Zurmang Kagyu Buddhist Studies Series

Zurmang Students Shedra

Update: Work on the Buddhist Institute for overseas students has started – See pictures here on the support page.

ABOUT THE SERIES
This series is taught by H.E. the 12th Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche and aims to provide Buddhist students and practitioners a program of study that covers all the fundamentals of Buddhist practice. There are four levels in the series:

(1) Introductory,
(2) Foundational,
(3) Intermediate, and
(4) Advanced.

The emphasis of each course is on practice, however with the completion of the series students will also have a good theoretical understanding of important Buddhist concepts. These courses have been designed to prepare students for the restricted practices of the Zurmang Tradition, which are guided by Rinpoche in a more intimate setting. A certificate of completion will be provided to those students who complete the entire series.

INTRODUCTORY COURSES
The introductory courses are suitable for anyone interesting in calming the mind and leading a good life. This course focuses on the introductory Buddhist practices and concepts such as meditation, karma, and impermanence. The course also introduces Mahayana practices.

1. Jewel Ornament: Introductory Level | The Four Common Foundations
This course is based on the first six chapters of The Jewel Ornament for Liberation by Gampopa (1079–1153). The course will place particular emphasis on the four common foundations, also known as the four thoughts that turn the mind: (1) the precious human life, (2) impermanence, (3) karma and (4) suffering nature of samsara. The course will also provide explanations on important topics such as Buddha nature, and the role of a teacher.

2. Meditation: Introductory Level | How To Meditate
This course is based on the famous meditation manual written in the fourteenth century by the Tibetan master Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (1512–1587), which is known in English as Moonbeams of Mahamudra. This course emphasizes the common system of tranquility meditation detailing the causes, obstacles, antidotes, and different stages for developing tranquility. The course will guide you through a range of meditation techniques.

3. Practice: Introductory Level | Seven Points of Mind Training
This course is based on the mind training (lojong in Tibetan) instructions brought to Tibet by Atisha in the eleventh century and popularized by the Kadampa master Geshe Chekawa. This text provides contemplations to help you incorporate your practice into daily life, develop a good heart, and lead a good life.

4. Introductory Module | Zurmang Kagyu Lineage History
This course provides an overview of the Zurmang Kagyu Buddhist lineage and its unique features.

FOUNDATIONAL COURSES
The foundational courses build on the introductory topics, explaining Buddhist refuge, the accumulation of merit, and purification. These courses focus in particular on the method practices found in Mahayana Buddhism such as the cultivation of bodhicitta. In this level of the series Vajrayana practices are also introduced.

1. Jewel Ornament: Foundational Level | Love, Compassion & Bodhicitta
This course is based on chapters seven to sixteen of Gampopa’s text, The Jewel Ornament for Liberation. Topics covered include loving-kindness, compassion, the development of bodhicitta, and aspiring and engaging bodhicitta. The course will place particular emphasis on the six perfections: (1) generosity, (2) morality, (3) patience, (4) joyful effort, (5) meditation, and (6) wisdom.

2. Meditation: Foundational Level | Insight Meditation
This course is based on the famous meditation manual written in the fourteenth century by the Tibetan master Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, Moonbeams of Mahamudra. While the introductory level emphasizes tranquility, meditation this course focuses on insight meditation. The course will emphasize the view, teachings on selflessness, emptiness, and the perfect view of reality.

3. Practice: Foundational Level | Refuge, Attitude, and Conduct
This course will draw from the Zurmang Ngondro text written by Trung Mase and the commentary on this text written by the Trungpa Rinpoche Künga Namgyal (1567–1629). The course will place particular emphasis on refuge, the student-teacher relationship, and activities of purification and accumulation of merit.

4. Vajrayana: Foundational Level | Visualization, Dissolution, and Mantra Recitation
This course will provide you with an introduction to the major components of meditation in the Vajrayana tradition. You will learn the importance of dissolution, how to visualize, and the correct way to use a mala and recite mantras.

5. Foundational Module | Selected Verses from Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life
The Foundational Module is based on the important and renowned text by Shantideva (700CE), A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. This course is designed to provide inspiration to live the life of a Bodhisattva.

INTERMEDIATE COURSES
The intermediate courses emphasize the view and insight practices of the Mahayana path, complimenting the Mahayana method practices taught in the foundational level. There is also an emphasis on the transformative Vajrayana practices.

1. Jewel Ornament: Intermediate Level | Five Paths and Ten Levels
This course is based on chapters eighteen and nineteen of Gampopa’s The Jewel Ornament for Liberation. The course will provide students with an understanding of the transformation one undergoes on the Buddhist path and will discuss the five paths and ten Bodhisattva bhumis.

2. Meditation: Intermediate Level | Introduction to Uncommon Meditation Techniques
This course is based on the famous meditation manual written in the fourteenth century by the Tibetan master Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, Moonbeams of Mahamudra. This intermediate course introduces the uncommon meditation. The teachings will include an explanation of the different meanings of the term Mahamudra, as well as the history, distinction, and significance of the Mahamudra tradition.

3. Practice: Intermediate Level | The Four Extraordinary Foundations
This course will draw from the Zurmang Ngondro text written by Trung Mase and the commentary on this text written by the Trungpa Rinpoche Künga Namgyal (1567–1629). This course focuses on the methods for taking refuge, accumulating merit, and purification in the Vajrayana tradition. The emphasis of the course will be on the four extraordinary foundations: (1) refuge and prostrations, (2) Vajrasattva and the four powers for purification, (3) mandala offering, and (4) the practice of guru yoga. These four are taught according to the Zurmang Kagyu tradition.

4. Vajrayana: Intermediate Level | Tara / Avalokiteshvara / Medicine Buddha
This course introduces the sadhana practice of a Kriya Tantra deity. You will learn the visualization, mantras, and mudras for a particular deity like Tara or Avalokiteshvara (Chenresig).

5. Intermediate Module | Bardo Thodal
The Intermediate Module is based on the text called the Bardo Thodal, popularly known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The course discusses the process of dying and explains the related meditation techniques.

ADVANCED COURSES
The advanced courses delve into Vajrayana practices in greater depth and also provide instructions on the nature of the mind.

1. Jewel Ornament: Advanced Level | Buddhahood
This course is based on chapters twenty and twenty-one of Gampopa’s The Jewel Ornament for Liberation. This course will discuss the different bodies of a Buddha and the activities of Buddhas.

2. Meditation: Advanced Level | Uncommon Meditation Techniques
This course is based on the famous meditation manual written in the fourteenth century by the Tibetan master Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, Moonbeams of Mahamudra. The advanced course continues the explanation of the uncommon meditation techniques.

3. Practice: Advanced Level | How to do a Meditation Retreat
The course will be based on a text from the Zurmang Whispered Tradition. This course aims to teach all the necessary components for you to be able to conduct short retreats to enhance your practice.

4. Vajrayana: Advanced Level | Creation Stage Practice
This course is based on the text, Compendium of Essential Instruction on the Creation Stage Practice by Kunkhyen Tenpa Nyima. The course provides a detailed explanation on the creation stage practice of Highest Yoga Tantra.

5. Advanced Module | Buddha Nature and Mahamudra
This course will draw from a number of texts by the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284–1339) to provide a detailed presentation of Buddha nature in the Mahamudra tradition.

If you are interested in joining this course please send an email here