Frequently Asked Questions


How many days a week is the shedra program?

The program will run the whole first week and then be 6 days a week thereafter with one day off a week.

What is the weather like during the year?

Summer is mostly very sunny and warm, nights can be a little cool as this is the mountains. In fall the days are brilliant but with colder nights. Winter can be snowy and majestic, no more camping. Spring brings the rains and warmer days.

What is the best airport to use?

The Missoula airport is only 25 minutes to the Buddha Garden and we can arrange transportation to pick you up if needed.

Is this program required to attend the Vajrayana section in the future?

The Mahayana program is a complete course of study and there are no obligations to continue to the tantra portion of the text. However,  students must attend this program on-site as a prerequisite to attend the two-year program on the tantra section that  follow this program. The only other way one would be able to attend is if one applies and gets written permission  from Sang-Ngag Rinpoche or Namchak Khenpo.

Are there volunteer opportunities at the Garden?

Yes there are a whole volunteer program run by Jason Hicks, volunteer@ewam.org, who can send you more information. It would be possible to volunteer before or after the shedra but not during as this is a very full schedule.

What programs are suitable for beginners?

The weekend programs and the Summer Buddhist studies program this summer 2017 are suitable for all levels of Buddhist students including beginners. When we have programs that have prerequisites in the future, they will clearly be stated.

Does the Nature of Mind series need to be taken in sequence?

One may take the Nature of Mind levels out of sequence but they do build on each other. If you start with a later program, it is highly recommended that also attend the earlier ones.

Does shedra and institute have the same meaning?

Shedra is a Tibetan word meaning ‘place of learning’. Shedra was a place where students could learn all aspects of the theory of Buddhism using key texts and the explanations of a Khenpo. The word institute is the english synonym for this word.

What is the teaching style of your programs?

Our programs use traditional teaching styles and modern western approaches. We have ample time for questions and explorations of the topics.

What is daily life like at the Garden?

The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is an open and spacious center in the beautiful mountains yet close to the university town of Missoula. While our program is rigorous, there is plenty of time to enjoy walks and leisure. On days off there are amazing places from hot springs to national parks not far away.

What is the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism?

The Nyingma school is the ancient, original school of Tibetan Buddhism and is one of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Central to the Nyingma school is Padmasambhava and his main disciples Yeshe Tsogyal and Mandarava, King Trisong Detsen and the 25 disciples. Padmasambhava is the principle reincarnation of the Buddha and specifically focused on the Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism. Padmasambhava was the one at the invitation of the King to have brought Buddhism into Tibet. The Nyingma school is an unbroken lineage of extraordinary masters both male and female and teachings going back to the Buddha. These methods have the capability of bringing about profound realization and the possibility of enlightenment in a single lifetime.