The Nyingma Mandala follows the teachings of the Founding Head Lama, Tarthang Tulku (Rinpoche). Our community practices traditional Dharma and also explores secular approaches to deeper knowledge that embody the fullest expression of human potential.
Courses based on traditional teachings present the nature of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha; guidance on moral conduct; the nature of mind and mental events as set forth in the Abhidharma; the Bodhisattva path (including mind-training, tonglen, the six perfections, and the vision of reality cultivated in the Second Turning and Third Turning teachings of the Buddha); and the development of the philosophical schools. We study essential sutras and commentaries with an attitude of respect, curiosity, and wonder. At the Nyingma Institute in Berkeley, we offer a Ngondro program that allows committed, sincere participants to complete the preliminary practices of the Longchen Nyingtik lineage in five years: a gateway to the Vajrayana teachings of the Nyingma school. Traditionally, it is said that sincere Nyingma practitioners should complete these transformative practices at least once this lifetime.
Tibetan Language & Culture
Classical written Tibetan has been taught at all levels since the earliest days of the Nyingma Mandala. Developed specifically to translate Buddhist texts, written Tibetan embodies a sophisticated understanding of the Buddhist teachings, so that even a limited knowledge of key terms helps deepen appreciation for the meaning of what the Buddha taught. Programs in sacred art and selected aspects of Tibetan history and culture expand access to the living tradition.
Developed by Tarthang Tulku starting in the early 1970s, the practice of Skillful Means as taught in the Nyingma mandala fosters ways of working that inspire creative accomplishment. Courses in Skillful Means offer effective techniques for enjoying work while meeting personal and career goals; using work as a means to self-knowledge; and developing mastery through the transformation of awareness, concentration, and energy. Two principal texts present Skillful Means: Skillful Means and Mastering Successful Work.
The practice of Kum Nye, a unique healing system based on Tibetan medicine and body-mind disciplines of Buddhism, provides a doorway to insight and meditation. The Kum Nye system was developed by Tarthang Rinpoche specifically to help Westerners overcome problems with stress or difficulties in entering meditation. The massage and movement exercises of Kum Nye shape a path of physical ease and meditative calm that stimulates mental and physical energy. Joining conceptual thought with direct experience, Kum Nye exercises heal the separation between body and mind and promote a relaxed, natural awareness that easily deepens toward meditative concentration. Three Kum Nye books present different aspects of this healing and vitalizing practice: Kum Nye Relaxation, The Joy of Being, and Kum Nye Dancing.
Time, Space, Knowledge
Courses in the Time, Space, and Knowledge (TSK) vision offer a creative and dynamic approach to the basic elements of our existence that provide energy, opportunity, and insight—the building blocks of a meaningful life. The vision of the TSK series of books inspires students to apply their understanding to the most important questions and the greatest opportunities in human life. Focused on inquiry and playful exploring, the TSK teachings shine the light of knowledge on ordinary experience, freeing participants from bondage to routine and revealing each moment as an opening to new and more liberating perspectives. There are six books in the TSK series, starting with Time, Space, and Knowledge: A New Vision of Reality. The teachings of Full Presence Mindfulness, inspired by the TSK vision, apply TSK insights in ways that speak directly to the widely shared concerns of our time.
Nyingma Psychology teachings grow out of Rinpoche’s earliest teachings in the West, as gathered in three principal texts: Gesture of Balance, Openness Mind, and Hidden Mind of Freedom. Students study the nature of consciousness and work with patterns of thought, feeling, and emotion. Methods are presented to promote incisive awareness, transform negative mental patterns, and sustain the dynamic insights of meditation in daily life.
Rinpoche’s most recent book, Caring, builds on the approach of Nyingma Psychology and takes it in a new direction that emphasizes healing. We all need to care and be cared for, but we live in ways that undermine caring as an active part of our lives. Caring shows us ways to ease our hearts, strengthen our spirits, and transform our sense of what is possible.
The insights and qualities of mind that are developed through meditation are the basis for progress in all areas of Buddhist study. Classes offer instruction in traditional meditative practices as well as practices and approaches drawn from Nyingma Psychology and Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga.
Understanding Self & Mind
In the past decade, Rinpoche has introduced a new stream of teachings that challenge our commitment to the regime of mind that makes suffering and frustration inevitable. Titles in this series include Knowledge of Freedom, Revelations of Mind, Keys of Knowledge, and Dimensions of Mind. The most recent works to engage this approach are the Lotus Trilogy—Lotus Body, Lotus Language and Lotus Mind. These innovative works use narrative and dialogue to explore how our experience is shaped and how we could interact with the world in a fundamentally new way.