Sessions 1, 2 and 3

One full shedra level (Sessions 1, 2 and 3) is included in your Summer Institute tuition, regardless of whether you register for one, two or all three Summer Institute sessions. All shedra classes will be taught on site as well as transmitted live via Zoom and recorded for viewing asynchronously through our Online Campus (Moodle). Shedra course recordings will be available for two months after the end of the Summer Institute.

Level 1

Mind & Its World I and Mind & Its World II

(Two courses taught consecutively.)




Prerequisites: Open to all registered students

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

Mind & Its World I: Valid Cognition (BUD 501)
This course explores the criteria of valid cognition based on the teachings of the Pramana tradition, or Buddhist epistemology. We will analyze our consciousness and determine to what degree, if at all, it is in agreement with its observed object. We will also look at the difference between non-mistaken, non-deceiving, conceptual and non-conceptual types of awareness. On a practical level, this course will also provide you with the tools for distinguishing between conceptual and nonconceptual types of mind in your meditation practice.

Mind & Its World II: Modes of Engagement & Mental Events (BUD 510)
This course presents a detailed treatment of objects in the form of definitions, examples, equivalents and classifications drawn from Collected Topics, the introductory text for Abhidharma, or Buddhist phenomenology. 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. We will also delineate its virtuous and afflicted states so that we can cultivate the former and relinquish the latter.

Level 2

Madhyamaka Philosophical Tradition: Not Even a Middle



Prerequisites: Mind & Its World I and II (BUD 501 and 510) are required. Mind & Its World III and IV and Clear Thinking (BUD 520 and 530) are recommended.

This course is an exposition of the Middle Way philosophical tradition. We will explore the ground, path and fruition of Madhyamaka, the classification of knowable objects into the two realities, and cultivate certainty in twofold identitylessness, namely: 1) the emptiness of all phenomena through engaging in the five great Madhyamaka reasonings and (2) the emptiness of a self of persons using the sevenfold analysis of the chariot.

This course is based on the Middle Way section of Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye’s The Treasury of Knowledge and the transcript of the oral commentary on this section by Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen. We will also use sections of Mitra Karl Brunnhölzl’s text The Center of the Sunlit Sky.

Level 3

Yogacara and Buddha Nature

(Two courses taught consecutively.)






Prerequisites: Mind & Its World I and II (BUD 501 and 510) and Madhyamaka (BUD 610) are required. Mind & Its World III and IV (BUD 520 and 530) are recommended.

Yogacara: Traveling from Dualistic Mind to Nonconceptual Wisdom (BUD 602)
In this course we will explore the view of the Indian Yogacara school based on selected passages from Indian texts by Maitreya, Asanga and Vasubandhu. The topics include: the eight consciousnesses, the three natures, the Yogacara Middle Way, the four yogic practices, nonconceptual wisdom, the notion of fundamental change and buddhahood with its three kayas and four (or five) wisdoms. We will also discuss the main differences between Yogacara and the so-called “Mind-Only” school, as presented in late Indian Madhyamaka and standard Tibetan doxographies.

Buddha Nature: Luminous Heart of the Tathagata (BUD 630)
The teachings on Buddha Nature present an overview of the Tathagatagarbha, or Buddha Nature tradition, which is 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 the Uttaratantra of Maitreya (ca. 4th century), which establishes Buddha Nature through the three reasonings, its ten facets, nine analogies and five reasons why it needs to be taught.

Completing the Shedra Curriculum

The entire Foundation and Intermediate curricula can be completed in three years by combining
Summer Institute courses with semester and/or self-paced online courses.
Some of our advanced courses are also open for self-guided study
for those who have completed the Foundation and Intermediate curricula.