The Downtown Centers

The roots of the Nyingma Mandala of organizations in the West trace back to 1969, when Tarthang Tulku, a highly trained lama in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, arrived in Berkeley, CA and established the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Center, the spiritual center of all that would follow.

Within a few years after his arrival in America, Rinpoche established the basic structure of the Nyingma Mandala, which continues today.









In the east, Dharma Publishing made the teachings available through English-language publications and art reproductions.. In the south, the Tibetan Aid Project supported the preservation of the Tibetan tradition, the Buddhist heritage, and the Nyingma school. In the west, Odiyan Country Center and a growing range of art projects manifested the beauty of the Dharma as a living force for transformation. In the north, the Nyingma Institute made the teachings more widely available.

The vision for the mandala has expanded over the years. In 2008-2009, the Nyingma community acquired three buildings in downtown Berkeley that now house 9 organizations and projects, as well as the Dharma Publishing Bookstore (“the Downtown Centers”):


Mangalam Centers
Dharma College
Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages
Tibetan Aid Project
Center for Creative Inquiry
Guna Foundation
Nyingma Trust
Prayer Flag Project
Nyingma Association of Mandala Organizations (NAMO)

If you enter the MTP, you will work for one or more of these centers, known collectively as the Downtown Centers. You will be assigned a position based on the needs of the organization, your skills, and your own preferences.

The Nyingma Mandala includes many more projects and organizations, located in Berkeley, in rural northern California, in Asia, in South America, and in Europe.

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