A Brief Summary of the Institute for Higher Learning
called Pal Thrangu Tashi Chöling



Tagmo Lujin, one of the three major stupas in Nepal, is where our supreme teacher Shakyamuni, while still on the path of learning, took birth as the prince Nyingthob Chenpo. It is the supreme and special place where without holding back in the least, he offered his body to a tigress on the verge of starvation. If Dharma activity could happen in such a place, then in the whole world and, in particular in the lands of Nepal and Tibet, the problems of degenerate times, such as disease, famine, war, and disputes, would be pacified, and, further, well being and goodness would grow and flourish. Being certain that all of this happens through the blessings of the teacher and the teachings, Thrangu Rinpoche began to build a new monastery at Tagmo Lüjin in 1978.

Vasubhandu had the following to say on how to follow the teacher, the perfect and complete Buddha, how to practice genuine Dharma, and how to hold the teachings:

There are two aspects to the Buddha's teaching:
The very essence of the scriptures and of realization.
One should hold these in mind, speak about them,
And practice them. Do only that.

So since one must engage in both aspects of the precious teachings-scriptural study and meditative realization-one listens and reflects on the scriptural Dharma, the words of the Buddha, and the treatises. If there were no institute for higher studies where one listens to explanations and no place of practice where one brings into experience the Dharma to be realized-the path of the sutra- and mantrayanas-what are called places of Dharma and monasteries would be a mere reflection of genuine Dharma. For this reason, places of study and practice, which are the heart of the Buddha's teaching, are extremely important. First, in the institutes for higher study, one studies the sutra and mantra traditions along with the various sciences and, thereby, one can generate a special kind of confidence in the teachings, the genuine Dharma, and the one who taught them, the unsurpassed teacher, the Buddha and Bhagawan.

These treatises that are able to bring about certainty in the teachings were composed by Arya Nagarjuna, Acharya Asanga, Dharmakirti, Vasubhandu, Chandrakirti, and others: they are the words of the great and famous panditas from India. The four major treatises deal with Madhyamaka, the Prajna Paramita tradition, the Abhidharma, and the Vinaya. The treatises on Pramana (Dialectics) are concerned with reasonings that lead to direct and inferential valid cognition. The great treatises include the famous five divisions, and in particular, those great treatises forming a basis for the special stages of meditation that clearly reveal the true nature of the mind, the body, and the deity: The Supreme Continuum, The Profound Inner Nature, and The Two Volumes on the Tantra of Hevajra. One should study and reflect on these.

In order to understand in itself the intention of these texts, which is profound and difficult to fathom, one studies various commentaries from the Kagyu tradition, written by the Third Gyalwang Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, by the Seventh Gyalwang Karmapa, Chödrak Gyamtso, by the Eighth Gyalwang Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje, and also by Situ Chökyi Jungne, Kongtrül Yönten Gyatso, and others. By studying for five or ten years, one understands just as it is the thought of the sutra tradition's definitive meaning and the profound tantras of the secret mantrayana. In this way, the key points of Buddhist view, meditation, and conduct are fully comprehended, and the tradition of listening and reflecting, of being teacher and student as practiced at the great Nalanda University and monastic complex does not deteriorate. Studying at an institution of higher learning where the commentarial lineage has been maintained without interruption, one brings to perfection one's knowledge and qualities, thereby creating great benefits. Further, engaging in explanation, debate, and composition is a wonderful way to spread the precious teachings of the Buddha and insure that they remain for a long time.

A Syllabus of the Texts Studied During a Five Year Course
At Pal Thrangu Tashi Chöling

First Year

1a. The root text of the Bodhicaryavatara (Chöjuk) by Shantideva
1b. Its commentary, An Explanation of the Mahayana Dharma, the Essence of a Limitless Ocean that is Profound and Vast (Namshad theg chen chö kyi       gya tso zab tha' ya nying po) by Je Pao Tsuglak Threngwa
2.  The root and commentary on the The Three Vows (Dom sum) by Jamgön Lodrö Thaye
3.  The Magical Key to the Path of Reasoning (Rig lam thrul gi de mig) by Lozang Tsültrim Jampa Gyatso
4.  The Precious Garland of the Supreme Path (Lam Chok rinchen threngwa) by Dakpo Rinpoche
5.  The root and commentary for The Powerful Wish-fulfilling Tree of Excellent Explanation (Legshed Jönwang) by Yangchen Drub pa'i Dorje
6a On orthography, the root text, The Lamp of Speech (Ngakdron ) by Palkong Lotsawa
6b. Its commentary by Tendzin Gyaltsen

Second Year

1a. The root of the Madhyamakavatara (Uma la juk pa) by Pandita Chandrakirti
1b. Its commentary, The Chariot of Practice of Gampopa's Lineage (Daggyü drub pa' shing ta) by Lord Mikyö Dorje
2a. The root of the Madhyamakalamkara (Umagyen) by the great scholar Shantarakshita
2b. Its commentary, Oral Instructions that Please the Lama Manjushri (Jamyang lama gye pa'i zhel lung) by Mipham Rinpoche
3a. The root of first chapter from the Pramanavarttika (Tsema Namdrel) which establishes the Buddha as the source of valid cognition, by Pandita Dharmakirti
3b. Its commentary, The Ocean of Reasoning (Rigzhung Gyatso) by the VII Karmapa, Chödrak Gyatso
4.   A commentary on grammar, The Oral Insturctions of Situ Rinpoche (Situ Zhellung), by Ngülchu Dharmabhadra
5.  The root and commentary on The Clear Mirror (Selwa'i Melong) that treats difficult points, by Yangchen Drubpa'i Dorje.

The Third Year

1a. The root of the Abhisamayalamkara (Ngontok Gyen), by The Regent and Protector, Maitreya
1b. Its commentary, The Lord at Ease (Jetsun Ngalso) by the VIIIth Karmapa, Mikyö Dorje
2.   The Jewel Ornament of Liberation (Dakpo Thargyen) by Je Gampopa
3a. The root of second chapter from the Pramanavarttika (Tsema Namdrel) on direct valid cognition, by Pandita Dharmakirti
3b. Its commentary, The Ocean of Reasoning (Rigzhung Gyatso) by the VII Karmapa, Chödrak Gyatso
4.   Expressing the Names (Minggi Ngonjö) by Yangchen Druppa'i Dorje
5.   On poetry, from The Ornament for Thought by Dinda (Dinda'i Gong Gyen), in the section on ornaments for meaning, the parts on natural expression and       using similes, by Mipham Gelek Namgyal.
6.   Cases with the Letter "Sa" at the End (Sa Tha'i Namye) by Mipham Rinpoche

The Fourth Year

1a. The root of the Abhidharmakosha (Ngonpar Dzöd) by Pandita Vasubhandu
1b. Its commentary, Extracting the Essence of the Joy of Accomplishment (Drubde'i Kyijo) by the VIIIth Karmapa, Mikyö Dorje
2a. The root of third chapter from the Pramanavarttika (Tsema Namdrel) on inferential cognition for oneself, by Pandita Dharmakirti
2b. Its commentary, The Ocean of Reasoning (Rigzhung Gyatso) by the VII Karmapa, Chödrak Gyatso
3a. The root of Distinguishing Consciousness and Wisdom (Namshe Yeshe Jepa) by the III Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje
3b. Its commentary, The Ornament of Naturally Arising Thought (Rangjung Gonggyen) by Jamgön Lodrö Thaye
4a. The root of Revealing the Heart (Nyingpo Tenpa) by the III Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje
4b. Its commentary, Clear Thought Naturally Arising (Rangjung Gonggyen) by Jamgön Lodrö Thaye
5.   On poetry, from The Ornament for Thought by Dinda (Dinda'i Gong Gyen), in the section on ornaments for meaning, from the part of metaphors to the part       of extensive ornamentation, by Mipham Gelek Namgyal
6a. The root of The Thirty Verses (Sumchupa), by Pandita Thönmi Sambhota
6b. Its commentary, the great one by Situpa, The Beautiful Pearl Necklace that Ornaments the Throat of the Expert One (Khepa'i Gulgyen Mutik Threngwa       Dze) by Situ Chökyi Jungne.

The Fifth Year

1a. The root of The Root of the Vinaya (Dülwa Do Tsawa) by the Pandita Yonten Ö
1b. Its commentary, The Commentary on the Vinaya, The Mandala of the Sun (Dültika Nyima'i Kyil Khor) by the VIII Karmapa, Mikyö Dorje
2a. The root of The Supreme Continuum (Gyü Lama) by the Lord Maitreya
2b. Its commentary, The Irreversible Roar of the Lion (Chirmi Dogpa'i Senge Naro) by Jamgön Lodrö Thaye
3a. The Mahamudra Prayer (Chagchen Monlam) by the III Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje
3b. Its commentary, The Ornament for the Thought of Dagpo's Lineage (Dakgyü Gonggyen) by Karma Ngedon Tengye
4a. The root of fourth chapter from the Pramanavarttika (Tsema Namdrel) on inferential cognition for others, by Pandita Dharmakirti
4b. Its commentary, The Ocean of Reasoning (Rigzhung Gyatso) by the VII Karmapa, Chödrak Gyatso
5.   On poetry, from The Ornament for Thought by Dinda (Dinda'i Gong Gyen), in the section on ornaments for meaning, from the part on ornaments of reversal       to the part on thought with an intention, by Mipham Gelek Namgyal
6a. The root of Entering into the Signs (Tagjuk) by Pandita Thönmi Sambhota
6b. Its commentary, the great one by Situpa, The Beautiful Pearl Necklace that Ornaments the Throat of the Expert One (Khepa'i Gulgyen Mutik Threngwa       Dze) by Situ Chökyi Jungne.


The Daily Schedule for Thrangu Tashi Chöling Institute for Higher Studies

        Morning                        Activity

        5:30 to 6:00                 Wake up and washing
        6:00 to 7:00                 Reciting texts
        7:00 to 7:30                 Breakfast
        7:30 to 8:00                 Cleaning inside and outside
        8:00 to 9:00                 Class
        9:00 to 10:00               Class
        10:00 to 11:00             Class
        11:00 to 12:00             Class
        12:00 to 1:00               Lunch

        Afternoon

        1:00 to 2:00                 Mahakala Puja
        2:00 to 3:00                 Self-study
        3:00 to 3:30                 Tea
        3:30 to 4:30                 Homework
        4:30 to 6:00                 Memorizing root texts
        6:00 to 7:00                 Dinner
        7:00 to 8:30                 Discussion group
        8:30 to 10:30               Debate
        10:30                           Retire


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