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.

The Keys to the Treasury of the Dharma: Frameworks for Understanding the Essential Meaning


The goal of dharma study is deep understanding that can become a living experience. However, it is difficult to comprehend the vast, complex, and often contradictory teachings of the various Buddhist traditions. Contemplation is the bridge through which we sift and fully comprehend the many topics and views we have studied and incorporate it into our meditation. The Buddhist tradition provides both systematic topics and guidelines for contemplation and also innovative frameworks by which to understand those profound and vast teachings.  These frameworks themselves have been an explicit subject of exploration from time of the Buddha himself.

In this course we will study both the topics for contemplation and the frameworks as presented primarily by the incomparable Jamgon Kongtrul (1813-1899) in his masterpiece, The Treasury of Knowledge. The second half of this ten volume encyclopedia covers the three prajnas--or wisdoms--of learning, contemplation, and meditation. Here, Kongtrul provides an extensive manual for contemplation as the bridge between learning the vast range of topics of knowledge to the entry into the stages of meditation upon the profound meaning. This is how to make the dharma into a living experience. 

This seventh section of The Treasury first presents the traditional frameworks for approaching the teachings: the four sources of reliance and the four sources for valid understanding. It then analyzes the various ways to interpret the complexities and contradictions of the teachings: as being provisional or definitive, direct or indirect, or as belonging to one of the three turnings of the wheel of the dharma. Based upon those, it presents the main topics of contemplation including the two levels of truth, the two types of selflessness, the varieties of emptiness, interdependence, and the four reminders. We will end with Kongtrul’s famous presentation of the practices of shamatha and vipashyana, which is the first section of the next chapter, on meditation, and which is conveniently included in this volume.  In addition to this main source, we will study presentations by Longchenpa, Mipham the Great, and other authors.

Please purchase a copy of the book, The Treasury of Knowledge, Book Seven and Book Eight, Parts One and Two: Foundations of Buddhist Study and Practice by Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye, before the first class. Additionally, there will be a small sourcebook, primarily containing a translation of the root text.

Core Materials

  1. Syllabus
  2. Sourcebook

Supplemental Materials

  1. "The Buddha" from  The Precious Treasury of Philosophical Systems
  2. Notes to "The Buddha" from The Precious Treasury of Philosophical Systems
  3. Notes from Treasury of Precious Qualities
  4. Table of Contents of The Treasury of Knowledge from The Autobiography of Jamgon Kongtrul

Class Recordings

  1. [Recording Missing]
  2. September 20, 2016
  3. October 4, 2016
  4. October 11, 2016
  5. October 18, 2016
  6. October 25, 2016
  7. November 1, 2016
  8. November 8, 2016
  9. November 15, 2016
  10. November 29, 2016
  11. December 6, 2016
  12. December 20, 2016