Nyingma Summer Seminar: The Three Yanas

Mahayana Text: Lojong: The Seven Points of Mind Training
with Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Dungse Jampal Norbu, Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel
Saturday, July 13, 2013 to Sunday, July 21, 2013
Phuntsok Choling

The Three Yanas and Lojong: The Seven Points of Mind Training

The Buddhist teachings are said to be “self-secret.” As our appreciation, curiosity, and capacity for insight grow, the teachings increasingly reveal themselves. Beginners, senior students, and all those in between find that each year of dharma study at the Nyingma Summer Seminar celebrates this ever-unfolding evolution as practitioners. At NSS, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche presents a complete survey of the Buddhist path through teachings on the Three Yanas: Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. These yanas (or vehicles) are understood, not as separate and distinct schools, but rather as three bodies of knowledge. Each represents a subtle understanding of our mind and the nature of reality. Taught together, they lead us from a basic recognition of our condition as human beings to an undisputable proof of our potential for compassion, wisdom and awakening.

Over nine days, NSS offers both new and seasoned practitioners a feast of teachings, meditation, discussion, and exchange as a community. Rinpoche has often called this much-loved annual event our “Thanksgiving” as a community in Mangala Shri Bhuti. We invite you to join us in the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Enroll in the whole program, come for individual talks, or -- an option new this year -- attend from anywhere in the world via live video or audio streaming.

The lovely outdoor setting of the seminar, under a large shrine tent, offers a perfect contemplative environment. Two talks a day, extended question and answer periods, meditation instruction and practice combine under Rinpoche's guidance to offer an experiential and philosophical introduction to Buddhism's understanding of our most precious assets: our mind and our heart.

This year we are delighted to have Dungse Jampal Norbu, Kongtrul Rinpoche’s dharma heir, and Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, his wife and most senior student, join Rinpoche in co-teaching NSS. Dungse la articulates a refreshingly unassuming and personal experience of the teachings, often peppered with humorous anecdotes and surprising analogies. Elizabeth has become known for her approach of “open questioning” -- finding the Middle Way view of the teachings, of our mind, and of life’s most challenging questions. Both Dungse la and Elizabeth will give two talks, one each in the Hinayana and Mahayana sections. During this program, Rinpoche also conducts the refuge and bodhisattva vow ceremonies.

More about NSS

The Hinayana 

Uncertainty, confusion, change -- these are experiences of life which we all face. How we respond to them defines whether our life takes a spiritual course, or remains locked in a cycle of suffering. The basic Buddhist teachings of the Hinayana school address these fundamental "truths" and introduce us to how our own intelligence -- as a simple awareness of these experiences -- can begin to show us the way toward liberation. In this section, we will cover topics such as renunciation, karma and refuge.

The Mahayana

Regardless of whatever country, religion, political party or system of belief we call our own, Buddhism recognizes that at the root of our activity is the simple wish to be happy. This wish, this "movement toward happiness," defines us, broadly and essentially, as sentient beings. The keen insight of the Mahayana school is that the more we recognize how we share this wish with others, the more we will experience greater ease and happiness. In this section we look closely at the topics of self-cherishing, bodhicitta, the four immeasurables, and emptiness, all through the lens of a different key text each year. This year we will study Nagarjuna's Exposition on Bodhicitta.

The Vajrayana

Guru Rinpoche, the great Indian adept who brought Vajrayana Buddhism to Tibet, famously said, "While my view is higher than the sky, my attention to cause and effect is finer than a grain of flour." His statement captures the way in which the Vajrayana school blends the precise understanding of relative phenomena found in the Hinayana with the vast view of the Mahayana. In this section, Rinpoche describes how the Vajrayana path catalyzes our deepest levels of understanding mind and phenomena.

For more information about attending a program at Phuntsok Choling, please download our information packet for program participants. If you have further questions, please contact the Phuntsok Choling Events Coordinator.

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