We invite Buddhist students to join the 2019 Rigpa Shedra East in Pharping, Nepal, for a period of in-depth study under the guidance of Khenchen Namdrol Rinpoche. We will be offering two levels of studies, covering both Mahayana and Vajrayana topics.
The Shedra is open to all students, whether interested in following the complete curriculum, or wishing to join for only one year to boost their study and practice.
Next year, newer students will have the chance to immerse themselves in the study of the Bodhicharyavatara, Shantideva’s outstanding treatise on entering the Bodhisattva’s way of life, while intermediate and advanced level students will be able to clarify many crucial points found in the context of both Sutras and Tantras by studying Mipham Rinpoche‘s Beacon of Certainty. It is the very first time that this text is taught in our Shedra in Nepal.
If you are interested, please let us know by filling up the application form. We will get in touch with you and will be happy to answer all the questions you might have. Note that the application is not yet a commitment on your side but will allow us to know you and contact you.
You will find all necessary details below.
This is open to all students, and is especially intended for students coming to the shedra for the first time.
To study the Bodhicharyavatara we will use the commentary of the great Tibetan master Khenpo Kunzang Palden. Countless great masters have praised the value of studying and taking to heart Shantideva’s practical and profound teaching.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said: “If I have any understanding of compassion and the bodhisattva path, it is entirely on the basis of studying the Bodhicharyavatara that I possess it.”
And Sogyal Rinpoche said: “The Bodhicharyavatara shows us how to educate ourselves dharmically and transform our basic character. It is called ‘Entering the Bodhisattva Way of Life’ because it offers us an entire culture, a whole way of life and being, which is completely different from the ordinary samsaric culture that we’re used to living in. When you really take these teachings to heart, they make you into a perfect human being—a true bodhisattva.”
The teacher for the Bodhicharyavatara will be Verena Pfeiffer. Verena has been following the Rigpa Shedra for the past ten years and is one of our most experienced Shedra instructors. She is part of the Vision Board of Rigpa and is now engaged in the Milinda programme, a project established by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche to train Buddhist teachers for the West.
This class is open to students who already have completed several years of studies at the Rigpa Shedra or have a strong foundation in sutra studies.
The Beacon of Certainty (Tib. ངེས་ཤེས་སྒྲོན་མེ་, Ngeshé Drönmé) — is a commentary composed by the 19th century scholar Mipham Rinpoche at a very young age. It is structured around seven questions including such practical issues of everyday practice as “Should one meditate analytically or in resting meditation?”
Because of its thoroughness in addressing the foundations of the Nyingma-pa tradition, from Madhyamika philosophy to the view of Dzogchen, it is a key text studied in virtually all Nyingma-pa shedras. The title, “The Beacon of Certainty”, refers to the fact that unwavering certainty in the view of the indivisible union of appearance and emptiness is a shining beacon that illuminates the spiritual path.
While giving insight into the key points of view and meditation on the level of madhyamaka and tantra, the main purpose of this text is to elucidate the teachings of Dzogchen, and the introduction to Khenpo Kunpal‘s commentary reads:
- This Precious Beacon of Certainty is like an eye that brings all the difficult points of sutra and tantra into focus. Externally, it accords with Prasangika; internally, it accords with the Sutra that Gathers all Intentions and the Guhyagarbha Tantra; secretly, it accords with the Great Perfection.
Our teacher will be Khenpo Tashi Tseten, a brilliant young Khenpo from Namdrolling Monastery in South India. He is one of the most promising Khenpo of his generation and has been teaching at the Rigpa Shedra for the past five years. Together with the wealth of his knowledge and the clarity of his explanations, he has a rare capacity to tune into students’ understanding and needs, which makes his teachings truly inspiring and illuminating.
Khenpo will teach directly from the root text while basing himself mainly on the commentary from Khenpo Kunpal (which doesn’t have an English translation yet).
The Rigpa Shedra East also offers all students the opportunity to learn Tibetan. Tibetan classes on several levels, from absolute beginners to translators in the making, are part of the shedra’s daily schedule.
If you are interested, please let us know by filling up the application form. We will get in touch with you and will be happy to answer all the questions you might have. We are aware that it is not always easy to free yourself for more than three months and to take your decision for such a big commitment. We can also help you in your reflexion and see together if this programme is appropriate for your needs.
Note that the application is not yet a commitment on your side but will allow us to know you and contact you. The commitment to join our programme only comes at the time of registration later in September, which is accompanied by payment.
Dates & Prices
Please note that the prices might be subject to change depending on the fluctuation of currencies. Final prices will be known once all applications have been processed and at the time of payment.
- For both classes :
January 12th to April 19th 2019
Total Fees: 2500€
details: Tuition 1500€, food 550€, accommodation 450€.
Additionally you can roughly plan the following expenses:
- Flight: between 800€ and 1500€, depending on timely booking, distance & airline
- Visa for three months and one week: 130€. 100$ for the first 90 days visa to be imperatively done at the airport when you first arrive. After the first 90 days, each 15 days extensions costs 30$
- Mandatory Insurance: up to 350€, see medical disclaimer
- Extras: between 500€ and 1000€, depending on your life style. This includes 150€ for Tsok and other offerings.
The main class each day is either held in English directly or translated live from Tibetan into English. All other classes and activities are held in English.
Most foreigners find life very pleasant and easy in Nepal and Nepalese people are on average very welcoming and kind. Yet anyone coming to the Shedra must be aware that Nepal is a developing country among the poorest in the world. This has consequences in terms of comfort, hygiene, power shortage, water shortage, quality of internet, roads and so on. Nevertheless, to the best of our capacities within this environment, the Rigpa Shedra offers comfort conditions that are suitable to Westerners and conducive to study (accommodation in single rooms with shared bathrooms, vegetarian meals under hygienic conditions, batteries for power outage, etc.), keeping in mind that it is a retreat and monastic environment, and not in any case a holiday resort. Since its inception in 2006, the Rigpa Shedra has welcomed more than 170 different students from all over the globe for several months (many of which have been returning every year) and most – if not all – have had a pleasant experience despite the differences with the Western comfort.
The Rigpa Shedra cannot be held responsible for any loss, theft or damage to personal property or bodily injury or death during the period of the Rigpa Shedra East. We cannot provide medical or psychological care, medication, hospitalization or transportation. Please ensure that you are adequately covered. Proof of medical insurance is required to attend the Shedra East program. There are neither medical staff nor medical facilities on-site. The Shedra East is a place for studying Tibetan Buddhist teachings which are not intended as a substitute for psychotherapy. If you have a psychological or psychiatric problem, we recommend that you inform your therapist before coming, and you need to notify us prior to your registration. If you are taking medication prescribed by your doctor, do not discontinue it during your stay. If you disregard this advice we regret that The Rigpa Shedra cannot be held responsible.
Natural Disaster Disclaimer
Nepal is part of the Himalayan region and is subject to unpredictable natural disasters such as earthquakes. Coming to Nepal involves taking a risk. Safety measures and facilities in this country do not always comply with Western standards. The Rigpa Shedra cannot be held responsible for damage to personal property, bodily injury or death during the period of the Rigpa Shedra East. For your information, the earthquakes which happened in 2015 haven’t damaged the Shedra buildings and everybody was safe.
Traditionally a shedra takes place in a monastic environment where a strict set of rules is implemented, permeating all levels of everyday life (for an example of these rules please visit the Ngagyur Nyingma Institute website). Khen Rinpoche Namdrol and other masters have advised to apply similar sets of rules to the Rigpa Shedra East since it is a proven fact that these are a great support for one’s study. It is not easy to transfer a system of rules designed for a Tibetan monastic environment to a group of western students, nevertheless a frame of rules will be proposed to the shedra students so that they will be able to make the best of their precious time.