The fundamental mission of Nitartha Institute is to provide students with a systematic foundation in the central teachings of the Buddhist tradition, as presented by the Kagyü and Nyingma lineages of Tibet. Though the focus of our curriculum is the Kagyü and Nyingma understanding of the Dharma, the Institute upholds the importance of non-sectarianism and appreciation of the many forms of Buddhism and thus students of any background are welcome and encouraged to attend.
A Western Shedra
The purpose of Nitartha Institute is to bring the Buddhist tradition of scholarship and study to the West in a genuine and authentic way. The Institute draws its inspiration from Nalanda University, the great educational center whose tradition lies at the heart of the wisdom of Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. Our intention is not only to transport this discipline to the West, but to transform it into 21st Century wisdom so that students may become thoroughly trained in the view of Buddhadharma. Training in the fundamental view of Buddhism is the backbone of meditative experience and the realization of Buddhist teachings.
A Complete Path: The Three Trainings Of View, Meditation, And Conduct
The Buddha taught three wheels of dharma, which comprise a complete path to enlightenment. The first wheel is study, which begins with learning the general structure of the three yanas and gradually progresses to comprehending their details. This process involves training in the art of listening, eloquent speech, and precise thinking. Through studying in this way, we develop the genuine prajna of discrimination, which equips us with the ability to independently analyze what is taught, to understand the scriptures, and to gain certainty from within. Through study we develop the right view, the most crucial quality to be cultivated on the path to enlightenment.
The second wheel is meditation, which starts with analytical meditation, or contemplation, and leads to resting meditation. At this stage, the prajna of study is further internalized in order to give rise to a personal and direct experience of the teachings. This can only be accomplished through precise analytical contemplation and, finally, resting in the true nature of reality, free from concepts. This prajna of the second wheel of reflection and meditation is indispensable for developing experience and realization on the path.
The third wheel is action. At this stage, the wisdom of study and the experience of meditation are reflected in daily activities. In a sense, action is the product of the prior two wheels. The key training is to act mindfully and compassionately with the right view and with a calm mind.
The in-depth study of classical Indian texts and Tibetan commentaries would not be possible without great translating efforts. Nitartha Institute is dedicated to supporting, training, and working with translators and scholars to make a wide range of study materials from Buddhist lineages available to 21st-century students. In this way, Nitartha Institute plays a key role in the vision of its parent organization, Nitartha International, which was founded to preserve the cultural and educational wisdom of Asian traditions.
Through translations and study at Nitartha Institute, we are exploring a new frontier in Buddhist education, one that started at the great university of Nalanda in India, continued in Tibet, and is now being established in the West. The accurate and complete transmission of the authentic tradition of Buddhist studies is a mission of great importance and urgency. Nitartha Institute’s aspiration is to follow in the footsteps of its forebears, who worked so hard to maintain the integrity and power of the Buddha’s teachings for this culture and time and for future generations to come.
Nitartha is also continuing to publish definitive translations of key Indian and Tibetan Buddhist texts and their commentaries, along with other related treatises of the Kagyü and Nyingma traditions, for use by students, practitioners, and scholars everywhere.