In recent years interest in Buddhism has been growing worldwide, including Russia.

Information about Buddhism can be found in open sources; advanced literature, as well as video recordings of retreats with Teachers, is available on the web. A lot of Teachers come to Russia to give direct transmissions of the knowledge. But all this information is often seen as mere intellectual knowledge. It is not bad, but it is not enough for Realization. Realization requires direct experience, and there is only one key to experience: regular practice.

Every person should decide for him or herself what practices they need, and make regular practice a part of their lives, fitting them into their daily schedule.

The most effective path to Realization consists of two steps:

  • receiving instructions from a Teacher on correct use of a particular method;
  • regular practice in accordance with the Teacher’s instructions, having put them in use in daily life.

We would like to introduce the Program “Tantra and Dzogchen Basics” elaborated by Khenpo Geshe Rinchen Tenzin Rinpoche. It comprises three years of study, four retreats a year, totaling to twelve retreats with individual practice between the retreats.

The program not only allows the direct transmission of knowledge from the Teacher to the disciple, but also implies Teacher’s feedback.

This Program starts from the very basics. It is easy to understand by those who have never studied Buddhism, and at the same time it will be useful for more experienced aspirants.

The studying process follows along the lines of educational tradition, but also has its own unique features:

  • Emphasis is placed on personal experience through practice. A disciple will receive instructions on practice, do the practice and compare his or her experience with instructions received from the Teacher and from the Texts. In some cases disciples receive detailed theoretical explanations only after some time of vigorous practice.
  • Disciples ask the Teacher questions to clarify what they do not understand. The Teacher asks the disciples questions to refine their understanding.
  • Instructions are being introduced gradually. E.g. in the beginning some concepts will be explained briefly, but later, as practice develops, the same subject will be explained in detail.
  • Every next stage follows from the previous one. Hence, it is necessary to learn diligently and master each and every stage of the practice.

All this will require some effort, but the fruit of the practice, as well as the process of becoming a master, is amazing.

It is believed that only those who have accumulated a lot of merits may be given an opportunity to receive such instructions.

TEACHERS

Program

Program “Tantra and Dzogchen Basics” elaborated by Geshe Rinchen Tenzin Rinpoche comprises 3 years of study, 4 retreats a year, totaling to 12 retreats.

First Course 

First retreat: 14 days
Second retreat: 14 days
Third retreat: 14 days
Fourth retreat: 14 days

Second Course 

Fifth retreat: 14 days
Sixth retreat: 14 days
Seventh retreat: 14 days
Eighth retreat: 14 days

Third Course 

Ninth retreat: 14 days
Tenth retreat: 14 days
Eleventh retreat: 14 days
Twelfth retreat: 16 days

3-year program

First Course 

First retreat: 14 days

Ngondro

Phase of preliminary practices.

It is the foundation necessary to develop the proper motivation, to purify and prepare the beginner’s body, speech and mind for more advanced levels of training.

According to the text written by the Omniscient Shardzawa (Sngon ‘gro rgyal baí bka’lung rgya mtsho), “The Ocean Oral Instructions of the Victorious One on Ngondro Preliminary Practices”, the practices are as follows:

1. Root of Liberation: the method of trust in the spiritual Teacher
2. General preliminary practices:

  1. The difficulty of obtaining [ten] precious relations and [eight] freedoms [of a human birth];
  2. Impermanence of life;
  3. Explanation of [the law of] Karma or the principle of cause and effect.
  4. Suffering and defects of Samsara.

3. Special inner preliminaries of the Great Vehicle (Mahayana): right conduct in accordance with Dharma and Bon tradition. This practice comprises the following nine stages:

  1. Taking Refuge in Three Jewels;
  2. Evocation of the Supreme Bodhichitta or enlightened intention;
  3. Purification of harmful deeds and impurities of oneself and of all living beings through the Practice of Penance;
  4. Mandala offering for perfection of earning merits and wisdom;
  5. Guru Yoga to obtain the Blessing of the Three Gateways (body, speech and mind);
  6. Prostrations to purify the impurities and harmful deeds of the Three Gateways (body, speech and mind);
  7. Selwa Guzab mantra to attain the Unborn Body of Bon (Dharmakaya);
  8. Dzogku Khorwa Tontrug mantras to attain the Body of Limitless Perfection (Sambhogakaya);
  9. Trulku Ngensong Tontrukgyi Nyingpo mantra to attain the Non-dual Nirmanakaya.

General outer preliminaries and special inner preliminaries result in maturing the flow of consciousness. Due diligence in listening, contemplation and meditation enables a disciple to control his or her mind, at least to some extent.

Second Retreat: 14 days

Phowa

First week: 

The disciples will receive instructions on Phowa (transference of consciousness) and practice it in accordance with the text written by the Omniscient Shardzawa (Sngon ‘gro rgyal baí bka’lung rgya mtsho), “The Ocean Oral Instructions of the Victorious One on Ngondro Preliminary Practices”.

This practice transfers consciousness to higher realms to ensure good rebirth. Phowa practice is associated with the central channel of the body through which the primordial wisdom manifests itself, therefore mastering the Phowa practice helps reduce the obscurations and improve the meditation.

The disciples will learn about the process of dying, experiences of a human consciousness during dying, about transitional state of Bardo, its stages and taking a new birth. They will learn how and why the practice of transference of consciousness (Phowa) should be done.

This practice should be performed until the sign of the right size appears indicating that the disciple has opened the central channel.

Shyiné

Second week: Study according to the ”Feast of  Novice Apprentices” by Khenpo Geshe Rinchen Tenzin Rinpoche.

I. Concentration on objects that have qualities

Shyiné (Shamatha) is the practice of “calm abiding”. It is one-pointed meditative concentration on one object for a long time without distraction or losing clarity of mind.

It will serve as the base for “superior vision” Lhatong (Vipashyana): the capability of profound enquiry and clear discrimination of the object’s qualities through one-pointed concentration.

The aspirants will be taught about auspicious conditions for mastering this practice, and about things that should be rejected;

  1. about the essence of “calm abiding” Shyiné (Shamatha) and “superior vision” Lhatong (Vipashyana);
  2. about the method itself and about the method of gradually mastering Shyiné practice during learning;
  3. about obstacles that may arise during practice and how to overcome them;
  4. about signs indicating the achievement of sufficient level of practice and its benefits;
  5. two modes of Shyiné will be taught: one that involves concentration on a visible object and the other that involves concentration on a sound.

The Shyiné practice helps tame one’s mind and makes it more stable, controllable and sharp. It is useful for worldly life as well as for the spiritual practice; in particular, it provides the necessary basis for further practice of Tregchod and Tögal.

Third Retreat: 14 days

Tregchod

We will begin the study of Tregchod practice as described in the Precious Secret Instructions by the Omniscient Shardzawa (Akhrid thun mtshams bco lnga) “Atri Tuntsam Chonga“ (The Fifteen Retreat Sessions according to the Atri tradition) from the main body of the text “Self-Manifestation of the Three Bodies of the Utmostly Purified (e.g. the core) Great Perfection (Yang tig rdzogs pa chen po sku gsum rang shar); “Profound Instructions on Self-Purification of Six Types [of living beings]” (Rigs drug rang sbyang gi gdams pa zab mo bzhugs so) from “The Topmost Peak of the Great Perfection of the Vast Space” (Rdzogs chen yang rtse klong chen).

Tregchod means “complete cutting through” [delusions]; total understanding, absolute conviction liberating one from the powerful illusory appearances. By following these instructions one will learn by experience what the mind is and how it works; he or she will be introduced into the ground or nature of mind, and then master unwavering abidance in it. Tregchod is the fundamental practice in Dzogchen, as it enables one to attain the Buddhahood.

Basic concepts relevant to this phase of practice will be introduced: self-aware primordial wisdom (Rigpa), the nature of mind, the aspect of clarity and the aspect of emptiness, appearances (nangwa), rational thoughts (namtok) etc.

First week: beginning of study of the Tregchod practice. Khorde Rushen practice of “Separating Samsara from Nirvana”. During meditation, through actions of body, speech and mind the disciple faces experiences and appearances of living beings in six realms of Samsara and appearances of Nirvana. It enables him or her to attain non-attachment to such appearances in future and to realize that the mind is the root of Samsara and Nirvana and that its nature is emptiness.

In addition, the practice of self-purification of the six types of living beings will be studied.

Second week: Purification by the means of the Three Gates.

1. Purification by the means of body.

Practice in Vajra position removes veils of comprehension, reduces obstacles and loosens gross attachments pertaining to the body.

2. Purification by the means of speech.

Purification of external and internal appearance by the means of chanting HUNG syllable, visualization and abiding without conceptions. This practice removes imperfections, obstacles and attachments pertaining to speech.

This practice comprises four [stages]:

  1. sealing
  2. acquiring mastery
  3. seeking flexibility
  4. treading upon the path

3. Purification by the means of mind

It is the practice of observing the mind and exploring its qualities. It comprises three stages: cutting off the root, improvement and way of arising.

a. Cutting off the root, “searching for mind”:

  • explore where the mind arises from
  • explore where it abides and what it is that abides
  • explore where it goes and what it is that goes

Diligent practice and exploration helps to remove obstacles and veils obstructing understanding of the meaning of the natural state of mind and self-aware primordial wisdom (Rigpa) so that the aspirant may experience them. This practice also enables a disciple to direct his or her mind in its movement flawlessly and to hold it in abidance without being affected by rational thoughts.

b. Improvement:

During practice the disciple generates objects in his or her mind and analyses qualities pertaining to these manifestations of the mind as well as to the ground or the nature of mind. This practice deepens the direct experience of nature of the mind.

c. Way of arising:

The explanation starts from different levels of capacity for understanding. The disciples will learn how the practice should be organized for each level.

Then the differences between two types of meditation will be explained in detail: analytical meditation and abiding meditation.

Thus the theoretical explanation of the experience gained through the previous practice will be presented in theory in structured form.

Fourth Retreat: 14 days

Tregchod

II. Meditation without characteristics

Nelbab and Sor zhugs practices

The teaching will be presented in accordance with Quintessence of Precious Secret Instructions Akhrid in 15 Chapters (Akhrid thun mtshams bco lnga), from the main body of the text “Self-Manifestation of the Three Bodies of the Great Perfection (Yang tig rdzogs pa chen po sku gsum rang shar) by Omniscient Shardzawa.

The disciples will practice the abiding meditation enabling them to strengthen their abiding in the natural state; this is the practice of non-creation (machopa/ (ma bcos pa). Instructions on Nelbab and Sor zhugs include plenty of recommendations and commentaries describing nuances of the practice and the process of its mastery.

Nelbab, “natural abiding”: this practice brings the mind into its natural state. It is the practice of abiding with deeply relaxed body, speech and mind, with clear mind and without attachment to manifestations. This practice brings channels and winds of the body into the natural condition, and the natural state of mind clearly manifests.

 Sor zhugs: maintaining of abidance in the natural state.

  1. Method of peaceful seeing,
  2. Bodhisattva’s method of seeing,
  3. Wrathful deities’ method of seeing

In this phase the aspirant learns to abide in the natural state with different levels of activity of body, speech and sense organs.

This retreat’s practices develop capability for unwavering abiding in the natural state during meditation sessions. The theory of Tregchod and its advancement will also be explained.

Second Course

Fifth Retreat: 14 days

Tregchod

Study of the Tregchod practice will be continued in accordance with the Quintessence of Precious Secret Instructions Akhrid in 15 Chapters (Akhrid thun mtshams bco lnga) from the main body of the text “Self-Manifestation of the Three Bodies of the Utmostly Purified Great Perfection” (Yang tig rdzogs pa chen po sku gsum rang shar), by Omniscient Shardzawa.

III. Introduction of meaning of the natural state.

Division of the mind into pure and impure using special methods

This practice will show clear distinction between the ordinary mind (sem) and self-aware primordial wisdom (Rigpa).

This practice comprises several stages and consists of visualization, holding of breath and abiding in the state of non-creation.

It is focused on manifestation of the aspect of clarity during diligent concentration e.g. abiding in the nature of the mind, which makes the practice even more profound and stabilized. It also clears the channels and to some extent prepares the disciple for Tummo, Inner Fire Yoga.

The theory is as follows:

  • Breakup of the mind into aspects: Analysis of the constituents of mind and its work.
  • 12 links of interdependence. This teaching explains how the karmic imprints get accumulated, rise and manifest in the mind.

In general, during this retreat the Tregchod practice is being intensified.

Sixth Retreat: 14 days

Tregchod

Continued study of the Tregchod practice: Introduction into the nature of mind.

Two phases:

1. Rejection of the narrow path of mistake occurrence

Thirty-five basic mistakes of the practice will be explained in detail as well as ways of overcoming them.

At the same time the following will be practiced: division of mind into pure and impure, non-creation (Machopa) and natural abiding (Nelbab).

2. Introduction into the Faultless

When the disciples have enough direct experience and have all the mistakes in meditation explained, the Teacher directly points out at the meaning of the natural state of mind or self-aware primordial wisdom (Rigpa).

During the meditation session the following will be taught:

  • Introduction into the nature of the mind as Three Bodies of Buddha;
  • Introduction as the direct experience of self-arising primordial wisdom.

After that the method of elimination of impurities created by the mind will be explained. These are clarifying instructions on methods of entering meditation and maintaining it for a long time.

This phase also includes description of nine stages of gradual development of meditation briefly explained as three: meditation during sessions, state of abiding outside sessions and constant abiding in the Sphere-Meditation.

Final instructions on subtle aspects of the practice will be given:

  • differentiation between experience and comprehension,
  • difference between emptiness (Shyiné) and unconscious state, and
  • ways of overcoming obstacles and veils.

This retreat will summarize the study of the Tregchod practice. By the end of this retreat the disciple will receive all necessary instructions for full realization of this practice all by him- or herself.

Seventh Retreat: 14 days

Tummo

First week: we begin to study the Tummo practice. In accordance with the text “General Tummo Practice, the Flame of the Primordial Wisdom” (Thun mong gtum mo’i nyams len ye shes me pung) written by the Omniscient Shardzawa, from meditation on three aspects of repetition of general preliminary practices and the practice of paths and channels.

First stage of Tummo study:

  1. Meditation on the deity as Sambhogakaya. The goal of this three-day practice is natural disappearance of attachment to the ordinary appearance of the body.
  2. Meditation on the channels as Nirmanakaya. The goal of this three-day practice is clear visualization of chakras and putting the winds and the channels in activity without mistakes of visualization.
  3. Meditation on tigle as the body of Bon. The goal of this three-day practice is to recognize the non-destructible tigle in one’s heart or a tigle free of any impurity, and acquire the supreme vision.

Second week: study of channels and paths:

  1. Reliance on gross syllables,
  2. Reliance on medium tigle,
  3. Reliance on subtle wind.

Due to this practice the mind, having stopped all gross and subtle conceptions, firmly stays on visualizations without distraction.

Eighth Retreat: 14 days

Tummo

Study of Tummo in accordance with the text “General Tummo Practice, the Flame of the Primordial Wisdom” (Thun mong gtum mo’i nyams len ye shes me pung) written by the Omniscient Shardzawa comprises four stages.

Second stage of the Tummo study: Soft wind Samatok (Za ma rtog), sections: important aspect of body, important aspect of the wind, important aspect of visualization, and growth of clarity, important aspect of Trulkor Yantra Yoga. Study using these four components is necessary to acquire the control over the soft wind.

Third Course

Ninth Retreat: 14 days

Tummo

Study of Tummo in accordance with the text “General Tummo Practice, the Flame of the Primordial Wisdom” (Thun mong gtum mo’i nyams len ye shes me pung) written by the Omniscient Shardzawa comprises four stages.

Third stage of the Tummo study: Through practice of the medium wind of meditation with four important points learned during the eighth retreat and uniting (meditation) of the winds using the four components, when the five winds enter the central channel, the samsaric wind is being spontaneously purified. This practice is necessary for making the fire of bliss burn, and for bringing the energy (mastery) of knowledge into perfection.

Tenth Retreat: 14 days

Tummo

Continued study of the Tummo practice in accordance with “General Tummo Practice, the Flame of the Primordial Wisdom” (Thun mong gtum mo’i nyams len ye shes me pung) by the Omniscient Shardzawa. Study of Tummo comprises four stages.

The fourth stage of Tummo study is the quintessential one. In the practice “Flame of the Strong Wind” (Drag rlung me dpung ma) with aforementioned four important points, using the practice of the wind with four components, the mind and the wind should be practiced as a unity.

The goal of this practice is to master moving down and turn the tigle of four joys and, having produced the infinite warmth of bliss, mind and wind become free.

Eleventh Retreat: 14 days

Tögal

 

Study of the Tögal practice in accordance with the text written by the Omniscient Shardzawa “The Marvelous Appearance of Manifestation” (Ngo mtshar snang ba’i ltas mo) from the body of instructions “Self-Manifestation of the Three Bodies of Great Perfection (Yang tig rdzogs pa chen po sku gsum rang shar) by the Omniscient Shardzawa.

Tögal, “leap over” [levels for attainment the highest goal] is a method of attaining the state of Buddha and realizing the Rainbow Body in one lifetime. The method involves visions of pure appearances self-manifesting in the mind of the disciple through the proper condition of his or her body, speech and mind. Tögal is considered the topmost method of Dzogchen and requires steady Tregchod as its base.

The following will be explained: the ground of this practice and its working principles, necessary conditions, method of practice and stages of its development. The methods will be mastered for further individual practice.

Mastering this practice considerably strengthens the abiding in the natural state of mind. The theory includes profound instructions on relation of mind to self-aware primordial wisdom (Rigpa) and to channels and winds of the human body, etc.

Twelfth retreat: 16 days

Ar gtad

First week: in accordance with the text by the Omniscient Shardzawa “Self-Manifestation of the Three Bodies of the Great Perfection”, due to the practice of “Instructions on Darkness” (Mun khrid) on visions of the night and Ar gtad [concentration on the A syllable], through important aspects of the body, method of watching and visualization, the signs appear of entering of the five winds into the central channel, and tents [type of Tibetan house] of different tigles appear in the dark room.

The goal of this practice is to explicitly express the familiarization with appearances of augmentation, growth, expansion, perfection and ultimacy, while practicing without liking or disliking, avoiding any instability, attachment or clinging.

Chulen

Second week: the practice will be based on “Self-Manifestation of the Three Bodies of the Great Perfection” by the Omniscient Shardzawa in accordance with the text “Extraction of the Essence of the Three Bodies; reserve of nourishment on the Path of Liberation” (Sku gsum bcud len thar pa’i rgyags phye), practice of extraction of essence from any of the Chulen bodies.

The goal of the Chulen practice is to remove the attachment to the idea of hunger, produce all the merits, increase the strength and fitness of the body, clarify the consciousness, slow down the process of ageing, prolongate life and increase virtues.

Upon successful completion of the studies, the graduates of the School will be granted four special initiations in accordance with the “Self-Manifestation of the Three Bodies of the Great Perfection” (Rdzogs pa chen po sku gsum rang shar) by the Omniscient Shardzawa.

2017 Retreat Schedule

First Course

First retreat (Ngondro): Feb 4-17
Second retreat (Phowa and Shyiné): Apr 10-23
Third retreat (Tregchod 1): Jul 3-16
Fourth retreat (Tregchod 2): Nov 29-Dec 12

Second Course

Fifth retreat (Tregchod 3): Jan 19-Feb 1
Sixth retreat (Tregchod 4): Mar 25-Apr 7
Seventh retreat (Tummo 1): Jun 17-30
Eighth retreat (Tummo 2): Nov 13-26

Third Course

Ninth retreat (Tummo 2): Jan 3-16
Tenth retreat (Tummo 3): Mar 9-22
Eleventh retreat (Ar gtad and Chulen): Jun 1-14
Twelfth retreat (Tummo 4): Oct 26-Nov 10

Knowledge of Dzogchen is like being on the highest mountain peak; no level of mountain remains mysterious or hidden, and whoever finds themselves on the highest peak cannot be conditioned by anyone or anything. – From Dzogchen Upadesha Tantra