The Tergar Institute, a new Buddhist educational facility at Tergar Osel Ling, a hill-top monastery on the outskirts of Kathmandu, on 20 September welcomed its inaugural cohort of students, who are now undertaking the institute’s Foundations of Buddhist Experience course, which blends a traditional Vajrayana Buddhist approach of experiential instruction with contemporary approaches to learning.
The monastic seat of the revered Dharma teacher and tulku of the Karma Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, and the spiritual home of the Tergar Global Community, Tergar Osel Ling is fully functioning monastery, home to more than 150 monastics who live, study, and practice there.
“Our students are at the center of everything: from the design of the beautiful confines of Tergar Osel Ling, to the pilgrimages we go on; and from the classroom activities we engage in, to the curated contemplative curriculum,” Tergar Institute shared of the historic undertaking. “Traveling from all over the world, this group is eager, engaged, and deeply committed to the study-practice of the Dharma.”
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche himself arrived at the institute on Tuesday, where he was received and warm and enthusiastic welcome from the students. This week, Rinpoche began transmitting the core of the three vehicles to the new cohort of practitioners.
“In the Foundations course, we . . . focus on an overview of the three vehicles using the Ground, Path, and Fruition as the organizing framework. This course presents the basis of the Kagyu-Nyingma lineages,” Tergar Institute explained. “Using an experiential and applied approach to learning, each of our courses employs a step-by-step meditative curriculum created by Mingyur Rinpoche, close readings of selected texts from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and in-depth exercises in real-world application.
“The . . . institute offers rigorous study-practice programs aimed at training students to imbue every aspect of their lives with awareness, love, and compassion, and wisdom.” (Tergar Institute)
Describing his vision for the Tergar Institute, Mingyur Rinpoche has said: “The Institute provides a transformational learning process of discovering our inner well-being. The path to this discovery begins with conceptual understanding and deepens through direct experience. We then learn to apply our insights in everyday life. This style of learning combines both the intellectual and experiential in order to build healthy habits that inform every aspect of our lives.” (Tergar Institute)
The institute plans to offer two courses in autumn 2024: Foundations of Buddhist Experience; and Buddhist Experience Level 2.
Mingyur Rinpoche, the founder of the Tergar Meditation Community, which has centers and practice groups across the world, is a renowned teacher and best-selling author whose books include: The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret & Science of Happiness (2007); Joyful Wisdom: Embracing Change and Finding Freedom (2009); and Turning Confusion into Clarity: A Guide to the Foundation Practices of Tibetan Buddhism (2014).
Born in 1975 in the Himalayan border region between Tibet and Nepal, Mingyur Rinpoche received extensive training in Tibetan Buddhist meditative and philosophical traditions from his father, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche (1920–96), considered one of the greatest modern Dzogchen masters, and subsequently at Sherab Ling Monastery in northern India. After just two years, at the age of 13, Mingyur Rinpoche entered a three-year meditation retreat and then completed a second immediately afterward, serving as retreat master. At 23, Rinpoche received full monastic ordination.
Mingyur Rinpoche famously undertook a four-year solitary wandering retreat through the Himalaya from 2011–15. In recounting how he came to terms with the realities of his ambition to practice in the manner of a wandering yogi, Rinpoche revealed that he confronted many personal and spiritual challenges—including, at one point, his own mortality. Rinpoche has described the years he spent wandering in the Himalaya as “one of the best periods of my life.”*
The essence of the Buddha’s teachings was that while formal practice can help us to develop direct experience of emptiness, wisdom, and compassion, such experiences are meaningless unless we can bring them to bear on every aspect of our daily lives. For it’s in facing the challenges of daily life that we can really measure our development of calmness, insight, and compassion. (Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, 2007)
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. 2007. The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret & Science of Happiness. New York City: Harmony.
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