Tibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up, Part 1 (Online Course)

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Tibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up, Part 1 (Online Course)

Ron Thomas, Anne Rugg
February 12, 2024 - May 20, 2024

Live Online + unlimited access to course recordings

Every other Monday evening from Feb. 12 to May 20, 7:00 – 8:30 pm ET

Sorry! Registration is closed.

Enter the vast world of the living spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism. This new reading/study group will explore the fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism. To illuminate its key teachings and  concepts, we will use the book Indestructible Truth by Reginald Ray.

The group is open to all in the NDF sangha. The only requirement to participate is a commitment to do the reading (approximately 30 pages every two weeks) and take part in a lively discussion of the material as it relates to your practice on and off the cushion.

Part 2 will be offered in the fall based on Reginald Ray’s book Secret of the Vajra World.  We will delve deeper into the more esoteric elements of Tibet’s Tantric Buddhism.

Here is an overview of the main topics we will be covering:

Session #1: February 12  – The Context of the Vajrayana: Major Schools and Traditions

  • Origins in India and  Early spreading to Tibet
  • Major Schools: Nyingma, Kadam, Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug, Ri-me

Session #2: February 26 – The Nikaya-yana View

  • The Four Noble Truths and Four Reminders
  • The Six Realms

Session #3: March 11 – Nikaya-yana Practice and Result

  • Shila: Virtuous and Non-Virtuous Actions
  • Samadhi: Shamata, Vipashyana, Nirvana

Session #4: March 25 – The Mahayana View

  • Motivation and Bodhichitta
  • Compassion Practices
  • The Two Accumulations

Session #5: April 8 – Mahayana Practice and Result

  • The Bodhisattva Vow
  • The Six Paramitas
  • The Trikaya

Session #6: April 22 – The First Turning: Abhidharma

  • Dharmas or Elements of Reality
  • Five Skandhas or Aggregates
  • Interdependent Co-Origination: The Twelve Nidanas

Session #7: May 6 – The Second Turning: Madhyamaka

  • Nagarjuna on Emptiness
  • Yogachara and Prasangika Interpretations
  • Madhyamaka Skillful Practice and Results

Session #8: May 20 – The Third Turning: Buddha Nature

  • Yogachara; Shentong and Rangtong
  • The Three Natures
  • What is Enlightenment?


The Zoom link will be sent several days before the course begins to all those registered by then. If you register after that date, you’ll receive the link with your confirmation email shortly after submitting your registration. The same Zoom link will be used each week. If you don’t see an email from Natural Dharma Registrar or Wonderwell Mountain Refuge, it may have mistakenly gone to your spam folder or to Promotions or Updates in Gmail.

Important: Please put this email address in your Contact or Safe-Send list to make sure you receive our emails:


It is Natural Dharma Fellowship’s aspiration that no one be turned away from our teachings because they are unable to pay the full price. In order make our offerings affordable for all who wish to attend, we suggest a three-level fee structure:

  • May All Beings Benefit! – supporting access for all and assisting with the care and maintenance of Wonderwell Mountain Refuge
  • A Middle Way – covering the base cost
  • Held in Sangha Loving-kindness – offering ease when financial resources are limiting

Our pricing options are based primarily on the length and type of an event and are intended to give you an idea of the costs involved. The amounts listed are suggestions. You may write in any amount that fits your financial situation. Any amount offered above the Middle Way level will be considered a tax-deductible donation and will be acknowledged as such in writing.

Access to Recordings

NDF offers unlimited access to recordings, which are accessed in your user dashboard (more information about user accounts provided in a pre-retreat letter). If you have a user account, please register with the same email you use to log into your dashboard. If not, an account will be created for you using your registration address.

Availability will vary depending on the type of event and the backlog for our precious resource volunteers. Thank you for your patience.

Wonderwell Mountain Refuge Full Calendar

Live Online only. Every other Monday, Feb. 12-May 20, 7:00-8:30 pm ET. You can use this time zone converter to determine the start time at your home.


Please see the paragraph titled Program Cost for an explanation of the fee structure for this retreat.

  • May All Beings Benefit!: $240
  • A Middle Way $160
  • Held in Sangha Loving-Kindness: $120

If you are registered for the 2024 Margha or Vajrayana Programs, you will receive information via email regarding special pricing for this course.

About the Teachers

Ron Thomas

Meditation Teacher, Vajrayana Study Coordinator and Mentor
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Anne Rugg

Meditation Teacher, Mitra
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