For students on the path of Vajrayana and Great Perfection (Dzogchen)
- fuel your inspiration
- discover your hidden depths
- immerse yourself in dharma
- connect with other Buddhists
- cut through fictions to see yourself as you really are
- understanding your mind and emotions
- gain support for ongoing practice and study
- clarify the meaning of esoteric Buddhist philosophy, terms and rituals
- engage Buddhist philosophy to grapple with the issue of teacher-student relationships in Vajrayana
- leave behind the maze of information and have a direct encounter with the heart of Buddhism
What is Vajrayana?
Vajrayana is a Buddhist path for utilizing our life experiences as the fuel for the path. Vajrayana is a system of practices to cultivate a wakeful clear presence and connect with goodness in ourselves and others.
In Vajrayana ordinary life experiences become the focal point for our training. Vajrayana refers to a path of “transformation” of these experiences. It is the transformation of thinking, experiencing emotions, embodied experience, visualization, identity, moments of crisis, dreaming and dying into opportunities for connecting with intrinsic wisdom.
The view of the world in Vajrayana is that innate wisdom and potential for awakening is always present. Through Vajrayana meditation practices and Buddhist philosophy, we train to see the world with a “pure view,” an openness to connect with what is good, uplifted, the positive potential. Simultaneously, it is a training to wakefully address subconscious material, habitual neurosis and conditioned scripts within the framework of Buddhist resources for training the mind.
The term “Vajrayana” is used in the Nyingma lineage to refer to Buddhist Tantra and Great Perfection teachings (Dzogchen). The latter refers to a class of Buddhist teachings that have been practiced by non-monastic, non-celibate practitioners, yogis, tantrics and lay people who lived dynamic lives. Vajrayana includes philosophy, visualization, mind training, body-mind yogas, meditation practices and rituals.
Vajrayana, like all of Tibetan Buddhism, emphasizes the importance of relationships. The relationship between the teacher and student, between the student and the lineage history, between the community of people who practice and between the student and their world. These relationships present a complex and dynamic landscape through which the lived meaning of the teachings can be explored. Therefore a personal connection with others who teach and practice Vajrayana is an important ingredient. No book or class can substitute for that. However those experiences can be supported by a strong foundation in Vajrayana views, history and the context of the practices. The Vajrayana Training is offered to provide a foundation and a ground to encounter Vajrayana with understanding, to meet its teachers, adherents, rituals and practices with a sense of their purpose and context.
For advanced trainings in Vajrayana – Tibetan Yoga and Dzogchen, learn about the Ngakpa Seminary
The Need for In-Depth Training Online
As Buddhism has come to North America, ritual initiations (empowerments) have been widely available, but education in Vajrayana has not. Likewise, exposure to Lamas has been available, but in-depth personal training has not been accessible to all but a few people. The Vajrayana training offers an opportunity to bridge these gaps, offering an orientation to the views, rituals, symbols, practices and core principles of Vajrayana Buddhism in an accessible on-line learning format.
Approaches to the Vajrayana teachings of Buddhism vary widely, with vigorous debates on the topic throughout the history of Tibetan Buddhism. While some schools reserve Vajrayana for advanced stages of the path, the Ngakpas (Buddhist Yogis) of the Nyingma lineage practiced Vajrayana as the core of the path from start to finish, approaching the entire spectrum of Buddhist vehicles from the view of Dzogchen and the methods of Vajrayana. The Vajrayana Training continues this tradition, offering education in a non-sectarian environment that may benefit students of any school of Tibetan Buddhism.
The course is taught by Pema Khandro whose background of growing up in North America has provided her with an understanding of Western culture and learning styles. Thus the Vajrayana Training offers advanced esoteric teachings in a modern format. She engages straightforward language with a supportive teaching methodology that offers lecture, question and answer, slide shows with outlines of the material, recordings of the class for viewing and reference and the support of an assisting instructor who will follow up with one on one conversations after each class. The training is given in the accessible format of live web-cast teachings to keep Vajrayana accessible despite the demands of modern life.