Exploring Your Mind through Buddhist Studies
How do we know what we know? And how do we know if this knowledge is correct? The Shedra classes will take you on a journey to discover your mind and consciousness with all its facets and functions. You will move through a well-developed progressive series of courses of the Foundational, Intermediate and Advanced curriculum to a more and more profound understanding of the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana views. The methods include presentations, discussion groups, analytical meditation and debate.
The Shedra program becomes extremely beneficial and supportive for our practice. The studies we do in the Shedra classes are not just for becoming a scholar or well versed in literature. They are all connected with our practice and they help us to demystify our mind and its world. Everybody likes Mahamudra and Dzogchen, but the practice of Mahamudra and Dzogchen very much depends on the understanding that we develop through the Shedra classes.
– Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
The Foundation Curriculum serves as the entryway to the study of Buddhist philosophy. It consists of the core and debate curricula as well as training in analytical meditation. The core of the Foundation Curriculum consists of the series of the four Mind and Its World courses accompanied by the Clear Thinking course. Mind and Its World series—as the title evokes—is exploring the inquiring mind and its world and formulating a contemplative worldview based on introspection. Clear Thinking class teaches the fundamentals of debate. The Foundation Debate Curriculum offers a gradual training in all the skills needed for the performance of the art of formal debate.
The Intermediate curriculum trains in the Mahāyana philosophical systems of Cittamātra and Madhyamaka as well as Buddha Nature and the Path and Bhūmis. The Intermediate Curriculum continues to lay the ground for in-depth study of the great Indian treatises and their commentaries by the Kagyü and Nyingma masters. The Intermediate Debate consist of debating the views of the four Buddhist philosophical traditions: Vaibhāśika, Sautrāntika Cittamātra and Madhyamaka, within the boundaries of individual systems, as well as between them.
The Advanced Curriculum is aligned with each of the three turnings of the wheel of Dharma. The first-turning courses of the Advanced Curriculum present an in-depth study of two treatises: Abhidharmakośa by Vasubandhu and Pramānavārttika by Dharmakīrti, which constitute the cornerstone of the Shedra studies. The second-turning courses of the Nitartha Advanced Curriculum present an in-depth study of two seminal Mahāyāna treatises of the shedra studies: Madhyamakāvatāra by Chandrakīrti and Abhisamayālamkāra by Maitreya. The three third-turning courses of the Nitartha Advanced Curriculum consist of in-depth study of three treatises by Maitreya: Madhyāntavibhāga, Dharmadharmatāvibhāga and the Uttaratantra, as well as sūtras of the third turning.
Nitartha Institute is committed to transmission of the entire breadth of Kagyü and Nyingma lineages of scholarship. The Institute will continually teach new advanced texts of the Indian tradition with their Tibetan commentaries related to all Three Turnings.
I had a thoroughly fantastic time exploring the Dharma along with fellow scholars and practitioners in a beautiful environment. The opportunity to meet and talk with so many excellent teachers continues to inspire me, and I attribute my enthusiasm for Tibetan debate to my time spent at the Nitartha Institute this summer. Nitartha holds a special place as a rare opportunity to be completely immersed in a diverse community of Buddhist scholars and practitioners from around the world.
– Cody Foster, 2017 Nitartha Summer Institute Student
The Shedra track is divided into 2 sessions:
Shedra Session 1 (14 days): Friday, July 6 – Thursday, July 19
Travel Day: Friday, July 20
Shedra Session 2 (14 days): Saturday, July 21 – Friday, August 3
Travel Day: Saturday, August 4
Shedra is a Tibetan word (བཤད་གྲྭ, bshad grwa) meaning “place of teaching” and refers to the higher educational program in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and nunneries.
Click here to see a sample schedule of a typical Shedra day at the Summer Institute.