Ignorance is the cause of suffering

The goal of the Rime Shedra is to make accessible the vast treasures of Buddhist wisdom to those who wish to progress further in their understanding of the profound principles presented in these advanced Buddhist texts. The understanding of the ultimate nature of reality is the key to liberation. For practitioners this program provides an opportunity to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the nature of reality.  For scholars it provides an opportunity to expand their understanding of Buddhism by cultivating an experiential understanding. The program is based upon the traditional Shedra, or monastic college, curriculum which is the cornerstone of Buddhist education in all of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

Great Middle Way: Buddha Nature

In this course we will trace the development of the notion of buddha nature from its beginnings as being the logical result of the fact of the buddha’s enlightenment to the notion that the true nature of reality is the union of emptiness and buddha nature. In Tibet this synthesis becomes known primarily as the Great Madhyamaka and Shentong or Empty of Other traditions.

Readings will consist of the core texts on this evolution from four stages in its development:

  • The Mahayana sutras, ranging from the single puzzling reference to mind as luminous in The Large Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom, to the foundational presentation of buddha nature in the Tathagatagarbha Sutra, as well as a more developed version presented in the Lion’s Roar of Queen Srimala Sutra
  • The Shastras or commentaries on the Sutras by Indian authors, primarily the Mahayana Uttaratantra Shastra by Maitreya and the Dharmadhatustotra by Nagarjuna
  • The early Tibetan masters, primarily Dolpopa, Shakya Chogden, and Karmapa Mikyo Dorje
  • The later Tibetan masters, primarily Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, and Mipham


Core Materials

  1. Sourcebook

Supplemental Materials

  1. The Luminous Mind
  2. Note 46 on Luminous Mind
  3. "Buddhist Hermeneutics" by Robert A. F. Thurman

Class Recordings

  1. April 16, 2013
  2. April 30, 2013
  3. May 7, 2013
  4. May 14, 2013
  5. May 21, 2013
  6. May 28, 2013
  7. June 4, 2013
  8. June 11, 2013
  9. June 18, 2013
  10. June 25, 2013
  11. July 2, 2013