Learn Online

Join us on site, or online, or both!

Nitartha’s Summer Institute is a month-long program that can be completed
in person, online, or both!

Webcasts and Recordings from the 2020 Summer Institute

Courses at the Summer Institute continue from one session to another. Students can join for the whole month to enjoy all classes in person, or attend one or two sessions in person and continue the courses online!

Online access to the study and meditation courses that you take on site is included in your Summer Institute tuition. (Please note that other courses may have a fee for online access, which will be offered at a reduced rate to those attending at least one session on site.)

For those who cannot attend any of the Summer Institute on site, we invite you to join the shedra (study) courses online during the Institute, as well as teachings by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche on Entering the Way of the Great Vehicle.

Click here for a list of Summer Institute 2020 webcasts.

Complete Nitartha’s entire shedra curriculum!

The entire Foundational and Intermediate shedra curricula can be completed in 3 years by attending 3 Summer Institutes plus 3 semester courses, and/or through Self-Paced Online Courses.

Semester courses offer live webcasts of classes being taught during the current semester, as well as recordings that can be viewed for up to 2 months after the course ends.

Self-Paced Online Courses (SPOC) is another excellent option if a course you are interested in taking at a particular time is not being offered at the Summer Institute or through semester courses, or if you need a little more time to a complete it. The advanced curriculum is also coming along in 2020. The first course, Madhyamakāvatāra I: Entrance to the Middle Way,  begins on February 1st, 2020.

For more information about any of these options, please contact our registrar, Elena Weiss, at eweiss@nitarthainstitute.org

Live Webcasts from the 2020 Summer Institute

Either webcasts and/or recordings of these courses will be available. Please stay tuned for more information.

Entering the Way of the Great Vehicle

Taught by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

In 2020, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche will teach on the text Entering the Way of the Great Vehicle: Dzogchen as the Culmination of the Mahayana, by Rongzom Chökyi Zangpo. Rongzom Chökyi Zangpo wrote this treatise in the eleventh century during the renaissance of Buddhism in Tibet that was spurred by the influx of new translations of Indian Buddhist texts, tantras, and esoteric transmissions from India. Using the kinds of philosophic and linguistic analyses favored by the new schools, he demonstrates that the Great Perfection is indeed the culmination and maturation of the Mahāyāna, the Great Vehicle. The central topic of the work is the notion of illusory appearance, for when one realizes deeply that all appearances are illusory, one realizes also that all appearances are in that respect equal.

This course is open to all and will be offered either as a live webcast and/or recording, every other day during Sessions 1 and 2.

When:

  • Sessions 1 & 2 (July 10-18 2020, July 20–28 July 2020)
  • 11:00-12:30 pm PDT (-7 UTC) every other day during Sessions 1 and 2

Cost:

  • On-site Summer Institute students: $150
  • Online students: $350 USD

Mind & Its World

Taught by Dr. Phil Stanley, Alison McKee, and Francis Sullivan

This course explores the criteria of valid cognition based on the teachings of the Pramāna tradition, or Buddhist epistemology. We will analyze our consciousness and determine to what degree it is in agreement with its observed object or not; what the difference is between non-mistaken, non-deceiving, conceptual and non-conceptual types of awareness. Practically speaking, this also provides the practitioner with the tools for delineating conceptual and nonconceptual types of mind in meditation.

The course also presents a detailed treatment of objects in the form of definitions, examples, equivalents and classifications drawn from Collected Topics, the introductory textbook of the Abhidharma or Buddhist phenomenology. Furthermore, 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, as well as determine its virtuous or afflicted states, in order to cultivate the former and relinquish the latter.

This course is linked with Mahamudra practice level 1 (Mahamudra Shamatha) and encompasses three main topics: valid cognition, modes of engagement, and mental factors.

This course is open to all and will be offered as either a live-streaming course and/or recording.  Stay tuned for more information.

When:

  • Sessions 1, 2 & 3 (July 10-18 2020, July 20–28 July 2020, July 30- August 7, 2020)
  • 9:10-10:40am PDT (-7 UTC/GMT) daily during Sessions 1 and 2, and 2:00 – 3:30pm during Session 3

Cost:

  • On-site Summer Institute students: free (included in tuition)
  • Online students: $350 USD

Course: BUD 501/BUD 510

Madhyamaka Philosophical Tradition: Not Even a Middle

Taught by Dr. Stuart Horn and Susan Stewart

This course is an overview of the final view of the Buddhist philosophy—Madhyamaka, or the Middle Way tradition of Mahāyāna, which propounds the view of śūnyatā, the emptiness of all phenomena, the transcendence of all views, freedom from elaborations.

The course will mainly be based on Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s own take on Madhyamaka as it appears in the Nalandabodhi Study Path 300 series, supplemented by additional materials from Center of the Sunlit Sky and The Heart Attack Sutra.

In addition, the essential Madhyamika approach of searching for some kind of real existence or a middle but not finding any will be linked to the same approach in Mahamudra vipashyana. In this way, it is designed to help discover the experience of the spacious and relaxed openness that cannot be grasped or pinpointed.

These Madhyamaka teachings will be linked with Mahamudra practice level 2 (Mahamudra Vipashyana-I). Completing Mind and Its World before this course is recommended (and required for those taking the courses for credit).

This course will be offered as either a live-streaming course and/or recording.  Stay tuned for more information.

When:

  • Sessions 1, 2 & 3 (July 10-18 2020, July 20–28 July 2020, July 30- August 7, 2020)
  • 9:10-10:40am PDT (-7 UTC/GMT) daily during Sessions 1 and 2, and 2:00-3:30pm during Session 3

Cost:

  • On-site Summer Institute students: free (included in tuition)
  • Online students: $350 USD

Course: BUD 610

Cittamātra and Buddha Nature

Taught by Israel Lifshitz, Dr. Sandra Roscoe, and Mark Seibold

This course covers both Cittamātra and Buddha Nature. The teachings on Cittamātra are a systematic presentation of the Cittamātra, or Mind Only meditative view of Mahāyāna Buddhism. We will engage in the philosophical reformulation of experiences arising from meditation practice—declaring reasonings establishing objects as not separate from mind, as well as the three natures theory and the eight-fold collection of consciousness. The teachings on Buddha Nature present an overview of the Tathāgatagarbha, or Buddha Nature tradition, 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 Uttaratantra of Maitreya (ca. 4th century) which establishes Buddha nature through three reasonings, its ten facets, nine analogies and five reasons why it is necessary to teach it.

This course is linked with Mahamudra practice level 3 (Mahamudra Vipashyana-II). Completing Madhyamaka before this course is recommended (and required for those taking the courses for credit).

This course will be offered as either a live-streaming course and/or recording.  Stay tuned for more information.

When:

  • Sessions 1, 2 & 3 (July 10-18 2020, July 20–28 July 2020, July 30- August 7, 2020)
  • 9:10-10:40am PDT (-7 UTC/GMT) daily during Sessions 1 and 2, and 2:00-3:30pm during session 3

Cost:

  • On-site Summer Institute students: free (included in tuition)
  • Online students: $350 USD

Course: BUD 601/630