Nyingma Summer Seminar

With Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Dungse Jampal Norbu, Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, and Pema Chodron

Attend in person or through live video or audio stream

See right side bar for registration links.

Nyingma Summer Seminar presents a complete survey of the Buddhist path through teachings on the Three Yanas: Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.

dzigar kongtrul rinpoche These yanas (or "vehicles") are understood not as separate and distinct schools, but rather as three bodies of knowledge. Each presents an increasingly subtle understanding of our mind and the nature of reality. They lead us from a basic recognition of our longing for happiness and wish to avoid suffering to an indisputable proof of our potential for compassion, wisdom, and awakening. (Learn more about the 3 yanas below.)


Kongtrul Rinpoche has often called this much-loved annual event our “Thanksgiving” as a community in Mangala Shri Bhuti, a time when we gather to appreciate the richness that Buddhadharma brings into our lives. The lovely outdoor setting of the seminar under a large shrine tent offers a perfect contemplative environment. We invite you to join us in the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Enroll in the whole program, come for individual days, or attend from anywhere in the world via video or audio streaming.

General Program Information


All lunches for Nyingma Summer Seminar are vegetarian and must be pre-ordered. There will be no lunch available on-site unless you have ordered at least 4 days in advance. Participants will choose their gluten-preference, lunch dates, and prepay for the quantity of lunches requested. Register for lunches here.

Learn More

For more information about attending NSS at Phuntsok Choling, please download our information packet for program participants. 

More information about video streaming coming shortly.

If you have further questions, please contact the Phuntsok Choling Events Coordinator.

If you need assistance with rides and housing, please contact the Hospitality Coordinator: hospitality_pc@mangalashribhuti.org.

Detailed Program Description

NSS features nine days of teachings, with two talks a day. The program begins with Hinayana teachings and ends with Vajrayana teachings. The central part of the seminar focuses on Mahayana thought, the essence of which is the teachings on bodhichitta. This year, Rinpoche will continue his commentary on one of the most personal and poetic expositions on bodhichitta, Vast as the Heavens, Deep as the Sea, written by the Venerable Khunu Rinpoche. (Purchase the text.) There is little one can easily say that would adequately capture the breadth of Khunu Rinpoche's appreciation of bodhicitta, the mind of awakening, and the life his volume of verses gives to this fundamental practice of Buddhism. Perhaps the simplest is that traditionally teachings are referred to as "nectar." This is so because they offer a transcendental form of nourishment: they feed our hunger for awakening. This volume together with Kongtrul Rinpoche's life-long passion for bodhichitta will results in a wonderfully enriching and poignant central section of NSS this year.


Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, the founder of Mangala Shri Bhuti, leads NSS. 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. In addition, special guest Pema Chodron will give one talk on July 14.

Kongtrul Rinpoche is known for extracting from the teachings what is essentially relevant to modern students, as well as for his humor, kindness, and insistence on the profound value of dharma. Dungse Jampal articulates a refreshingly unassuming experience of the teachings, often peppered with humorous anecdotes and surprising insights. Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel has become known for her approach of “open questioning” -- finding the Middle Way view of life’s most challenging questions. Pema Chodron is an American Buddhist nun and author of many best-selling books including When Things Fall Apart and Living Beautifully. Her earthy and honest teaching style is beloved my many.

the tent at nss

Sangha Celebration

Join the sangha for an evening of non-conceptual fun, dinner, dancing, and more. The dinner will feature a vegetarian food feast including Enchilada Pie, Chilled Black Bean & Corn Salad, Jicama Grapefruit & Avocado over Mixed Greens with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette, and Rio Rice. Non-alcoholic beverages and dessert will also be served. 

This year, we will celebrate Guna Norling and MSB in Brazil. All NSS participants are warmly welcome to attend the celebration. Register here for the Sangha Celebration.

Watch NSS 2014 Talks on Vimeo

2014 Nyingma Summer Seminar - Trailer from Wisdom Productions on Vimeo.

More about The Three Vehicles of Tibetan Buddhism

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 the country, religion, or political party we call our own, Buddhism recognizes that at the root of all 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 and a joyful sympathy with others. 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 keystone text each year. 

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. Through a discussion of ground, path, and fruition, Rinpoche describes how the Vajrayana path catalyzes our deepest levels of understanding mind and phenomena.