To put it simply, Nitartha Institute changed my life. I did not realize how much until recently. The program has been invaluable to my studies as an MA in Indo-Tibetan Traditions and my practice as a Buddhist. In only a month I felt like I had transformed. The level of depth and understanding within the shedra and gomdra programs is astounding.
For example, the teachers I had the humble pleasure to study with are absolutely amazing. Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen, Karl Brunnhölzl, Phil Stanley, and so many others have been integral to my understanding of Buddhism and putting those studies to practice in my life. I spent the predominance of my time with Stuart Horn, Lama Tenpa, Jirka Hladiš, Stephanie Johnston, and Karl Brunnhölzl and all of them bring their own special relationship with the dharma to their teaching. I feel tremendous gratitude to them for sharing their profundity and sensitivity to the teachings with me.
The Nitartha Institute program I participated in was supplementary to my studies at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Calling it “supplementary” sounds like an injustice now, given the amount of learning I experienced while I was there. I took classes in Cittamatra, Paths and Bhūmis, and Debate along with Mahāmudrā instruction with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. I also had the pleasure to study important Buddhist texts such as The Beacon of Certainty under the guidance of Lama Tenpa and the Mahāyānasūtralamkara under the guidance of Karl Brunnhölzl. The shedra program in its entirety is so well thought out and guides the student not just in terms of their scholastic goals but their practice and path goals.
The community is absolutely wonderful as well. I had never been comfortable with the idea of Sangha. I had never been really part of one, but at Nitartha it felt like family. I was sick at one point and everyone was there to help or be gentle in any way that I needed. I truly felt the love and power of Sangha while at the Nitartha Institute.
I highly recommend the Nitartha Institute program, whether shedra or gomdra, to anyone, whether or not you are a practicing Buddhist in the Tibetan tradition. The wealth of knowledge at this place is a gem in the West. True shedra programs are not easy to come by here and to really understand the traditions requires this kind of study. I transformed here and I will go back this coming summer. I love this place, the people, and the teachings and I strongly recommend it to anyone.