23 Years of Nitartha

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche founded Nitartha Institute in 1996, under the guidance of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche

Originally established as the first English shedra in the West, Nitartha Institute was modeled after the Tibetan monastic universities (Tibetan བཤད་ grw bshad grva meaning ‘place of learning’.)

Today it is a unique program combining study and mediation based on a genuine and authentic lineage and is available in its various forms in North America, Europe, and online.

Authentic Lineage
and Modern Methods

Under the direct guidance of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen Tibetan masters, translators, committed students collaborate to preserve lineage texts and sustain the oral tradition. This allows you to receive genuine lineage teachings in a teaching style that is a unique blend of modern Western and traditional Tibetan pedagogical approaches, suited to 21st century practitioners.


The shedra classes in Nitartha’s study curriculum are progressive courses that are divided into Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced curricula, taking you on a gradual journey to a deeper understanding of the Buddhist philosophic systems. Certificates are granted at the completion of each level.


The first level focuses on working with our own mind by analyzing and questioning our common perceptions and concepts.

  • How do we know what we know?
  • How do we know if this knowledge is correct?


This level covers the importance of compassion for others on the path to liberation, the view of emptiness, the Middle Way school and the Buddhanature tradition.

  • How do we go beyond the focus on ourselves?
  • Is the world as solid as it appears?


On this level you will study the principal Indian scriptures with authoritative commentaries by leading Kagyü and Nyingma masters.

  • How do leading masters explain important texts?

Summer Intensive, Local Courses, and Online Learning

The Summer Institute is a four-week intensive program held each year in July/August, celebrating its 24th year in 2020! Previously divided into shedra (Buddhist studies) and gomdra (meditation intensive), it is now a unique program combining both meditation and study.

In addition to the Summer Institute, Nitartha also offers weekly courses in selected locations and self-paced online classes, which allow you to study with others in  your area who have similar interests, or in the convenience of your own home.

A Diverse and Inspiring Community

You will be part of an inspiring community with many experienced practitioners and scholars who offer support beyond the classrooms. We value the Nitartha family and strive to build a community where everyone feels welcome.

Nitartha Institute has faculty members from more than 6 countries and its students are from over 15 countries, which creates a true international experience.