Program Archive

Luminous Wilderness: Philosophical Reflections on Sacred Natural Sites

With Dr. Stephen Jenkins

Open Dates
This talk aspires to enhance appreciation of wilderness as a valuable resource for Buddhist practice, particularly in regard to the exquisite natural setting of Gomde California. It will examine how, since earliest times, Buddhists spatialized values in cosmology and maṇḍalic thinking and acted on those conceptions through pilgrimage, gardens, forest meditation centers, and visionary engagement with natural beauty. His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote that "places often have a power that we cannot easily describe or explain. When approached with an awareness of the emptiness and luminosity underlying all appearances, they can encourage us to expand our vision not only…

Travel, Translation, and Transmission: The Life of Vanaratna

With Dr. Ryan Damron

Open Dates
In this talk, Dr. Ryan Damron will help us explore the Indian pandita Vanaratna's (1384-1468) biography, and discuss the insights it gives us into the patterns of the transmission of Buddhism in fifteenth-century India, Nepal, and Tibet. Vanaratna lived a remarkable life that unfolded across the length and breadth of South Asia and traversed the Himalayan range. Born when Buddhism was rapidly declining in India, Vanaratna left his homeland to establish his career in the flourishing Buddhist cultures of Nepal and Tibet. As a teacher, author, and pilgrim, Vanaratna traveled through and lived among many of the diverse Buddhist communities…

Unconditional Love as Entry into the Nature of Mind

With Lama John Makransky

Open Dates
This day-long retreat explores ways of accessing and settling into our innate awakened awareness through practices adapted from Tibetan Buddhism. We will learn how to participate in an empowering field of loving, spiritual connection, and so become increasingly receptive to the unconditioned openness, wisdom and compassionate energy of our essential nature—known in the Buddhist tradition as buddha nature. Parts of us, often unconsciously, may prevent us from becoming more fully receptive to such qualities of awakening. This is true even for long-time practitioners. To address that, we will focus on ways that the healing powers of our buddha nature can…

Buddhist Perspectives on Vegetarianism and the Modern Animal Rights Movement

With Dr. Geoffrey Barstow

Open Dates
Tibetan Buddhism contains diverse perspectives on the question of vegetarianism. In this talk, Dr. Geoffrey Barstow will explore some of those perspectives, illuminating the complex ethical debates over eating meat within the Buddhist tradition. He will then look at how those perspectives differ from those of the contemporary animal rights movement, suggesting places where Buddhist ideas could enrich contemporary debates.   Lecture Format Dr. Barstow will deliver this lecture via Zoom. Registrants will gain access to the recordings of all sessions. An hour-and-a-half in length, the lecture will include time for discussion and Q&A with the audience. Date: Thursday, December 16…

Becoming Divine: Four Stakes that Bind the Life-Force

With Lama Tsultrim Sangpo

Open Dates
In this 4-part online series, Lama Tsultrim Sangpo will unpack an essential aspect of tantric practice—the development stage. To properly realize our innate nature through sadhana practice, the great masters from Guru Padmasambhava down to our present teachers emphasize the necessity of "binding the life force" of the deity through planting four "stakes". These four points condense the essential methods of the development stage, and thus allow us to truly take hold of the deity—our own deepest nature. Lama Tsultrim, a master himself in all aspects of tantric ritual practice, will guide us through an in-depth exploration these four stakes…

The Concise Practice of Guru Rinpoche

With Dr. Catherine Dalton

Open Dates
In this online workshop, Dr. Catherine Dalton will elucidate the profound meaning of the Tibetan text of the Manual for Concise Daily Practice (Gyünkyi Köljang), revealed by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa as part of his Dispeller of All Obstacles (Tukdrup Barché Künsel) treasure cycle. This simple, essential practice focuses upon Guru Padmasambhava, known affectionately as Guru Rinpoche, crowned by Avalokiteshvara, embodiment of compassion, and Amitayus, Lord of Infinite Life. It is said in Guru Rinpoche's own instructions that the most powerful way to dispel obstacles is to pray to the guru—the master who embodies all the awakened beings of past, present,…

The Practice of Chöd: An In-Depth Workshop

With Dr. Catherine Dalton

Open Dates
Chöd, or “cutting through,” is a profound practice that cuts to the heart of wisdom and compassion. Traditionally attributed to the eleventh-century female practitioner Machig Labdrön, it is prevalent in many Tibetan Buddhist lineages. Combining the view of the Prajnaparamita sutras with tantric visualization methods, chöd is a direct meditational approach to severing ego-clinging. Chöd practice is also known for its hauntingly beautiful melodies, and has traditionally been used as part of Buddhist healing rituals. Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche has repeatedly emphasized the importance of practicing of chöd, and of perfecting our understanding of both its profound meaning and its lineage…

Shakyamuni Sadhana in Translation and Practice

With Dr. Catherine Dalton

Open Dates
At the express wish of Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, long-time translator and Rangjung Yeshe Institute faculty member Dr. Catherine Dalton will lead an online course focused on "The Treasury of Blessings" sadhana of Shakyamuni Buddha. Composed by Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche's (1846-1912) and widely considered to be a "mind-treasure" (gongter), this sadhana is both poetically rich in composition and totally complete in its practical framework. Furthermore, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche has extensively praised its qualities and provided teachings to unfold its depths. This course will proceed in two parts. In the first part we will engage in a linguistic approach to the sadhana…

Sang: The Practice of Smoke Offering

With Lama Tsultrim Sangpo

April 29 - May 1, 2022
Sang is the Tibetan Buddhist practice of offering precious incense to clear away obstacles and gather auspicious conditions for our Dharma practice. While the benefits of this practice are well known, the proper method for doing so is rarely taught in detail. Therefore, in this weekend workshop, Lama Tsultrim Sangpo will guide us in how to correctly offer sang, using The Condensed Smoke Offering liturgy from the Guru's Heart Practice that Dispels All Obstacles (Tukdrup Barchey Kunsel) as a basis. Guru Padmasambhava himself extolled the benefits of sang practice as follows: "When done regularly, and especially to create auspicious circumstances…

The Practice of Chöd: Retreat

With Lama Tsultrim Sangpo

June 29 - July 3, 2022
Chöd, or “cutting through,” is a profound practice which cuts to the heart of wisdom and compassion. Traditionally attributed to the eleventh-century female practitioner Machig Labdrön, it is prevalent in many Tibetan Buddhist lineages. Combining the view of the Prajnaparamita sutras with tantric visualization methods, chöd is a direct meditational approach to severing ego-clinging. Chöd practice is also known for its hauntingly beautiful melodies, and has traditionally been used as part of Buddhist healing rituals. Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche has repeatedly emphasized the importance of practicing chöd, and of perfecting our understanding of both its profound meaning and its lineage of…

Secret Essence of Vajrakilaya Retreat

With Lama Tsultrim Sangpo

July 22 - 29, 2022
The Sangtik Phurpa (Secret Essence of Vajrakilaya) practice belongs to the treasure teachings that were hidden by Guru Padmasambhava for the disciples of this time. In 1859 on the 8th of August, at the retreat hermitage of Jamgön Kongtrul Rinpoche in Tibet, Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa revealed the practice of Sangtik Phurpa as part of the three inner secret essence cycles of Vajrasattva, Yangdak Heruka and Vajrakilaya. Among the Vajrakilaya revelations of Chokgyur Lingpa, the Sangtik Phurpa is considered the highest (Atiyoga) practice of Vajrakilaya. Since it is very effective in removing outer and inner obstacles, is easy to practice, and…

Wish-Fulfilling Tara Retreat

October 6 - 9, 2022
*Note: The provided rates refer to the full-length program. They are not daily rates.* We are delighted to announce that the Gomde California community will host a Wish-Fulfilling Tara (Siddhartha Tara) retreat this October. This concise practice from the Lamey Tukdrub Barche Kunsel is considered to be extremely powerful for gathering positive conditions – both for the sake of realization as well as the fulfillment of worldly aspirations. The retreat is open to everyone and can be considered a vital enhancement to one's regular practice of the Noble Lady Tara. The Sadhana of Tara Who Fulfills All Aims (Siddhartha Tara Sadhana)…