Tarthang Tulku came to this country because he saw America as a land of opportunity, where he could work to preserve and transmit the teachings that his teachers had passed on to him. He emphasized getting tangible results, with a special focus on preserving sacred texts and creating communities built around Buddhist principles.
Today, his older students are working to pass that vision on to others. Our aim is to create an enduring legacy and a home for the Dharma in the West.
The MTP is for individuals inspired by that vision and ready to give their energy to making it happen. When you make that commitment, a dynamic path to inner growth and transformation opens before you.
As members of the Nyingma residential community, we dedicate our efforts full-time toward serving the Dharma and deepening our own understanding.
- Integrating spiritual growth with work that gets results
- Putting our study and practice into action
- Serving the Dharma and supporting Buddhist practitioners
- Working for the benefit of all beings
This way of studying and practicing the Dharma is a challenging and rewarding adventure. We have accomplished huge amounts for such a small community. We continue to learn new skills and deepen our understanding of the teachings, and we see every day as an opportunity for growth and accomplishment.
Day by day, we are building a model for how a Buddhist community can flourish in the West.
What Sets Us Apart
Here are some things about us you should know:
- We emphasize integrating work with more traditional practice, because we have learned to see work as a way to challenge our own limitations. We call this approach Skillful Means. You will spend on average about 30-35 hours a week working on community projects, and about 6-10 hours a week doing formal practice, with another 10-20 hours or so for personal study and practice.
- We focus on understanding how the mind works and in integrating body, mind, and spirit. We do not base our practice on empowerments or initiations.
- Our projects and our life in the community blend traditional elements with a secular approach, from Tibetan yoga adapted for the West to Nyingma psychology to new teachings specially designed for the contemporary world.
- In addition to studying Buddhist texts and doing traditional practices, we look for guidance to the teachings of Tarthang Tulku, the founding Head Lama of the Nyingma Mandala of organizations.
Rinpoche’s many publications will give you a good sense of how we practice and the kinds of questions we ask.
Click here for an annotated list of some good books to start with.
We are a small community, but over the past five decades we have been able to accomplish remarkable things.
About Tarthang Tulku
Tarthang Tulku, referred to by his students as Rinpoche, a traditional title of respect, was born in eastern Tibet in 1935. His first teachers were his parents and private tutors. At the age of 9, he went to live at Tarthang Monastery, where he received instruction in Mahayana view, meditation, and conduct. At fifteen, he left Tarthang monastery to study with many of the greatest masters of the 20th century: Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, Zhechen Kongtrul, Adzom Gyelsrey, Bodpa Tulku, and others: thirty-one teachers in all. Until the age of 24, Rinpoche received intensive training in the three Inner Yogas of the Nyingma tradition.
In 1958, Rinpoche followed his root teacher, Khyentse Chokyi Lodro to India. The next several years were devoted to pilgrimage and retreat at holy places in India. In 1962 he was appointed to represent the Nyingma tradition at Sanskrit University in Varanasi. That same year, he set up one of the first Tibetan printing presses in exile and began his life’s work of preserving sacred texts and art. In 1968, he determined to pursue his vision in the West and left for America.
Rinpoche chose California as his headquarters, and established the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center in early 1969. One of the first learned Tibetan lamas to take up residence in the West, he quickly developed a vision of wisdom in action that would eventually lead to the founding of over twenty different organizations and make a significant impact on the transmission of Dharma to the West and the restoration of Dharma in Asia. After his first decade in America, he withdrew from public teaching to devote himself to this vision.
Today he lives in retreat at Odiyan Country Center. He continues to guide the work of creating sacred texts and give spiritual direction to the Nyingma community.