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The Sandhinirmochana Sutra

Taught by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

  • The Sandhinirmochana Sutra —the Sutra Unraveling the Intention [of the Buddha]– is a crucial sutra for the Yogacara tradition of the third Turning of the Wheel of dharma. It is the classic source from the Buddha’s teachings for unraveling his intent behind teaching three different Turnings of the wheel, as well as for his teachings on the eight consciousnesses, three natures, the ultimate, and the path of meditation that leads to nondual realization of the ultimate.

This course is open to all registered students and will be offered daily during Sessions 1 and 2.

Real-time:

  • Sessions 1 & 2 only (July 10-18 2020, July 12–20, 2021)
  • Daily 9:30-11am Pacific, 6:30-8pm CEST, 12:30-2am CST (China Standard Time)

Recordings:

  • Video available up to 24 hours after date of teaching
  • Audio up to 5 weeks after date of each teaching

Mahamudra Shamatha Practice Sessions

with Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen

In the afternoons, Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen will lead Mahamudra Shamatha practice sessions. These sessions are only open to students who have previously received Mahamudra Shamatha instructions from a qualified teacher and have practice experience. Please note that this is not the Nitartha Mahamudra shamatha curriclum course.

Prequisites are:

  • having taken at least one Mahamudra Shamatha course at Nitartha’s Summer Institute,
  • be following the Nalandabodhi Mahamudra Shamatha curriculum or having completed it,
  • having attended retreats where Mahamudra Shamatha was taught by a qualified teacher and practiced by the retreatants.

Click here to verify your eligibility (required).

Real-time:

  • Sessions 1 & 2 only (July 2-10, 2021, July 12–20, 2021)
  • Daily 2-4:30pm Pacific, 11:30pm-1:00am CEST, 5:30am-7:00am CST (China Standard Time)

Recordings:

  • Video and audio
  • Available up to 7 days after the date of each session

Community Meditation Session

led by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen

Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen will lead meditation sessions every morning during sessions 1 and 2. These sessions are open to all students who are registered for the Summer Institute. Join us for this opportunity to calm our minds, and connect with ourselves and one another by meditating together online!

Real-time:

  • Sessions 1, 2 & 3 (July 2-10 2021, July 12–20 2021, July 22- 30, 2021)
  • Daily 8-9am PDT, 5-6pm CEST, 11pm-12am CST(China Standard Time)

Recordings:

  • Video and audio
  • Available up to 7 days after the date of each session

Mind & Its World I&II (Level 1)

Taught by Mark Seibold, Alison McKee and Francis Sullivan

This course is an exposition of the Vaibhasika and Sautrantika philosophical traditions, based on the The Gateway that Reveals the Philosophical Traditions to Fresh Minds root text. Students explore foundational classifications of knowable objects: the five bases, five aggregates, twelve sources and eighteen constituents, followed by the presentation of Vaibhāśika theory of causation from Collected Topics, and the twelve links of dependent origination.

The course also presents the path and result of foundational Buddhism. Students explore classifications of knowable object into specifically and generally characterized phenomena as well as the Sautrantika’s distinct presentation of the five aggregates. The path consists of calm abiding and superior insight.

This course is open to all Summer Institute students.

Real-time:

  • Sessions 1, 2 & 3 (July 2-10 2021, July 12–20 2021, July 22- 30, 2021)
  • Daily 12- 1:30pm Pacific, 9-10:30pm CEST, 3-4:30am CST(China Standard Time)

Recordings:

  • Video and audio
  • Available until October 1, 2020

Course: BUD 520/BUD 530

Mind & Its World III&IV (Level 2)

Taught by Dr. Phil Stanley, Francis Sullivan, and Alison McKee

This course explores the criteria of valid cognition 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; what the difference is between non-mistaken, non-deceiving, conceptual and non-conceptual types of awareness. Practically speaking, this also provides the practitioner with the tools for delineating conceptual and nonconceptual types of mind in meditation.

The course also presents a detailed treatment of objects in the form of definitions, examples, equivalents and classifications drawn from Collected Topics, the introductory textbook of the Abhidharma or Buddhist phenomenology. Furthermore, we will explore the modes of engagement of mind and investigate mind in terms of the mental 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.

This course encompasses three main topics: valid cognition, modes of engagement, and mental factors.

Prerequisite: BUD501

Real-time:

  • Sessions 1, 2 & 3 (July 10-18 2020, July 20–28 July 2020, July 30- August 7, 2020)
  • Daily 12- 1:30pm Pacific, 9-10:30pm CEST, 3-4:30am CST(China Standard Time)

Recordings:

  • Video and audio
  • Available until October 1, 2020

Course: BUD 501/BUD 510

Madhyamaka Philosophical Tradition: Not Even a Middle (Level 3)

Taught by Dr. Stuart Horn and Dr. Sandra Roscoe

This course is an exposition of the Middle Way philosophical tradition, based on Part One of The Center of the Sunlit Sky, expressed as the ground, path and fruition of Madhyamaka. Students explore classification of knowable objects into the two realities and cultivate certainty in the view of emptiness of all phenomena, formulating the five great Madhyamaka reasonings. The course includes presentation of personal identitylessness, the sevenfold analysis of the chariot.

Completing Mind and Its World before taking this course is recommended (and required for those taking the courses for credit).

Real-time:

  • Sessions 1 & 2 (July 2-10 2021 and July 12–20 2021)
  • 12- 1:30pm Pacific, 9-10:30pm CEST, 3-4:30am CST(China Standard Time)

Recordings:

  • Video and audio
  • Available until October 1, 2020

Course: BUD 610

Chittamatra and Buddha Nature (Level 4)

Taught by Jirka Hladiš and Susan Stewart

This course covers both Chittamatra and Buddha Nature. The teachings on Chittamatra are a systematic presentation of the Chittamatra, 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. The teachings on Buddha Nature present 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.

Completing Madhyamaka before taking this course is recommended (and required for those taking the courses for credit).

Real-time:

  • Sessions 1, 2 & 3 (July 2-10 2021, July 12–20 2021, July 22- 30, 2021)
  • 12- 1:30pm Pacific, 9-10:30pm CEST, 3-4:30am CST(China Standard Time)

Recordings:

  • Video and audio
  • Available until October 1, 2020

Course: BUD 601/630

Tibetan Courses

Introduction to Colloquial Tibetan

Taught by Gerry Wiener and Nima Bhuti

This class is oriented toward beginning Tibetan-language students who are interested in furthering their connections to the language. It assumes no prior knowledge of Tibetan. In order to learn a language and make it your own, it is important to make a wide variety of connections to the language. Even though your focus may be on learning how to read classical Tibetan Buddhist literature, it is still extremely beneficial to gain some proficiency in listening to and speaking Tibetan. The class will begin with proper pronunciation of the Tibetan alphabet and Tibetan words and will lead to elementary conversations. The beginning student will gain practice in listening to, speaking, reading, and writing Tibetan.

Real-time:

  • Sessions 1, 2 & 3 (July 2-10 2021, July 12–20 2021, July 22- 30, 2021)
  • Times to be determined

Course: Elective

Intermediate Literary Tibetan

This course is oriented towards reading Tibetan Buddhist texts and literature. It focuses on acquiring and developing reading skills. Interesting and important grammatical points will be explained in the context of specific passages. Students practice both reading aloud to learn the rhythms and feel of the phrasing of the language and train in the traditional discipline of jor-lo (sbyor klog) – “reading the connections.”

Prerequisites: Knowledge of the Tibetan alphabet, spelling rules, and a functional grasp of Tibetan grammar. Students are asked to translate a short passage from Tibetan to English to help the instructor determine their proficiency. Instructor’s permission is required.

Real-time:

  • Sessions 1, 2 & 3 (July 2-10 2021, July 12–20 2021, July 22- 30, 2021)
  • Times to be determined

Course: Elective

Registration will open March 15 and closes June 11, 2021.

It seemed an unbelievable and perfect dream to me! Have no complaint about a single thing, only praise for the venue, the staff and of course most of all, the incredible gift of Rinpoche’s teachings as well as Lama Tenpa, Karl, Stuart and Susan Stewart’s Madhyamaka course. Oh yes, and Ikebana!

K. E.

The Teachers at NI are phenomenal; really engaging and clearly deeply inspired personally by the material they are presenting.  And important to say – I am always amazed at how relaxed and accessible Rinpoche is at Nitartha. It’s a great place to be with Rinpoche and receive teachings from him.  

I know there is a lot of work behind the scenes to bring about such an amazing month long experience and appreciate all the work that goes on for many months before the Summer Institute. I can only say that I didn’t want to leave when the time came for me to pack my bags.”

A. Wells

“This was my sixth year returning to Nitartha Summer Institute.  Even though when I sometimes examine the parts, they seem chaotic and sometimes precarious, and when I examine the whole it seems like a rolling cloud that appears as some illusory city , every time I return home, I feel that my practice has expanded and deepened exponentially.  So that even though I sometimes think I can imagine a Summer Institute that would help me better, it turns out that the Summer Institute just the way it is has helped me immensely and I am immensely grateful.”

Charles W.

Complete Nitartha’s entire shedra curriculum!

Are you interested in taking Nitartha’s full Foundational and Intermediate shedra curricula? The Summer Institute is an excellent way to take a good portion of Nitartha’s offerings.   The entire curriculum can be completed in 3 years by attending 3 Summer Institutes plus 3 semester courses, and/or through Self-Paced Online Courses.

Semester courses offer live webcasts of classes being taught during the current semester, as well as recordings that can be viewed for up to 2 months after the course ends.

Self-Paced Online Courses (SPOC) is another excellent option if a course you are interested in taking at a particular time is not being offered at the Summer Institute or through semester courses, or if you need a little more time to a complete it. The advanced curriculum is also coming along in 2020. The first course, Madhyamakāvatāra I: Entrance to the Middle Way,  began in February 2020.

About Nitartha’s complete foundational curriculum
About Nitartha’s complete intermediate curriculum

For more information about any of these options, please contact our registrar, Elena Weiss, at eweiss@nitarthainstitute.org