Nitartha Summer Institute


Nitartha Summer Institute 2017

July 7 – August 5, 2017

Nitartha Summer Institute will be at Western Washington University (at Fairhaven Complex) in Bellingham, WA this summer from July 7–August 5, 2017. Courses in the Buddhist Philosophical Studies including Inner Science of Mind (Shedra) and Science of Creative Arts will be offered. Additionally, we will continue to offer a restricted Mahamudra Intensive (Gomdra) to qualified participants.

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche is scheduled to be present at the Summer Institute from July 7–25, 2017. Rinpoche will give teachings on Mahamudra enhancement practices to qualified students every morning. In addition, he will teach a shedra text to all students (Shedra and Gomdra) every other day.

More details forthcoming.

2017正知學院的暑期課程將於美國華盛頓州貝靈厄姆市的West Washington University (西華盛頓大學 – Fairhaven 校園區) 內舉行。日期為2017年7月7日至8月5日。學院計劃開辦的佛法研學課程包括: 心類學及佛教藝術。此外,學院亦將繼續為具格學員舉辦大手印密集禪修課程。





1st two week session: July 7–20
(Day off: July 16)

2nd two week session: July 22–Aug 4
(Day off: July 26)



1st nine day module: July 7–15
(Day off: July 16)

2nd nine day module: July 17–25
(Day off: July 26)

3rd nine day module: July 27–August 4

Special Announcements

Mudra Space Awareness

We are happy to announce that our beloved Mitra Lee Worley from the Nalandabodhi sangha and founding faculty of Naropa University will be teaching Mudra Space Awareness during the first 2 nine-day Gomdra modules.

ON THE MUDRA SPACE AWARENESS PRACTICE: These physical and vocal exercises derive from the Mahamudra and Maha Ati traditions of Tibetan Buddhism as presented in the West by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. They utilize the body to train for a meditative mind.

As a novice practitioner you discover how little awareness of body and space you have. With continuing practice integration of body, mind and speech develops. You may feel energized and wholesome or discover ancient fears and blockages which practicing these exercises can help you overcome. Many remark on gaining fearlessness in working with their world.

With deeper practice, a clearer sense of when you have direct perception and when you don’t develops and increasing moments of direct perception arise. Meditation practice becomes settled and your heart opens to the group in surprising ways. Your sense of the interplay of form and space; your interconnectedness and compassion for beings expands. By re-membering your self you have a chance to come into being with less self-cherishing and fearful ego. Then the dance of illusion will beckon you to join in more completely.

Science of Creative Arts

In the Science of Creative Arts during the 3rd nine day Gomdra module, Stephanie Johnston will be teaching the following two classes:

Symbolizing the Awakened Heart: Buddhist Visual Literacy: This course explores symbolism as a necessity for everyday communication and its role for practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. Using the principles of visual literacy, traditional Tibetan Buddhist iconography, and teachings on valid cognition, we will open the door to the Science of Creative Arts and step into the world of buddha nature as expressed through creativity and the arts. This course teaches the importance of understanding the processes of perception and conception, demonstrates symbolism as an integral part of our everyday experience, and how both of those can be used to connect with the Buddhist path. Depending on the make up and interest of the participants, we will apply these principles to one of the following; lineage and transmission, qualities and activities of enlightenment, or prajnaparamita. Classes include illustrated presentations, experiential exercises, analytical meditation, discussion, and homework leading toward a final presentation on a self selected topic. This course is particularly useful for vajrayana practitioners and of interest to those with a creative bent.

Drawing the Awakened Heart: This is a hands on studio class where participants will learn the foundational principles of the Karma Gadri school of thangka painting and apply them to drawing the head and body of a male and female buddha. The artistic tradition of Karma Gadri will be introduced, drawing will be explored as a form of meditation, and there will be a written or audio presentation by Karma Gadri master artist R.D. Salga.

Science of Healing

The Emotional Rescue Mindfulness Teacher Training and Certification Program may be launched at Summer Institute 2018. The prerequisites to this program, Mind and Its World I and Clear Thinking I, are available through the Shedra both at Summer Institute 2017 and as a self-paced online course. For more information about this program, please contact Lila O’Farrell.

Summer Institute 2017 Shedra Courses

1st Session (2 weeks)

Friday July 7-Thursday July 20
Day off: Sunday July 16

  • BUD 501 Mind and Its World I: Valid Cognition –  Scott Wellenbach & Mark Seibold
  • BUD 520 Mind and Its World III: Vaibhāshika Philosophical Tradition  –  Stephanie Johnston & Sandra Roscoe
  • BUD 601 Chittamātra Philosophical Tradition: Appearances Are Mere Mind  –  Stuart Horn
  • BUD 630 Buddha Nature: Luminous Heart of the Tathāgata – Israel Lifshitz
  • BUD 502 Clear Thinking – Phil Stanley
  • BUD 553 Foundational Debate I – Israel Lifshitz
  • BUD 653 Intermediate Debate –  Jirka Hladis
  • BUD 714 Mahāyānasūtrālamkāra: Ornament of the Great Vehicle Sutras – Dr. Karl Brunnhölzl
2nd Session (2 weeks)

Saturday July 22-Friday Aug 4
Day off: Wednesday July 26

  • BUD 510 Mind and Its World II: Modes of Engagement & Mental Events – Scott Wellenbach & Linda Patrick
  • BUD 530 Mind and Its World IV: Sautrāntika Philosophical Tradition – Phil Stanley
  • BUD 610 Madhyamaka Philosophical Tradition: Not Even a Middle – Stuart Horn
  • BUD 620 Paths and Bhūmis: The Path to Enlightenment – Israel Lifshitz
  • BUD 553 Foundational Debate I – Israel Lifshitz
  • BUD 653 Intermediate Debate –   Phil Stanley
  • BUD 714 Mahāyānasūtrālamkāra: Ornament of the Great Vehicle Sutras – Dr. Karl Brunnhölzl
Additional Shedra Courses Offered during 3rd 9-Day Session

Thursday July 27-Friday August 4

  • BUD 796 Lama Mipham’s Beacon of Certainty – Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen
  • SoCA 500 Symbolizing the Awakened Heart – Stephanie Johnston
  • SoCA 501 Drawing the Awakened Heart – Stephanie Johnston

for detailed class descriptions, please download the 2017 shedra summer courses PDF

About the Summer Institute

Nitartha’s Summer Institute is an intensive residential program which occurs annually, over the span of four weeks. Typically, the summer schedule is arranged into two modules of two weeks each. Students may attend one or both modules, but for new students, the first module is a usually a prerequisite to the second. The Summer Institute strives to offer programs from all four of our academic departments: 1) Department of Buddhist Studies (BUD), which covers both the Inner Science of Mind and the Science of Valid Cognition, 2) Department of Languages (LAN), 3) Department of Healing (HEA), and 4) Department of Creative Arts (SOCA).

The Institute is open to all who are interested in deepening their study and practice of Buddhism. Students who attend Nitartha range from those relatively new to the Buddhist path but who are eager to get a thorough foundation in the teachings, to senior practitioners of many years who feel that renewed in-depth study will strengthen their practice and deepen their insight. One of the Institute’s great attractions to both Buddhist and non-Buddhists is the in-depth study of how mistaken concepts can cause or perpetuate confusion, and how conceptual mind can be skillfully used to examine, understand, and undo this process.

The Summer Institute offers the most complete presentation of our Buddhist Studies (Shedra) curriculum, which attracts students from around the world and brings them together to study with Tibetan scholars and senior Western teachers. It is an excellent way to accelerate one’s study and practice path while enjoying a thriving community of other Nitartha students and faculty.