 1)


Additional Shedra Courses

BUD 7XX Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s Shedra Teaching

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche will be teaching a shedra course every other day July 8–25, 2017 (except for day off on July 21). The subject of these teachings will be announced soon.

instructor: Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
click here to enroll in the live webcast

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
click here to enroll in the live webcast

 

 

Special Offerings

As a Nitartha Institute Summer student you are invited drop in on one or more of these classes every day.

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

Mudra Space Awareness (*)

These physical and vocal exercises derive from the Mahamudra and Maha Ati traditions of Tibetan Buddhism as presented in the West by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. They utilize the body to train for a meditative mind. For more information, please see Awaken Through Movement.

instructor: Mitra Lee Worley