Inspired by the vision of Sogyal Rinpoche and the achievements of great centres of buddhist learning from the past, such as Nalanda in India, Shri Singha shedra at Dzogchen Monastery, Kham-jé at Dzongsar and more recently, Larung Gar, established by the great Khen Rinpoche Jikmé Phuntsok, the Rigpa Shedra seeks to provide a thorough and comprehensive Dharma education of the very highest standards. The approach is traditional, based on the proven methods of the unbroken lineage of learning and realization that dates back to ancient India, and encourages not just formal study, but also deeper integration of the teachings through contemplation and meditation.
The curriculum is designed with a view to supporting the needs of the wider Rigpa Sangha, complementing the teachings of Sogyal Rinpoche and also the courses offered in Rigpa centres throughout the world. It is entirely non-sectarian, and features the most important writings of the great Indian and Tibetan masters, including works on both sutra and tantra. The teachers providing commentary on these texts are highly qualified khenpos and acharyas. Additional teachings and guidance are also sought from many of the lamas connected with the Rigpa sangha. In addition to studying the most important classical writings, students have the option to study the Tibetan language, and all the major and minor sciences studied by the panditas of India and Tibet, including the history of Buddhism in India and Tibet, Tibetan medicine, astrology, grammar (according to the main Tibetan grammar treatises), poetry and arts and crafts.
For the second year, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche gave a commentary on Maitreya’s Uttaratantra Shastra, Ringu Tulku taught Mipham Rinpoche’s Wheel of Investigative Meditation and Professor Steven Goodman introduced the basic themes of the Abhidharma.
For the third year, which took place in Dzogchen Beara in Ireland, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche taught on Maitreya’s Abhisamayalankara and Alan Wallace presented the views of the four main philosophical schools of Buddhism. Students also reviewed Ringu Tulku Rinpoche’s teachings on the whole of the Bodhicharyavatara.
For the fourth year, Dzogchen Rinpoche taught on the Abhisamayalankara and introduced us to buddhist debate, and Ringu Tulku Rinpoche began his teachings on Shantarakshita’s Madhyamakalankara using the commentary of Mipham Rinpoche.
In the fifth year, the shedra returned to Lerab Ling to conclude Ringu Tulku Rinpoche’s commentary on the Madhyamakalankara, and also to continue studying the Abhisamayalankara, this time with Khenpo Jampel Dorje from Dzongsar Monastery in India.