2021 SPRING SEMESTER CLASS SCHEDULE – February 15 to May 13, 2021


2021 - SPRING SEMESTER CLASS SCHEDULE February 15-May 13, 2021

From 6.30pm until 7.45pm


Namgyal Monastery office / office@namgyal.org or Call: 607-279-8805


2021 SPRING SEMESTER CLASS SCHEDULE  -  February 15 to May 13, 2021

Week Break:  March 29-April 2, 2021


Namgyal Zoom Classes:  Due to our continued commitment to maintain the health and safety of Namgyal Venerables, staff and students during the COVID pandemic, Namgyal will host all fall classes by Zoom. Audio recordings of the Zoom session for a class will be available for download the next day after class.  The cost for Zoom class access is $200.  To register for classes, contact office@namgyal.org.  Payments can be made by check or online through the Namgyal website. www.namgyal.org


Senior Citizen Discount: A discount of 15% will be granted to seniors (age 65 or older), applicable to full-time tuition or tuition for individual classes.

Financial Assistance:  In recognition that Buddhist teachings would be a beneficial support to many in dealing with the impacts of the COVID pandemic, but that many people are also now facing significant unexpected economic hardship at this time, Namgyal has received a donation to provide scholarships of up to 50% of tuition for a limited number of students who wish to take a class, but not able to pay the full amount.  To request a scholarship, please contact office@namgyal.org.  Also please contact our office, if you would like to make a donation to help support scholarships for additional students.


TOPIC: Buddhist Science and Philosophy:  Volume One-The Physical World: Parts 5 & 6
Instructor:  Geshe Lobsang Dhondrup translation by Palden Oshoe
Mondays:  6:30pm -7:45pm 

Dates: Feb: 15, 22 March: 1, 8, 15, 22, April: 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 
Tuition: $200.00 for semester (payable in full or in two $100.00 installments)

For over 25 years, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama has engaged in annual Mind-Life Conferences with Western scientist from various disciplines to explore the commonalities and differences in Buddhist and Western views on the nature of reality and the mind.  One outcome of these discussions is that HHDL convened a group of renown Buddhist scholars (Geshes) to compile all the treatises from classical Indian Buddhists texts that provided discourses on Buddhist science and philosophy.  The first volume in this series provides a compilation and synthesis of teachings on the Indian Buddhist view of nature of the physical world.  In this class, Geshe-la will take students through Part 5: The Cosmos and Its Inhabitants and Part 6: Fetal Development and The Channels, Winds and Drops.  This class provides a unique opportunity for students to gain understanding and have discussion about foundational concepts the classical Indian Buddhist views of the world.  Geshe Dhondrup is not only a highly trained Buddhist scholar, but also has attended several Mind-Life conferences with HHDL and so has developed understanding of views Western students bring to these topics as well.

Text: Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics Vol. 1:  The Physical World
Conceived and Introduced by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Edited by Thupten Jinpa



TOPIC: LAM RIM (Stages of the Path to Enlightenment) Part 2: Individual Liberation (Middle Scope)

Instructor:  Geshe Lobsang Dhondrup translation by Palden Oshoe
Tuesdays:  6:30pm -7:45pm

Dates: Feb: 16, 23 March: 2, 9, 16, 23, April: 6, 13, 20, 27, May: 4, 11
Tuition: $200.00 for semester (payable in full or in two $100.00 installments)


The Lam Rim is a fundamental text in Tibetan Buddhism that details all the teachings and practices of the complete path for the attainment of enlightenment.  Part Two covers the second stage of the path in which one realizes to end suffering one must gain complete liberation from cyclic existence (samsara). Topics covered include:  Nirvana/ Liberation, Four Noble Truths, the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination, the six root and twenty close delusions, and six wrong views.

Text: Lama Tsongkhapa’s the Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment Vol. 1


TOPIC: Je Tsongkhapa’s commentary on Nagarjuna’s Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way

Instructor:  Geshe Lobsang Dhondup translation by Palden Oshoe
Wednesdays:  6:30pm - 7:45pm

Dates: Feb: 17, 24 March: 3, 10, 17, 24 April: 7, 14, 21, 28 May: 5, 12
Tuition: $200.00 for semester (payable in full or in two $100.00 installments)

The cultivation of the wisdom realizing emptiness is of paramount importance to the Buddhist Path and the direct nonconceptual realization of emptiness is essential to the attainment of enlightenment. The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way by Nagarjuna is considered the primary foundational text in Classical Indian Buddhism for elucidating the Buddha’s teachings on emptiness. This text provides the basic teachings on emptiness and dependent arising and the relationship between the two. 

Nagarjuna outlines how logic and reasoning are applied to a wide range of phenomena including the aggregates, elements and time such that realization of their emptiness can be attained.  Still, the reading of Nagarjuna’s text by proponents of different philosophical schools can give rise to alternative interpretations of the meaning of emptiness. 

In Ocean of Reasoning, Je Tsongkhapa provides a detailed commentary on each chapter of the Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way, giving an extensive and systematic explanation of the logic and reasoning underlying the Prasangika Madhyamaka view of emptiness. 

During this class, Geshe-la will go through selected chapters and walk students through the logical arguments and reasonings of the Prasangika view presented by Je Tsongkhapa.  This class provides a rare opportunity for students to receive teachings on this text.  These teachings will enable students then to delve more deeply into the logical reasonings that underlie the Prasangika view of emptiness and its relationship to dependent arising thereby strengthening their basis for cultivating and practicing the wisdom aspect of the Buddhist Path.

Text: Ocean of Reasoning, Je Tsongkhapa, translated by Geshe Ngawang Samten and Jay Garfield


 TOPIC: Neurobiology of Meditation and Mind-Training
Instructor:  Deana Bodnar, LMSW PhD
Thursdays 6:30pm - 7:45pm

Dates: Feb: 18, 25 March: 4, 11, 18, 25 April: 8, 15, 22, 29 May: 6, 13
Tuition: $200.00 for semester (payable in full or in two $100 installments)



This course will provide students with a practical understanding of the neural circuits affected by meditation and mind-training practices as well as the changes that can occur in these circuits with consistent practice. We will first review the basic of neurobiology such as neuron function and coding, communication between neurons and the processes that underlie changes in neural connections. 

Then we will examine the neural circuits involved in different types of meditation such as mindfulness, compassion and single pointed concentration meditations and how these change with continued practice.  This will include discussing the scientific studies demonstrating these changes. We will then examine the neural circuits underlying various negative emotions and habitual patterns and how these can be altered through meditation and mind-training practices. 

Finally, we will examine how practices related to developing altruism and the practices of generosity, patience, and joyful effort also affect brain structures and behaviors.  All class sessions will include time to directly practice and experience the different types of meditation and mind-training practices discussed during each class.  No previous knowledge of neurobiology, meditation or Buddhism is required.

Recommended texts (not required):

The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Development of Well-Being (2007)
by Daniel Seigel
 The Monastery and the Microscope: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mind, Mindfulness, and the Nature of Reality (2017), Edited by Wendy Hasenkamp and Janna Whyte

Deana Bodnar has a PhD in Neurobiology from UC Berkeley and spent 10 years conducting research in neurobiology of the auditory system in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University.  She now works as a social worker and continues to stay current on research studies related to the neurobiology of  meditation.  She been a student and practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism at Namgyal Monastery for over 15 years.


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