Introducing: Focus Training for Students, Teachers, Members and Leaders


Buddhist Studies Institute

Introducing: 9 Modules of Focus Training

Open to Students, Teachers, Members, and Leaders

Go at your own pace – Join One or Join them All

Join the Introduction – Jan 21st

Each Module Includes

  • Live Online Study, Practice & Discussion with Pema Khandro

  • Weekly Online Focus Groups & Community Discussions with Aruna Rig’dzin and Satya Shiva

  • Self-Paced Video Teachings

  • Self-Paced Reading Material

  • Optional Accountability Partnerships and Optional Quizzes to bolster learning opportunities

Who is this for?

  • Members of the public who wish to deepen their focus on a particular subject

  • Students of the Meditation Instructor Program who wish to be Certified

  • Students completing Foundations of Buddhist Philosophy

  • Certified Meditation Instructors who wish to fortify their teaching skills for teaching in a tumultuous world

  • Members of the Buddhist Studies Institute who wish to deepen their understanding and community connections

  • Leaders and Teachers who wish to incorporate Buddhist principles into their curriculums and coaching

Schedule of Training

Jan 21st, 10am-12pm
Introduction to Focus Training & Meditation Instructor Training
Open to the Public –
Click Here to Get the Link

Jan 21 – Mar 24
Module 1 – Learning to Teach Meditation**

Jan 25 – Feb 27
Module 2 – Buddhist Ethics

Mar 6 – 22
Module 3 – Trauma Informed Meditation

Mar 25 – Apr 24
Module 4 – Healthy Boundaries for Teachers

May 1 – 22
Module 5 – Bodhisattva’s Way of Life

May 24 – Jun 26
Module 6 – Multicultural Awareness for Teachers

Jun 21 – Jul 10
Module 7 – Teachings on Karma

Mar 25 – Jul 16, 2023
Module 8 – Teaching Practicums in Community & Online**

Module 9 – 100 Days of Meditation Practice

**For MIT enrolled students only

All times are listed in pacific time [UTC-8] Check your TimeZone

Join the Introduction – Jan 21st
Learn More about Meditation Instructor Training

Special Event with Karma Lekshe Tsomo and Pema Khandro

So much has changed for Buddhist women in the last three decades, this dharma conversation features two pioneering women who have devoted their lives to these changes. Join Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo and Dr. Pema Khandro for this special evening as they reflect on Buddhist Women before and after – discussing their journey into the scholar’s life and the status of Buddhist women today. This conversation comes at a joyful turning point as Ven. Lekshe-la celebrates her retirement after twenty-two years of serving as a University of San Diego professor. Likewise, Khandro-la celebrates the turning point of completing her Phd in Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia.

Register Now

2023 Calendar at a Glance

Vajrayana Training
1st & 2nd Wednesday of each month

Ngakpa Training
3rd Wednesday of each month

Meditation Instructor Training
Jan 21 – Jun 16

Buddhist Women Then & Now
with Karma Lekshe Tsomo & Pema Khandro

Jan 23

Buddhist Ethics
Jan 25 – Feb 20

Buddhism & Sexuality
Feb 3 – 5

Losar Tibetan New Year Celebration for Members
Feb 22

Ngondro Training
Mondays, Feb 27 – Oct 16

Ngondro Training 1 – The Field of Buddhas
Mondays, Feb 27 – Apr 17

Buddhism & the Environment
Mar 3-5

Teaching Trauma Informed Meditation
Mondays, Mar 6 – 27

Healthy Boundaries for Teachers
Mar 25 – Apr 24

Chakrasamvara Empowerment & Teachings
with Drupon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche & Pema Khandro
Mar 31 – Apr 2

Ngondro Training 2 – Purifying the Mind
Mondays, Apr 24 – Jun 12

Excellent Path: Bodhisattva’s Way
Mondays, May 1-22

Teaching Meditation in a Multicultural World
May 24 – Jun 19

Chod Retreat at Dakini Mountain
Jun 1 – 4

Ngondro Training 3 – Mountain of Jewels
Mondays, Jun 19 – Aug 14

Meditation Instructor Training – Final Transmission & Graduation
July 15 – 16

Teachings on Karma
Jun 21 – Jul 10

Annual Dzogchen Retreat – San Diego County
Aug 3 – 6

Ngondro Training 4 – Intrinsic Wisdom
Mondays, Aug 21 – Oct 16

Buddhist Psychology Training
Sept 8 – 17

Vajra Sangha Retreat – Location TBA
Oct 6 – 8

Season of Practice Begins
Nov 1

Bardo Teachings
Nov 3 – 5

Pema Khandro Birthday Celebration & Fundraiser
Dec 13

Mahayana Program: The Heart Sutra
Mondays, Jan 8 – Feb 5, 2024

Losar Tibetan New Year Celebration for Members
Feb 12, 2024

Ngondro Training Begins
Feb 19, 2024

Click Here to view the BSI Calendar View
Click Here for Events List and Registration
*All Times are noted in Pacific Time (PT) – Check your Timezone

Dzogchen Programs 2023

Step into the wisdom of the Great Perfection, the heart of esoteric Buddhism. With deep roots in early Buddhism, which began twenty five hundred years ago in India, it was first taught in Tibet one thousand years ago. This highly revered Buddhist tradition was specialized for yogis, householders, those who practice Buddhism in balance with work, family, and community life. It is therefore known as “Dzogchen Nyingthig,” Heart essence of the Great Perfection because it is oriented towards a direct and pithy approach. A lineage that began with two women, this tradition includes some of the greatest contemplative masters of Tibet, Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyal, Longchenpa, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and Jigme Lingpa. The Dzogchen Nyingthig tradition is oriented towards people who live busy lives outside the monastery. It therefore celebrates the short, direct, simple form of esoteric Buddhist practices, emphasizing naturalness, ease and letting go. This program offers a sequential journey through the most important of these Dzogchen Nyingthig practices. The instructions and practices are presented in their most potent and concise forms, to support in-depth engagement with esoteric Buddhism for those with complex lives.

Vajrayana Training
To practice esoteric Buddhism is to develop a vaster view. Support your study through engaging with The Heart of the Dakinis and Longchenpa’s Trilogy of Rest in bi-monthly Vajrayana Training courses. These courses traverse the entire series of Vajrayana view and practice. This includes in-depth analysis of the nine yanas, and study of the inner yoga instructions for the profound practices of tantra and Dzogchen Deity yoga (yidam) Black Mother Breathing (tummo) and Inner yogas (tsa lung). This is the core ongoing program attended by the Vajrayana community who meet to study, converse and practice together twice a month.
1st & 2nd Wednesdays Online at 5pm PT / 8pm ET

Ngakpa Training
Study the great expositions on the nature of reality and how to discover it through contemplative practices. Beginning with Longchenpa’s exposition of the nature of reality, the Treasury of Words & Meanings. Pre-requisites: Ngondro Training, two years of Vajrayana Training and concurrent enrollment in Vajrayana Training.
3rd Wednesdays Feb-May & Sept-Nov. Online at 5pm PT / 8pm ET

Ngondro Training
The entire practice path is made accessible through a series of classes to train students in every aspect of Vajrayana meditation and conduct. Enter Vajrayana by following the well-tread path of The Heart of the Vast Expanse, the Longchen Nyingthig Ngondro, the cherished practice of esoteric Buddhist preliminaries practiced by the great Tibetan yogis for three hundred years. A continuous living Buddhist tradition among Tibetan Yogis in Tibet today, Longchen Nyingthig represents a direct approach to tantra and Dzogchen combined. This series of meditations provides the foundation of esoteric Buddhist view of the world, vows and ritual practices. The new cohort Ngondro Training begins February 27th, 2023. Ngondro is taught in Four Modules spanning thirty-five live meetings and more than twenty-five self-paced videos. This year’s cohort, “the water rabbits,” begin February 27, 2023 to October 16th. Attend live meetings or watch the recordings on your own schedule. The Heart of the Vast Expanse is a cherished ngondro cycle of the Nyingma lineage. It is also known as the Longchen Nyingthig, (klong chen snying thig). This is a cycle revealed by the brilliant eighteenth century Buddhist yogi, Jigme Lingpa, poet, leader, historian, and treasure revealer, whose texts synthesize Longchenpa’s teachings.
Mondays Online at 5pm PT / 8pm ET

Module 1: The Field of Buddhas ~ Feb 27 – Apr 17
Module 2: Purifying the Mind ~ Apr 24 – Jun 12
Module 3: Mountain of Jewels ~ Jun 19 – Aug 14
Module 4: Intrinsic Wisdom ~ Aug 21 – Oct 16
Live Online Weekly Practice Group ~ Mondays 5-6pm PT led by Tsalgyur

Dzogchen Chod
The profound method of psychological transformation in esoteric Buddhism is the Dzogchen Chod. Chod means cutting, referring to cutting through to authentic presence. Chod teachings are taught in yearly alternating cycles focused on the Three Dakini Chod of the Rinchen Trengwa, Troma Meditation, and Longchen Nyingthig Chod, known as the Laughter of the Dakinis – a path of profound psychological and embodied transformation. The Laughter of the Dakinis is also taught in its long and short form. Secret Chod is also taught, a a direct path to healing through fear.
Dzogchen Chod Retreat at Dakini Mountain
June 1st-4th

Natural Freedom Retreats
Engage in the tradition’s most cherished cycles of practices, including the sems ‘dzin, five elements practice and the profound advanced Dzogchen meditations of breakthrough and direct transcendence as taught in the Heart of the Dakinis, Khandro Nyingthig, which emphasizes unlocking innate wisdom of the body and mind while connecting with the wisdom of the natural world.
The curent cycle is sem”dzin, the series on holding the nature of mind.
Aug 3rd-6th – San Diego County In-Person and Online

Bardo Teachings
Facing realities of dying, death and grief are central to our human experience. This online series offers reflections on Bardo Yogas as well as Tibetan teachings on dying, illness, loss and grief from the point of view of experts in diverse fields such as caregiving, hospice, Buddhist ministry and past-life research. This course focuses on the Buddhist teachings on preparing ourselves and our loved ones for death. The Bardo teachings explore dying, death, post-death and reincarnation from the Buddhist perspective. This is followed by an in-depth course on Zhitro, led by Pema Khandro. Zhitro is the Tibetan practice to guide loved ones through the post-death state. It concludes with an Open Buddhist Memorial Service to commemorate the lives of loved ones we have lost.
Nov 3rd-5th, Online at 9am-1pm PT / 12-3pm ET

Buddhist Tantra Programs 2023

The Buddhist tantra program focuses on the practice of deity yoga, the Buddhist path for deconstructing the fictive self to generate connection with one’s own authentic presence. This community is devoted to Nyingma and Kagyu lineage yidam practices related to the Vajrayogini, queen of the Dakinis and empowerment of innate wisdom. Vajrayogini is the female buddha embodying radical presence. In the Longchen Nyingthig Vajrayogini manifests as Dechen Gyalmo, the Great Bliss Queen. In the Drikung Generation stage practice Vajrayogini appears in her dancing forms and as in her non-dual form in union with Chakrasamvara. Chakrasamvara is the heroic male buddha in fierce compassionate form, practiced to awaken natural heroism. Deity yoga practice instruction is offered through empowerements, online retreat practices, weekly practice groups and study of instructions on deity yoga from the great masters. This includes the study of Jigme Lingpa’s Feast of Nectar, essential instructions for tantric practitioners to live a dharmic life outside the monastery.

Chakrasamvara Empowerment
Teachings Embodying Natural Heroism
Online with Drupon Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche & Pema Khandro
Mar 31-Apr 2nd, 9am-12pm PT / 12-3pm ET

Chod Retreat at Dakini Mountain
June 3-4th, 2023 Dakini Mountain
Details TBA

Feast of Nectar – Vajra Sangha Retreat
Oct 6th-8th. In-person – Location TBA
Pre-requisite: Vajra Sangha membership

Mahayana Programs 2023

Mahayana is the great vehicle of love and compassion for all beings. This is the philosophy that all higher Buddhist vehicles are founded upon, emphasizing the nature of interdependence and the non-duality of self and other. Through compassionate care for oneself, others and one’s world, the path of liberation is experienced as a great love beyond duality.

In this school, Mahayana is approached from the perspective of Great Perfection (Dzogchen) view of reality and the two great philosophical views are put in constant conversation, cultivating the crucial skill to see multiple views of reality at once.

Excellent Path to Enlightenment
Begin with Longchenpa’s Guide to Meditation in Excellent Path to Enlightenment from his commentaries to the Finding Rest in the Nature of Mind (sems nyid ngal gso). This is a series of direct and pithy instructions that present the entire scope of the Buddhist view and the path of awakening to one’s own innate sublime knowing.

  • Excellent Path 1 – The Common Preliminaries
    Self-Paced Online for Members

  • Excellent Path 2 – Virtue and Non-Virtue
    Self-Paced Online for Members – coming in 2023

  • Excellent Path Module 3 – The Bodhisattva’s Way
    Mondays, May 1 – 22, 5pm PT / 8pm ET

The Heart Sutra (Prajnaparamita)
This course explores the hidden assumptions behind the way we perceive ourselves, others, and all of reality. The Heart Sutra addresses the biggest questions of life from the Buddhist perspective including the four Extremes, god, godlessness, self, and identity. It addresses the defining perspective of Buddhism – emptiness – and its misinterpretations. Both philosophy and practice, the heart sutra awakens the vast view of a world that flows beyond reification and clinging.
January 15th-Feb 5th 2024 Online

White Tara meditation
White Tara meditation is practiced to awaken compassion and call on world healing. With her seven compassionate eyes, White Tara sees the suffering of beings and sends healing energy that recovers the natural wisdom of the world. White Tara is practiced to end widespread illness, stop natural disasters and heal the planet.
December 13th, 2023 Online

The Twenty-One Taras
The twenty-one taras is a sublime chanting meditation and praise of the forms of the female Bodhisattva Tara, each one a contemplation of all the forms of compassion ranging from gentle to fierce. This course explores the outer, inner and secret meaning of the twenty-one taras.
December 11th, 2024 Online

Medicine Buddha practice
The Medicine Buddha is the expression of loving compassion and the capacity to heal. He is the form of the Buddha that relieves suffering, disease and ignorance. In this retreat we explore mental, emotional and physical health from the perspective of the Medicine Buddha teaching as well as how we relate to illness, aging and death through the path. This program is offered online by donation.
Jan 20 – Feb 24, 2025

Community Programs 2023
+ Special Events for Members

Enjoy practice, deep conversations, and joyful connections with fascinating people! Community programs include, community led meditation classes, community tea time during retreats and special member events:

Losar, the Tibetan New Year Celebration – Online
Feb 22nd, 5pm PT / 8pm ET Online

Saga Dawa Celebration – Online
Jun 3rd, 9am PT / 12pm ET

Vajra Sangha Retreat
Oct 6-8th, In-Person – Location TBA

Season of Practice Begins – Online
Nov 1st, 6pm PT / 9pm ET

Buddhist Studies Programs in 2023

Unpack Buddhism from the perspective of Buddhist histories, philosophies and cultures. These programs feature cutting edge Buddhist Studies scholars discussing their highly specialized research.

Buddhist Women Before and After
with Pema Khandro and Venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo

Jan 23rd, 5pm PT / 8pm ET

Buddhist Ethics
Jan 25 – Feb 20
How to live a good life, from a Buddhist Perspective. This course on Buddhist Ethics goes through the Five Buddhist Precepts, from a Tantric perspective. The five precepts form the basis of a Buddhist way of life and the vows that Buddhists Seek to follow. The Five Precepts are a discipline of freedom, honor and precision that cover the potent themes of life from the extraordinary perspective of non-duality.
Jan 25, 5pm PT / 8pm ET with Pema Khandro
Focus Groups – Mondays 1pm PST Jan 30 – Feb 20

Buddhism & Sexuality
Feb 3 – 5, 9am – 12pm PT / 12-3pm ET
Join Pema Khandro and a group of esteemed Buddhist Studies scholars for an exploration of the history of Buddhist Sexualities from celibacy, to sacred sexuality in Buddhist Tantra and a simple approach to embodied integration with nature in Dzogchen.

Buddhism and the Environment
Mar 3 – 5, 9am – 12pm PT / 12-3pm ET
Re-imagine the world and a human being’s place in it through the perspective of twenty-five hundred years of Buddhism. Join Pema Khandro and Buddhist Studies scholars to reconsider earth, the elements, nature and environment within a sense of interdependence, impermanence and an ethic of profound care.

Teachings on Karma
Jun 21 – Jul 10
By understanding what Karma is and is not, gain insight into the hidden causes behind experiences and the open-ended nature of reality, in which change is always possible. This course introduces the rare view of Karma in Buddhist Tantra and Dzogchen, which offer up immediate ways to understand, transform and liberate patterns so that beginning-less freedom can be found. This course takes place in three classes.
Jun 21, 5pm PT / 8pm ET with Pema Khandro
Focus Groups – Mondays 1pm PT / 4pm ET, Jun 26 & July 10

Buddhist Psychology Training
Sept 8 -17, Details TBA

Dharma Conversations Podcast
Did you miss past dharma conversations? Stay tuned for podcast re-runs coming in 2023

Leadership Training

Meditation Instructor Training
Jan 21 – July 16

  • Updated & Robust, 180 hours of In-Depth Training

  • Self-Paced Curriculum & Live Classes

  • Weekly Mentoring

  • Teaching Practicum in community and online

  • Traditional Meditation + Buddhist Philosophy + Buddhist Ethics

  • For Teachers Facing A Diverse Tumultuous World

Focused Study for Teachers and Leaders

Who are these class for?

  • MIT Students & BSI Certified Meditation Instructors

  • Open to Snow Lion and All-Access-Pass members

  • Open to Public & Meditation Instructors from all lineages $150/course

Teaching Trauma Informed Meditation
Mar 6 – 22

  • Live with Pema Khandro – Wed Mar 22, 5pm PT / 8pm ET

  • Self-paced Videos (3 hours) and Book reading (8.5 hours)

  • Focus Groups – Mondays at 1pm PT/ 4pm ET March

Healthy Boundaries for Teachers
Mar 25 – Apr 24

  • Live with Pema Khandro – Sat Mar 25th, 10am-12pm PT / 12-2pm ET

  • Self-paced Videos (2.5 hours) and Book reading (8 hours)

  • Focus Groups – Mondays at 1pm PT / 4pm ET in April

Teaching in a Multicultural World
May 24 – Jun 26

  • Live with Pema Khandro – Wed May 24, 5pm PT / 8pm ET

  • Book reading (5.5 hours)

  • Focus Groups – Mondays at 1pm PT / 4pm ET in June


Are you a serious student who wants to do all these things?

Mark off your calendar for programs on Mondays & Wednesdays and the first weekend of every month (except on months where the first weekends are eclipses or holidays!)

The All Access Pass gives you access to all the online courses and retreats. All Access Pass offers you tuition free courses, retreats and trainings a savings of over $2500!

Become a Member