2020 FAQs2020-07-07T13:53:52-08:00
Who is the main teacher and which lineage does Nitartha Institute belong to?2019-02-02T02:28:52-08:00

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is Nitartha Institute’s founder and spiritual director. Ponlop Rinpoche is acknowledged to be one of the foremost scholars of his generation in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

Rinpoche travels and teaches widely and is well-versed in Western culture and technology and is the founder of Nalandabodhi International, a non-profit organization with centers around the world that provide a complete curriculum of study, meditation, and mindful activity, based on an authentic lineage of Buddhist teachings, that is accessible and relevant to everyday life.

Rinpoche is known for his warmth, humor, and lucid presentation of Buddhist teachings in a manner relevant to contemporary life.

Read Ponlop Rinpoche’s life story.

Are discounts available for students or for those with limited resources?2019-11-21T08:22:26-08:00

Nitartha Institute aims to enable everyone who is interested in attending our courses to access our programs. Therefore, we established the Payment Plan and Financial Assistance (PPFA) program, which provides tuition assistance to any Nitartha participants who would not otherwise be able to attend due to financial reasons. Click here to apply.

Can I complete Nitartha’s curriculum by taking the Summer Institute?2020-04-25T05:57:13-08:00

Not all of the courses offered by Nitartha are taught at Summer Institute. By taking 3 Summer Institutes plus 3 semester courses, you can complete the Foundational and Intermediate curricula. The curricula can also be completed through Self-Paced Online Courses.

Are meditation sessions a requirement?2020-04-25T05:50:39-08:00

As the Buddha taught, meditation and study support each other. Philosophy greatly helps our meditation experience, and our personal experience with meditation deepens our understanding of Buddhist philosophy. We strongly recommend that students participate in both of these activities so that they can fully benefit from Summer Institute.

What is the schedule like?2020-04-25T05:49:24-08:00

The 2020 Online Summer Institute will begin in the morning (Pacific Daylight Time) with a meditation session, followed by a teaching by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. In the afternoon, Nitartha’s faculty will teach 3 levels of study courses. The day closes with a Mahamudra Shamatha session for qualified students. All sessions will be recorded for students who are unable to attend the livestreaming. Click here for a sample schedule.

Do I have to be a student of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche?2020-04-25T05:59:12-08:00

Nitartha is open to everyone regardless of their teacher-student relationships. Some Nitartha students are formal students of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, some are formal students of other teachers, and some do not have a formal student-teacher relationship with one teacher.

Do I have to be familiar with Buddhist philosophy?2020-04-25T05:58:35-08:00

While there are no requirements to attend Level 1 courses, some prior Buddhist studies would be helpful, especially knowledge about basic topics such as the Four Noble Truths, impermanence, karma, and interdependence.

Do I need to be a Buddhist in order to attend?2020-04-25T05:57:57-08:00

The Summer Institute is open to people from all types of religious backgrounds. While some of our formal practice sessions include Buddhist liturgy, you do not need to be Buddhist in order to participate.

Why are there prerequisites for some classes?2020-04-25T05:44:26-08:00

Since some of Nitartha’s classes are advanced, it is important to have the right kind of preparation in order to benefit from taking those classes. The prerequisites are designed with that in mind, to help students get the most out of their experience at Nitartha.

What is the payment and refund policy?2020-08-17T09:51:43-08:00

All payments are made in full when registering for the Summer Institute unless a PPFA  (Payment Plan/Financial Assistance) is approved (see below).

Participants with limited funds can apply for a payment plan or financial assistance (PPFA). You can choose to pay in installments prior to the Summer Institute, and/or request a discount. Applications will be reviewed (usually within 14 days).  Please click here if you would like to apply for financial assistance or an installment plan.

Refunds: A full refund will be given for cancellations made before the registration deadline. A processing fee of $75 will be charged for cancellations between the registraiton deadline and the start of classes. No refunds will be possible on or after the start date.

I financially support Nitartha for a number of reasons. Nitartha produces translations of priceless treasures of Buddhist wisdom, bringing these masterworks to people who would not otherwise have access. The study programs are an artful balance of practice and study, offering an entry point for people new to this stream of listening, contemplation, and meditation, as well as advanced curricula for those who have spent years walking this path. My own practice and learning have blossomed as a result of participation in these programs, bringing peace, joy, and openness to all parts of my life. And most of all, I fund Nitartha because the teachers are true masters, embodying the wisdom and compassion of bodhisattvas. They are extending a Buddhist lineage with deep roots to a new generation, bringing ancient teachings to a modern world that could not be more important or timely.

Josh T.

I was new to this sangha and to the patterns of the silent Mahamudra retreat. To my surprise and delight along with chanting, lu jong, walking and sitting, we also sang. Though I had sung one or two of the songs of Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche with another sangha, the songs had never had the starring role that they did in this retreat. Such an effective (and indelible) way to be reminded of the teachings!

I was new to this sangha and to the patterns of the silent Mahamudra retreat. To my surprise and delight along with chanting, lu jong, walking and sitting, we also sang. In my experience the songs had an unexpected starring role–an effective and an indelible way to be reminded of the teachings!

Laura H.

“This may have been the best experience I’ve had in my five years of attending the Nitartha summer session — coming from all levels, Rinpoche’s teachings, our teachers (Lama Tenpa, Karl, Stuart, Susan), the translator Miguel, the staff, the facilities, the setting, the food …. !

Willamette University is beautiful, the Kaneko dorm was clean and comfortable and food was very good.

Nadine S.