A Nitartha Institute Advanced Curriculum Course

October 1, 2015 – January 14, 2016
Thursdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm PST
Nalanda West, 3902 Woodland Park Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103

The Buddhist science of pramāṇa, or ‘valid cognition,’ has been a key component of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies since the 5th century CE. The pramāṇa teachings explore the vast topics of how mind knows itself and its world, how trustworthy knowledge and experience can be ascertained, and how we may skillfully refine our ideas about these and related issues in dialogue with others.

During this semester-format course-offered in live, streaming, and on-demand formats-we will explore this rich philosophical tradition. The Indian source texts for the class will be the Compendium of Valid Cognition (Pramāṇasamuccaya) by Dignāga and the Commentary on Valid Cognition (Pramāṇavārttika) by Dharmakīrti. The Tibetan commentary (which will provide the framework for our exploration of the Indian texts) that we will refer to will be the 7th Karmapa, Chödrak Gyamtso’s Ocean of Texts on Reasoning (Rig-zhung Gyamtso), one of the most important works on pramāṇa in all of Tibetan scholarship. The main reference point for the course’s overall approach and points of emphasis will be the pramāṇa teachings given by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and Acharya Lama Tenpa Gyaltsen at past Nitartha Institute summer programs.

The current course is envisioned as the first in a series of two courses on advanced pramāṇa studies. (The second course is yet to be scheduled.) The main topics considered in this first course will be the chapters from Ocean of Texts on Reasoning on direct perception (chapter 2) and establishing the Buddha as an authoritative source of knowledge (chapter 1). (The chapters will be taught in the order they were taught by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche at Nitartha Institute.)

Teaching sessions will be ninety minutes long and will occasionally include question-and-answer periods. Reading materials will be provided in advance of each class to registrants.

REGISTER ONLINE NOW (click here) for
Exploring the Pramana Tradition at Nalanda West


The course will be taught by Mitra Tyler Dewar, a Buddhist teacher, translator, and writer who has been a member of the Nitartha Institute faculty since 2003. In 2005, he was appointed by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche as a senior teacher (Mitra) of the Nalandabodhi community. He has served as an oral interpreter at Nitartha Institute since 2000, for teachings on pramāṇa, Madhyamaka, Abhidharma, Mind Only, tenet systems, and other topics, and has produced literary translations on a broad array of topics from the Buddhist textual and meditative traditions.


All classes listed are on Thursdays and run from 7pm to 8:30pm, Pacific Time. Classes will begin promptly at 7pm, Pacific Time*:

Class 1: October 1, 2015
Class 2: October 8, 2015
Class 3: October 15, 2015
Class 4: October 22, 2015
Class 5: October 29, 2015
Class 6: November 12, 2015 (no class on November 5)
Class 7: November 19, 2015
Class 8: December 3, 2015 (no class on November 26)
Class 9: December 10, 2015
Class 10: December 17, 2015
Class 11: January 7, 2016 (no classes on December 24 & 31)
Class 12: January 14, 2016

*International students: Please note that Pacific Time changes from Pacific Daylight Time (UTC -7:00) to Pacific Standard Time (UTC -8:00) on November 1, 2015.


$330 (Onsite & Online Program Fee)


Anyone is welcome to take this course (no prerequisites). However, only those finished the Nitartha Institute Foundation and Intermediate Curriculum can take this course for credit.


Contact our Program Coordinator Crista Lawson at clawson@nitarthainstitute.org.