Contemplative Classes to Integrate Body & Mind

Contemplative practices such as Lüjong (body-mind integration practice),  debate, language and art are an integral part of the curriculum at Nitartha and ensure a holistic experience. At the Summer Institute you start your day with Lüjong before engaging in meditation and study.

Elective classes like Tibetan language, Mudra Space Awareness, Debate, and thangka painting give students the opportunity to integrate various approaches and allow for an enriching experience on all levels. These complementary electives are part of the daily schedule, usually occurring during period 5 (14:00–15:10) just after lunch.

Students are welcome to attend the first day of an elective class on a trial basis, but starting the second day of the session, please plan on attending your chosen elective for the remainder of the session.


every morning 6:30–7:00, Sessions 1/2/3

Lüjong, or body training, is a series of physical exercises developed by the Tibetan Buddhist meditation master Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche to help students enhance their health and synchronize their body and mind. They serve to increase energy and pliancy, both physically and mentally. The wakefulness developed by the exercises often brings a meditative quality to ordinary activities throughout the day.

Offered first thing in the morning every day (before breakfast), Lüjong is taught by Scott Wellenbach and others.


Dr. Karl Brunnhölzl
Sessions 1 & 2

BUD 714 Mahāyānasūtrālamkāra:
Ornament of the Great Vehicle Sutras

As the longest of the famous five texts of Maitreya, the Mahāyānasūtrālamkāra is a true encyclopedia of the mahayana, discussing every aspect of the path of a bodhisattva in terms of the view, meditation, conduct, and fruition, mainly from the Yogacara point of view.

This will be the third year of an in-depth exploration of this text at Nitartha Institute and we will conclude this text by discussing its chapters 14 to 21, which include practice, skillful means, the paramitas, means of attraction, the immeasurables, the meditations on all five paths, the qualities, and enlightened activity.

Note: While this is an advanced course, any interested students are welcome to attend, though they are asked to commit to attending all the classes of the course to contribute to a cohesive class atmosphere.

Mudra Space Awareness

Mitra Lee Worley
Sessions 1 & 2

Mudra Space Awareness is a series of physical and vocal exercises derived from the Mahamudra and Dzogchen traditions of Tibetan Buddhism as presented in the West by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. They utilize the body to train for a meditative mind and can help you to deepen your practice on many levels.

Mudra Space Awareness is taught by Mitra Lee Worley who learned these practices directly from Trungpa Rinpoche.

Drawing the Awakened Heart

Sessions 1 & 2

SoCA 510 Drawing the Awakened Heart: Thangka Studio Class

How can our path and Buddhist art connect in a meaningful and experiential way?

Through hands on exploration of the creative fundamentals and skills that go into Tibetan Buddhist thangka painting. Creating physical representations of enlightened beings enhances our practice freshly and directly.

Learn the basic skill sets of Karma Gadri thangka painting. This course will be taught at a level appropriate to the experience of each participant. No previous experience or artistic skill is necessary. Materials will be supplied.

Debate Practicum

Jirka Hladiš & others
Sessions 1/2/3

BUD 553/554/555 Debate I/II/III

Debate at Nitartha a method for cultivating wisdom arising from contemplation. It is using a strict logical form practiced in the Buddhist universities of India and Tibet, translated into English and other Western languages. This form allows for cultivating clarity in debaters´ expression, while utilizing a minimal number of words and thus limiting discursive speech. Foundation and Intermediate levels of progressive training in Debate will be offered based on student demand and interest. Practiced in pairs, it is a wonderful and fun way to deepen one’s understanding.

Introduction to Tibetan Language

Gerry Weiner
Session 1 & 2

LAN 500 Introduction to Tibetan Language

This course is oriented toward beginners who have little knowledge of Tibetan but would like to gain some familiarity with the language and how it is translated into English. We will cover the alphabet and pronunciation. We will then select a few songs or liturgies connected with practice at Nitartha, learn how to chant them in Tibetan, and at the same time investigate their meaning in both Tibetan and in English. By looking into the Tibetan behind the English, we expect to gain a richer understanding of the underlying subject matter. The songs and liturgies presented this summer will be different from the material presented in summer 2018.

Tibetan Text Reading

Mark Seibold
Session 1/2/3

LAN 510 Tibetan Text Reading

In this course we will read sections from various texts from the Nitartha shedra tradition. Applicants should know the Tibetan alphabet, spelling rules and have a functional grasp of Tibetan grammar. The course will focus on acquiring and developing reading skills; interesting and important grammatical points will be explained in the context of specific passages. Students will be asked to translate a short passage from Tibetan to English to help the instructor determine their proficiency.