Summer Buddhist Studies Program (shedra) 2020 - Month Long and Weekend Programs
Year One Summer Buddhist Studies
July 1st - 31st
This year the shedra is open to all students as we begin our exploration of the Buddhist path according to the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. In the sacred ancient land of India the Buddha turned the wheel of the dharma (the Buddhist teachings) bringing inconceivable benefit for human beings. After attaining the final result of enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya India, the Buddha began his teachings on the theory and methods of how each individual could achieve the same realization that he had achieved. This year we will explore the theory of karma, impermanence, the four noble truths and the 12 links of interdependent origination as well many additional topics on the Buddhist path. These are the precious foundational teachings of Buddhism which one will use throughout the entire path. This immersive month is designed for people new to Buddhism and more seasoned students alike who wish to deepen their understanding.
Our shedra program is a five year program that meets every year in July and may be attended for a year, several years or the entire certificate program of five years which covers all the teachings of Buddhism from the foundational vehicles to the highest teachings of Ati Yoga or Dzogchen. We will use the seminal text by Jigme Lingpa, Treasury of Precious Qualities, written in the 18th century as a key to all the Buddhist teachings of scripture and realization. Our shedra is unique in that we will also offer some of the methods of practice and meditation that accompany the stages of the path.
Our curriculum is in the tradition of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), the fully realized master of India who brought Buddhism into Tibet in the 8th century and additionally the great Buddhist universities of India and Tibet. It is that similar spirit of discovery and the special journey of Buddhism to a new country that our institute embodies. Founded and inaugurated by Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche in 2016 as one his heart visions for the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas and under the direction of Ngawang Gelek (Khen Rinpoche), resident abbot at the garden. Our purpose is to fully train students in all aspects of Buddhist philosophy, theory and practice.
The institute is a place for exploration, learning and discourse on the over 2000 year old Buddhist tradition. Our faculty of Khen Rinpoche, Jetsunma Palmo and Namchak Khenpo offer unparalleled world class education. We welcome everyone to join us for this landmark program at the beautiful Montana campus at the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas.
Vajrayana Year Two
July 1st - 31st
Year one of our two year shedra program on the Vajrayana covered five of the six classes of tantra. This year we will continue with the Ati Yoga or Dzogchen teachings and complete the tantric teachings. Sang-Ngag Rinpoche will begin our summer program with relevant empowerments and teachings; thereafter the shedra will be taught by Khen Rinpoche and Jetsunma. This year in addition to elucidating the meanings of the concluding section of the Treasury of Precious Qualities, we will be offering the complete transmission and teachings on the Chöying Dzö, Precious Treasury of the Basic Space of Phenomena by Longchenpa. This program is restricted and will only be open to those who attended the Vajrayana year one last summer.
Additionally weekend program topics to be held throughout the month of July - the schedule and specific programs will be announced late winter.
Message from Sang-Ngag Rinpoche on the Institute (shedra)
I’ve been living in America for many years, and in those years, we’ve done a great amount of work. We created many representations of the Buddha as you can see in the Garden of a Thousand Buddhas. This was created as a place to bring people together, as a place of pilgrimage.
The primary reason for gathering here is to study and practice the Dharma. The teachings of the Buddha are divided into those of scripture and those of realization. The dharma of scripture is the subject of shedra. I would like to say Tashi Delek and express my thanks to the Abbot of the shedra, Khen Rinpoche, the sponsor, and to all of you who are attending. The dharma of realization is that which is accomplished in your practice.
Today, I am just finishing teachings on Yeshe Lama and in it there is a discussion of the bardo of becoming, in which it is said that hearing the teachings is of primary importance. Hearing, or study, is said to be the eliminator of the darkness of unaware ignorance. All of you should be working hard in study, contemplation, and meditation. We must accomplish the three—hearing, contemplation, and meditation. The text which we will be studying is the Treasury of Precious Qualities, a text which completely and unerringly presents the paths of the beings of three capacities and the nine vehicles, beginning with the exposition of the difficulty of attaining a human birth and continuing all the way to the Luminous Great Perfection.
It will be very virtuous and beneficial if all who are attending the shedra don’t merely listen to the teachings, but ask questions and apply what you are learning to your practice as much as possible. In that way, our study and practice will be like a lamp which illuminates the darkness, like the sun rising to light the morning. Together with how the Dharma is spreading all over the west, we should join in and add to the spreading of the teachings and practice of the traditions of sutra and tantra and bring peace to this world.
So, it is extremely important that we establish this shedra. We can practice on the basis of our hearing and cutting through our doubts and misunderstandings with contemplation. Without knowing anything, there can be no practice. This is really important, so keep it in mind.
The spreading of the teachings is not just my responsibility. All of the students, with Khen Rinopche as their leader, should be applying themselves in these activities and reaping their fruits and should work hard to spread, hold, and sustain the teachings.’ - Sang-Ngag Rinpoche
Treasury of Precious Qualities
This text was taught by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche at Shechen Monastary every year as one of their most important texts to study. It is not just an intellectual exercise to study this work. Jigme Lingpa’s text is a manual for exactly how the great bodhisattvas and Buddha’s have realized the wisdom of Buddhahood so you too may be able to accomplish the same. This two volume work covers all nine yanas of the Buddhist path according to the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Patrul Rinpoche said to hear one word of this text would place one on the path to great understanding and to study the whole text would lead to the full realization of the Buddhist teachings.
The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas
The school will be conducted at the majestic Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Montana, “the Bodhgaya of the West.” Classes will be held six days a week from 9:00am-5:00pm, with one rest, sightseeing and study day off per week .