Letter from Pema Khandro


Buddhist Studies Institute

Dear Dharma Friends,

There is a saying that the Buddha taught in all the languages of all the 84,000 different kinds of beings. It is something I have heard over and over again. That the Buddha was this compassionate to manifest even as a teacher in the underworld to teach nagas. Likewise we have the notion of the bodhisattas manifesting in samsara and even in the depths of hell to teach beings. I thought of this as I wrestled with the question of how much to bring Vajrayana teachings online. Would the Buddha teach online? This was before students finished ngondro online, before we started Longchenpa’s epic cycle of Finding Comfort and Ease online, before we trained over a hundred teachers online. It was when no one else was doing it and alot of people thought it was wrong. Facing this question by myself while already having the liability of being a woman teacher (which many made clear is outrageous) was difficult. But I was pushed by wise students to do it for years and then I finally said yes. And what put me over the edge – was this contemplation, that the Buddha taught in the language of all the beings. To the fish he taught fish dharma. To the nagas. To every single one. And I finally felt that of course Vajrayana should be online. I came into this conviction that dharma resources should be wherever people are. I believe should be easy to access dharma, especially for serious practitioners. Wherever samsara is – the dharma should be there, on the phone, in the car, on the computer, everywhere. Wherever beings are suffering, buddhism should be there as a resource, shining the light of brilliant sanity. So, with this intention, me and my dharma friends gradually built up an online school behind the scenes and in 2019 we officially launched our public online platform.

And now here we are years later and there is so much online dharma!!!! It is starting to happen, but slowly. The world of Vajrayana has been slow to embrace technology, but the pandemic helped cut through those inhibitions a lot. It’s not that polite to say we were right. But we were. There is no going back. It’s just like dharma books, people are reading them, restricted or not, so as his His Holiness said, we may as well give them expert commentators to help them make sense of it. Likewise, we can’t put the rabbit back in the hat. Online dharma is here to stay and I am committed to using our communal resources to generatively and imaginitively rise to meet this occasion. The Buddha absolutely would have done this. The Buddha taught in all the 84,000 language of beings, wherever beings are, that is where dharma should be.

As we go forward into 2024, we are stepping forward with a new vision and revamping our online platform. We want to invest in a future where our team can come to your living room, where I can continue to meet with you one on one, and where you can interact with your fascinating and brilliant dharma friends. I invite you to help me make this possible by supporting our fundraising effort with a donation this year, to celebrate the embrace of Buddhism and technology and to enable the continual unfolding of this benevolent, generative effort that we have made. Our goal this year is to revamp our online platform to fulfill this potential at the next level. We can’t do that without you. We are a grassroots organization and all of our funding is based on individual donations.

Please help us reach our goal of raising $50,000 by December 31, 2023. To make a donation, you can click the donate button below or mail your check to the address listed below. No amount is too small or too large. Every gift counts and makes a difference.

As a token of appreciation, you, a cause you hold dear, or your loved ones in need, will be included in the Dedication of Merit that will take place at the annual celebration of Losar (the Tibetan new year) which will happen in February. This is a great way to spread the blessings and to practice one of the essential Buddhist teachings – dedicating the merit of your good actions to others. You can easily include your dedication of merit request with your online donation or include a note naming those to whom you wish the dedication to be made with your mailed donation.

My very best to you always,

Donate Now

Gifts can also be made by check, payable to Ngakpa International, and mailed to Ngakpa International, P.O. Box 2396, Nevada City, California 95959, USA. Ngakpa International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit EIN 68-0529687 and all gifts are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

The Heart Sutra

with Pema Khandro, Ph.D

& Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

December 1 – 3


9am PST San Francisco | 12pm EST New York | 5pm GMT London

The Heart Sutra for more than two thousand years has been chanted daily by Buddhists around the world. Known as Prajnaparamita, the Heart Sutra, powerfully illuminates the path of freedom from suffering. The Heart Sutra contemplates the way we perceive, and what is beyond what our dualistic assumptions portray. This course with Lama Pema Khandro & Shughin Roshi explores the Heart Sutra from the Tibetan Buddhist perspective including the pivotal teachings of the four extreme mistakes on the spiritual path, discovery of one’s true nature and one’s true purpose.

Register for The Heart Sutra

The 21 Taras
Pema Khandro’s Birthday Celebration & Fundraiser

Online & In-person at Dakini Mountain

December 2, 2023

6pm – 7:30pm PT San Francisco

9pm – 10:30pm ET New York

1pm- 2:30pm AEDT Sydney

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 event explores the outer, inner and secret meaning of the twenty-one taras.

This will be a joyous celebration in honor of our beloved Pema Khandro’s birthday.

Register for The 21 Taras

Meditation Instructor Training 2024

February 19 – August 5

People all over the world have turned to Buddhist meditation as a source of wisdom. Meditation offers a powerful method to access a sense of spaciousness, peace and authentic presence. The practical benefits of meditation are well documented. Research shows it improves mood, reduces stress (Brown & Warren 2003), it improves memory, visuospatial reasoning, sustained attention and executive brain function (Zeidan et al. 2010). It reduces sub-clinical depression and anxiety (Schreiner and Malcolm 2012).

From a Buddhist point of view, when we know how to meditate, we learn how to work with mind and emotions. We have a practice for unraveling conditioned scripts and unconscious habits. Meditation is a pathway to discovering human goodness by making peace with our mind. Ultimately it is a method for getting free from dissatisfaction, resolving confusion and waking up to see reality more clearly.

The Meditation Instructor Training supplies the fundamental knowledge and experience necessary to lead meditation classes and one-day meditation intensives.

3 Modules

Traditional Meditation

Teaching Practicum

Teaching Ethics

This training is a pre-requisite for the Chaplaincy Certificate offered summer of 2024.

Register for Meditation Instructor Training

She Was a Natural Yogini

Pema Khandro on Buddhist Women in Tibetan History

Sources about women in Tibetan Buddhism and women in Buddhism in general are sparse. Expand your awareness through some of Pema Khandro’s research on this underrepresented topic.

Read More Here

2023 Schedule of Events


Daily Meditation Online
Vajrayana Training1st & 2nd Wednesday of each month
Ngakpa Training 3rd Wednesday of each month


December 1-3 Heart Sutra with Pema Khandro & Shugen Roshi

December 2 The 21 Taras – Pema Khandro Birthday Celebration & Fundraiser


January 1 – 40 Day Meditation Marathon Begins
January 29 – Ngondro Training Begins
February 19 –
Meditation Instructor Training Begins

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

Thank you for your support! We are a small grassroots organization, completely dependent upon individual generosity to continue.

Gifts can also be made by check, payable to Ngakpa International, and mailed to Dakini Mountain, P.O. Box 2396, Nevada City, California 95959, USA.

Ngakpa International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit EIN 68-0529687 and all gifts are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Dakini Mountain Retreat Center
P.O. Box 2396
Nevada City, California 95946

Donate Now