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Where is Salem, Oregon, USA?2019-02-02T02:39:01-08:00

Salem, Oregon, is in the Pacific Northwest, 3-4 hours south of Seattle, WA (by train or car), and about 1 hour south of Portland, OR.

Read more on how to get there and on things to do in the area here.

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.

What time should I arrive and when does the first class start?2019-02-17T03:39:45-08:00

The Summer Institute begins on Friday, July 5, with an evening talk after dinner by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. We therefore suggest that students arrive by 4 pm that day to register and get settled. Registration will be open from 1-5 pm on July 5.

Registration and check-in for session 2 and 3 will be in the afternoon of the respective travel days (Sunday July, 14 for session 2 and Wednesday July, 24 for session 3), most likely between 3-5 pm.

If you have further questions, contact our registrar Elena at

Are discounts for students with low income available?2019-02-17T03:41:11-08:00

Nitartha Institute aims to enable everyone who is interested in attending our classes to access our programs. Therefore, we established the Payment Plan and Financial Assistance (PPFA) to help fellow students in need. PPFA offers those students a tuition discount and/or a payment plan for installment payments over a maximum of 12 months.

Click here to apply.

I’m interested in volunteering – are there any opportunities?2019-02-12T08:46:16-08:00

We are always looking for skilled people who would like to get engaged!

Currently we are looking for a photographer and videographer to document our summer activities and we are also looking for fundraising support. If you have any skills in this area and would like to be involved, we would love to hear from you!

Contact us at

Will there be silence all day?2019-02-02T02:33:15-08:00

During Sessions 1 and 2, we will have what is called “functional silence” until lunch, which means communicating only when necessary (e.g. to get a job done). There will be opportunities for plenty of interaction during lunch, and in the afternoons and evenings, as Nitartha actually thrives from discussion groups and exchange between students and faculty.

During Session 3, Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen will lead a Mahamudra Silent Retreat, where students are asked to observe silence all day.

Will I be assigned any tasks to help?2019-02-17T03:42:40-08:00

Yes, during the Summer Institute, everyone will be assigned what we call “mindful activity.” This is part of our daily practice.

When you submit your registration form for the Summer Institute, you can select areas for which you would like to be considered, but please understand that we may not always be able to fulfill your request.

Can I bring my family to the Summer Institute?2019-02-17T03:43:52-08:00

If you would like to attend the Summer Institute and have a partner or children who would not attend the classes, you are still welcome to bring them along. There are plenty of areas for other activities and things to explore. We are also looking into child care possibilities. Your partner/children can stay on or off campus. If they stay on campus, they will be required to purchase at least a lunch plan.

Over the past several years, couples have brought their children along, and while it certainly requires some scheduling and planning, everyone including the kids seemed to enjoy it!

Session 3 is a silent practice retreat, and since students are asked to observe silence outside of meditation sessions, this would not be the time to have family or friends with you.

If you have any further questions about briniging your chilldren or partner, please contact Elena at

How do I get there?2019-04-15T11:36:33-08:00